Fayetteville Takes Action to Clean Up Its Water (Green Initiatives | Honorable Mention, 20,000+)

When a 2009 study of the Beaver Lake Watershed in Northwest Arkansas by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality revealed potential sources of pollution originating from Fayetteville, the city took action.

The study found that more than 70 percent of the phosphorous in the local watershed that originated in urban areas was coming from Fayetteville. Plus, more than 85 percent was found to be coming from non-point sources such as parking lots, roads, lawn and garden fertilizer and even pet waste.

To correct the problem, the city of Fayetteville commissioned a Nutrient Reduction Plan in 2009 as part of an agreement between the city and the Beaver Water District. This led to a series of city ordinances over the last three years resulting in the improved health of water and waterways in Fayetteville.

The city’s efforts to recognize a problem and take steps to correct it earned Fayetteville recognition as a 2013 Arkansas Business City of Distinction for green initiatives.

“Phosphorous and other nutrients that make their way into our waterways, and ultimately our drinking water, are detrimental to the health of our streams, have a negative effect on water conservation and cleanliness, and make our drinking water more expensive to treat, increasing costs to rate payers,” said Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan.

Legislation passed by the Fayetteville City Council since the 2009 study fulfilled goals established in the Nutrient Reduction Plan. Specific actions include funding for major rehabilitation of stream banks in Fayetteville (the city has more than 100 miles of streams); improvement of water runoff and erosion issues; development of a low impact, clean waterway plan designed to reduce non-point source loadings into the watershed (in partnership with Home Depot and University of Arkansas); and development of riparian buffers, a cost-effective way to provide strategic streamside protection and reduce pollutants.