Monday night the Van Buren City Council voted to purchase 279 acres of land to help alleviate a growing shortage of property for its wastewater treatment plant.

The city currently has 200 acres of land located on Highway 59 south between Van Buren and Barling, but more is needed to handle the biosolids from the city’s three wastewater treatment plants.

“The city’s running out of room to operate our wastewater treatment plant,” said Steve Dufresne, the city’s director of utilities, “so this is property to help us with the hurdles we’re facing now and to ensure future operations of our wastewater treatment plant.”

The new property is located in what’s commonly referred to as the Yoestown bottoms and will be purchased at a price of $387,000 out of the municipal utilities’ capital improvements fund.

VBMU Commission Chairman Jim Williamson told the council Monday night the new property “should last our city 50-plus years,” adding, “It’s something that we do need to acquire and it takes care of some problems we have out there.”

Biosolids from the city’s three wastewater treatment plants is currently scattered, or land applied, on the existing 200 acres. Hay has then been seeded on top of the biosolids and cattle are allowed to graze the hay.

Dufresne said while hay will be seeded at the new property, cattle won’t be brought in since there is no fencing.

The council passed the resolution by a unanimous vote.