The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) expressed concerns about the construction of Pangburn’s new, $3.5 million water plant during its most recent sanitary inspection.
Jeff Stone, ADH’s engineering director, said Public Water Supply Sanitary Surveys are conducted every two years for community water systems. The May 24, 2016 survey was the first one completed for Pangburn since its new water plant was constructed. Before the new plant, there were no marks on the surveys against the structures or grounds of the facility.
In May – three months after the new plant was constructed – the ADH marked that the grounds and structures of the plant were not satisfactory.
“This new system is all jacked up,” Pangburn Water System Manager Shawn Hughes said. “The contractors didn’t know what they were doing.”
Davis Construction in Harrison was chosen to build the new water plant in August 2014. Hughes said this project was Davis Construction’s first time building a water plant.
Other contractors from Searcy and Heber Springs were available, but Hughes said Davis Construction was the most cost-effective option at the time.
Once the ADH saw the new plant, it was added in the survey that the construction needed to be investigated.
“At the end of a construction project, there are always items that need to be addressed,” Stone said. “The City of Pangburn should ensure that these items are addressed.”
Hughes said if he did not fix the current problems, the plant would not last long. Some of the issues, according to Hughes, are: cracked floors, mold in the chemical room, chemicals that are not labeled, pipes that are built out of improper materials, poles missing from staircases and various lines that were not properly installed.
“The public, the citizens of Pangburn, should be aware that they will have to make an investment in the distribution system at some point in order to have a reliable system,” Stone said.
Harding sophomore Summer Dunaway grew up in Pangburn and said she hopes the problems with the water system will be resolved soon.
“I’m not sure if bringing in officials to help or more money would solve problems, but I know it can’t stay the way it is,” Dunaway said. “The people in our community are tired of it all.”
To make the system more efficient for the community, Hughes said Pangburn Waterworks has hired a consultant and a lawyer to look at the current state of the plant. He said the goal is to find new contractors within six weeks to fix the current problems.
“(The lawyers) are going to try to get (Davis Construction) out of here,” Hughes said. “After dealing with their nonsense, I don’t even want them here…This is going to take a little bit, but everything is going to be fixed. As long as I’m here, it’s going to be fixed.”