Work on a sewer line designed to increase capacity to the P Street Wastewater Treatment Plant is right on schedule.

Utilities Department Deputy Director Michelle Dodroe told the Times Record in August upgrades were made to the plant, and this project, P002-P003 sub-basin sewer capacity improvement, was a way to upgrade the line connected to it.

Lance McAvoy, deputy director of operations, said the project will allow more water to flow to the plant. He said this will allow “full utilization of the plant’s treatment capacity.”

“By doing this, there will  be few chances for sanitary overflows during wet weather events,” McAvoy said.

Overflow is when wastewater is released into the environment, typically due to an increased amount of water from rain that does not need to go through the sewer treatment system. It causes a need for increased line and treatment plant capacity to handle the extra volume.

About 1,170 feet of the line will run from the treatment plant to the former location of Odom’s Furniture on Phoenix Avenue. It is 60 inches in diameter and roughly 25 feet deep.

The remaining line will be made up of varying siazes. Around 2,400 feet will be 48 inches in diameter, 512 feet will be made up of 42-inch line and 83 feet will be 36-inch line, Deputy Director of Operations Lance McAvoy said in August.

McAvoy said the department is working on the section of 60-inch line, running from the treatment plant to P Street and Fifth Street. Around 1,000 feet of it is complete, and when complete, will run to the west side of Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

The Parks and Recreation Department will run a 10-foot hard surface trail through the park, connecting Creekmore Park to the Arkansas River, when the project is finished. Work began in May and is expected to last 18 months.

“The project is on time and we have experienced very little that has not been expected,” McAvoy said. “Barring significant weather delays, the project should finish on time.”

McAvoy said the next steps are to simply continue placing the pipe and connect it with what has already been done.

In April, the Fort Smith Board of Directors approved two resolutions approving a nearly $9.9 million contract with KAJACS Contractors for the line work and $642,000 with Hawkins-Weir Engineers for construction.

Approximately $450 million in wastewater projects, consent decree and non-consent decree, are planned for the next eight to 10 years. The Fort Smith Board of Directors approved the plans in November.

The directors also approved the 2019 city operating budget Dec. 18. Utilities has around $62 million set aside for work, salaries and other costs for next year. Around $5 million of the total is budgeted for sewer treatment and sewer line maintenance and repair.