FOX16 Investigates: Dirty Waste Water Left Arkansas Treatment Site and Into Nearby River

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KENSETT, Ark. – Welcome to Kensett, a city with less than two thousand people.

“Typical small town USA,” says Kensett Water and Sewer Superintendent Steve Brown.

Brown has been doing this job for nearly two decades.

“It’s very important,” says Brown.

There’s nothing small about the city’s waste water treatment center including what used to be inside it.

Brown says unfiltered waste water made its way into the clean water, allowing waste water to flow into the White River.

“Every part [has] got to be right for it to work just like it’s supposed too,” says Brown.

Brown says that wasn’t the case for nearly two years which allowed dirty waste water to leave the treatment center untouched.

“We took the plant down to dirt, we replaced all the aeration out here,” says Brown.

Brown says reconstructing the site and other work cost around $100,000.

The center, which was built in 1994, wasn’t cleaned until just two years ago.

Brown says at that time, thick dirty water cut off the air supply inside the water which couldn’t break down the waste.

“Caused the dissolved oxygen to be lower in the water which caused the bacteria not to multiply as it should,” says Brown.

Brown hopes with a cleaner treatment plant, water will leave Kensett better than it comes in.

“It’s very important. It protects the waters of the State of Arkansas,” says Brown.

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) fined the City of Kensett more than $4,000.

Brown says he believes the problem has been eliminated but will not know for sure for at least three months.

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