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Lake Maumelle Controversy

An environmentalist group says your drinking water could be at risk if development isn't stopped on Lake Maumelle.
An environmentalist group says your drinking water could be at risk if development isn't stopped on Lake Maumelle. Work has already started on a new subdivision, but a group known as "Citizens Protecting Maumelle Watershed" wants construction shut down. Lake Maumelle provides drinking water to more than 400,000 people in Pulaski County. The Maumelle Watershed group says development close to the lake could compromise the quality of drinking water.

The group filed a motion to intervene and stop construction two weeks after an agreement was made with CAW and Waterview Estates. But while legal proceedings are pending, dirt is being moved.

"We couldn't believe it, we were surprised and very upset really," says Kate Althoff, "Citizens Protecting Maumelle Watershed. “You can see numbers on a plot map and it says it's so many feet from the edge of the water, but when you get up on a plane you can see how really close it is to the water's edge,” says Barry Haas, "Citizens Protecting Maumelle Watershed."

According to the environmentalist group, CAW is allowing the developer to build homes on the north shore of the lake, which the group says is a critical area.

“Because when it rains all of the rainfall reaches the intake facility for the treatment plant, the intake facility for the tap water," says Althoff. "Which means the travel time...anything that runs down the hillside gets in the lake. That means the folks running our utility won't have much time if any to react if anything bad gets in the water,” says Haas.

Central Arkansas Water tells FOX16 it is inspecting and monitoring the water quality daily and is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the drinking water. Part of the agreement, Waterview Estates has to build a drainage ditch to keep run-off out of the lake.

"The risk is in the sewage, the risk is in will the ditch fail. Will the ditch do what it's supposed to do?” says Althoff.

The hearing for intervention is scheduled for November 15th at 1:30 in Judge Proctor's courtroom. There is also a public meeting hosted by Citizen's Protecting Maumelle Watershed will be held on November 12th at 6:30 at UALR.

FOX16 Bottom Line:

The controversey over land development started in 2004 after Deltic Timber wanted to build.

Arkansas Senate Bill 230 allowing Deltic Timber to build failed to pass in 2005.

On July 12th, Central Arkansas Water and developer Rick Ferguson agreed to build houses.

On July 27th, "Citizens Protecting Maumelle Watershed" filed it's motion.

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