SEARCY, Ark – Seven Arkansas communities are set to receive funding from the state for water and wastewater projects. It’s coming from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Commission. One of those communities, Searcy in White County, is receiving a $4,000,000 loan to repair storm water lines. It’s a problem the community can’t see, but wear and tear to those lines spills over to the sanitary sewer costing the city more money.

“These pipes have been in the ground for 50 to 100 years,” Searcy Water Utilities Manger Daniel Dawson said.

This underground problem is coming to the surface.

“Cracks, offset joints, roots getting in, holes where water can come in,” Dawson described the storm pipes.

According to Dawson these cracks and breaks in the storm pipes is causing water to overflow to the sanitary pipes. Normal flow at the Searcy Wastewater Plant is about 3,000,000 gallons a day.

“and today we’re up to almost eight just with the little bit of rain we had last night,” Dawson said.

That increases the chance of flooding in the city. To help combat the problem, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Commission approved a $4,000,000 loan to the City of Searcy which will fund the first phase of repairs. Starting in basin seven, this area tackles most of the city and southwest.

“41% of all of the flow, excess wet weather flow is coming from this one basin,” Dawson said.

Dawson says spending this money will save money in the long run.

“Any drop of water you can keep out of the sanitary sewer is water we don’t have to pay to treat,” Dawson said.

This is just one small piece of a much larger project.

“There’s probably one trillion dollars worth of work that needs to be done just to take care of what we already have in the ground,” Dawson said.

$3,000,000 of this loan is going to repairing lines and $1,000,000 will go to replace a lift station which helps pump water to its destination. This loan will increase customers’ rates about 6% for the next four years.