Mountainburg project hopes to get water to county residents

Ty Thompson
Press Argus-Courier
The Lake Fort Smith Water Treatment Plant in Mountainburg. Mountainburg is working on a project to get over 500 residents in the area potable water.

In an area between Mountainburg, Cedarville, Rudy, and up to the Franklin County line, there are around 500 homes that don't have access to potable water. Mountainburg Mayor Susan Wilson is working to get water to these homes.

According to Wilson, there are children in Mountainburg who shower at school because of the water supply at their homes.

"Before Covid, we would bus children to Alma to pick out new clothes, because they couldn't do laundry at their homes," Wilson said.

For about 20 years, different systems have tried to get water to these areas, but Wilson is hoping to complete the project.

In order for the many homes to receive water, Mountainburg will extend its water system with 66 miles of piping. The project would cost about $10 million.

"We need about 400 user agreements, and we've gotten around 220," Wilson said. "We're in the last phase of getting people to sign up in order to make the project profitable."

According to Wilson, in order to begin applying for grants that would help the project move forward the 400 agreements are needed.

Those who do not have county water have relied on wells on their property or have utilized the fill station in Fort Smith to haul water to their homes.

"That can never be a sustainable thing and still do laundry or take showers," Wilson said. 

Public meeting set June 1

A meeting will be held on June 1 for the residents to ask questions and sign the user agreements. Along with signing up, there is a $100 deposit. There will also be a $150 deposit once the meter is turned on.

If the project reaches the number of people needed and is completed, the monthly amount would be around $45 to $55 for water. 

After the project is started it will still be possible to get water, but a regular tap fee will need to be paid. Currently, that is around $15.

The meeting on June 1 will be the last meeting. The city of Mountainburg asks that if anyone can not make the meeting and has not signed up, they can go to city hall during the week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and sign up. 

Mountainburg City Hall is located at 101 U.S. 71 North.