(Editor's Note: Each year, Arkansas Business partners with the Arkansas Municipal League to present the Trendsetter City awards, which recognize exceptional initiatives underway in municipalities across the state. Large, medium and small-sized cities were honored in six categories: Diversity and Inclusion; Education/Workforce Development; Infrastructure and Water; Public Works/Environmental and Green Management; Technology and Security; and Tourism Development/Creative Culture. Below is one winner's story. For more, click here.)
Infrastructure and Water
Honorable Mention • 20,000 or Greater
Mayor: Doug Sprouse
County: Washington and Benton
In 2014, Springdale Water Utilities (SWU) identified sludge disposal as a priority. The belief was that the landfill would eventually not be available for environmental, regulatory or other unforeseeable reasons. The cost of out-of-state solutions was projected to be three to five times higher. A landfill can only take so much sludge because there is a sludge to regular waste ratio that must be maintained, so landfill size and location of the landfill are important and are tied to transportation and labor cost.
Springdale is a regional processor of third-party sludge and began test runs in September with the nearby city of Rogers as its first “customer.”
The City of Springdale, through its Water and Sewer Commission and the SWU, completed a $16 million biosolids drying project. It is the largest and newest dryer of its kind in North America. It will dry solids, keep sludge from going to the landfill and remove the dried tonnage out of the Illinois River watershed and transport it to nutrient-poor parts of the state. It means 90% fewer tons going to the nearby Eco Vista landfill, a biosolid with no microbial hazards and reduced transportation costs.