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Recovery Act Project Ground Breaking at Poteau 5 News Release

Ground Breaking Ceremony for $1.5 Million Recovery Act Project at Waldron Water Supply Scheduled for May 17

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A ground breaking ceremony signifying the start of a $1.5 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act rehabilitation project at the City of Waldron’s water supply lake will be held on May 17 at approximately 1:30 p.m.

A project agreement between the City of Waldron and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) was recently signed to bring the city’s water supply dam up to current safety standards.

"The rehabilitation work will extend the service life of the structure another 100 years allowing it to continue to provide flood prevention benefits and meet current safety requirements," said NRCS State Conservationist Mike Sullivan. "Since 1964, when the structure was completed, no major flood has caused significant damage to Waldron. 

The Poteau River Multipurpose Dam No. 5 and reservoir is the city’s primary source of water for approximately 4,000 people in a 17-square-mile area. The dam, approximately 47-feet high, is located on the East Fork of the Poteau River about 3.5 miles northeast of Waldron.

The rehabilitation project in Scott County is designed to provide added flood prevention for the city of Waldron. But, the project has some other much needed benefits.

“Due to our growing population, the current reservoir isn’t big enough. Increasing the height of the dam will raise the water level enough to keep us from running short of water,” said Waldron Mayor Randy Butler.

“Once this job is completed, we should be able to get industry to move to town. Right now, we can’t really talk to them because we don’t have enough water to sustain the added usage,” Butler said. “Putting nearly $2 million into the project will also be a boost to the town’s economy.”

Construction is expected to begin May 24, 2010. The construction will raise the top of the dam by 4.7 feet, raise the crest of the lake by 0.9 feet, and widen the auxiliary spillway by 170 feet.

The dam provides the city with 2,100 acre-feet of drinking water and protects twenty homes, several businesses, multiple farms, poultry operations and Highway 71 from flooding.

Thirty-five percent of this project is funded by the City of Waldron.  The remaining sixty-five percent is provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  This project is part of President Obama’s plans to modernize the nation’s infrastructure, jump-start the economy and create jobs.  NRCS is using Recovery Act dollars to update aging flood control structures, protect and maintain water supplies, improve water quality, reduce soil erosion, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, and restore wetlands.

This project will be the first dam rehabilitation project in Arkansas.  Four other Recovery Act watershed projects in Scott, Hempstead, Perry and Logan have also been funded along with eight floodplain easements. More than $5 million has been appropriated for the projects.

Anyone planning on attending the ceremony will need to meet at 1:00 p.m. at Waldron City Hall, 370 Featherstone Road in Waldron, then proceed to the dam for the official groundbreaking ceremony.

For more information about NRCS Recovery Act projects in Arkansas, please visit http://www.ar.nrcs.usda.gov/recovery/recovery_programs.html.