McKinney: Berryville passes water tests

Friday, May 10, 2019

By Kelby Newcomb

Berryville’s aquatic inhabitants are healthy again.

Last November, Mayor Miller of Jacobs Inc. had presented a report to the Berryville City Council on the routine testing of the city’s wastewater plant, which includes biomonitoring of water fleas and minnows. While the minnows tested fine, Miller had said the water fleas, which are small crustaceans that live in freshwater habitats, were not reproducing and were consistently failing the tests.

As a result, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) required the city to present a plan on how it would address the problem, and Jacobs, Inc. has since worked with FTN Associates in Little Rock on monthly tests.

Alderwoman Linda Riddlesperger asked Tuesday at the council meeting how the water fleas have been doing recently.

Mayor Tim McKinney said the city has passed the last two tests.

“We’re going to pass one more test,” he said, “and then possibly discuss with ADEQ if we can come out of the administrative order at an earlier date.”

McKinney said the city has completed about six months of the required year of testing.

“Everything has been testing good,” he said.

“Did we never come up with a cause?” asked alderwoman Cindy George.

“No,” McKinney said. “We’re not doing extensive tests because we’re not failing any. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the issue is resolved.”

Also at the meeting, the council voted to approve Ordinance 1050, waiving competitive bidding for the purchase of a used 2017 Ford Expedition. The ordinance states that Clay Maxey Ford has agreed to sell the low-mileage used vehicle at a purchase price of $31,118 to the city.

McKinney said the vehicle will be used by city employees for out-of-city trips to Little Rock.

“I just use my personal vehicle most of the time in town,” he said, “so it would mostly be for longer trips. There was nothing wrong with the police vehicle we were driving, but the police department will get more out of it.”

The council voted to pass an emergency clause in order to approve the ordinance on all three readings at a single meeting.

McKinney said the rural water project is progressing nicely.

“They’re anywhere from 30 to 40 percent done on different contracts,” he said. “They’re running into a lot of rock. Hopefully we’ll be able to sell water this summer on certain parts of it. We’ll charge it up as they go along.”

McKinney said interest in rural water service has increased now that people are seeing the project become a reality.

The council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, at City Hall.

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