Byline: By The Commercial Staff

The Pine Bluff Wastewater Utility Commission has approved a $6.7 million budget for 2020, according to Wastewater Utility General Manager Ken Johnson.

Of that, $1.3 million will be devoted to capital improvements to the sewer collection system which dates back to 1888, as well as other needed infrastructure improvements.

Johnson said there was also a $90,000 budget items approved to replace a 12-year-old Inductive Coupled Plasma (ICP) unit at the wastewater lab at Island Harbor. He said the instrument is used by lab chemists to check the concentrations of wastewater compounds potentially discharged by industries into the wastewater plant.

The Federal EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulates the wastewater treatment facility in meeting federal Clean Water Act requirements and Johnson said Pine Bluff Wastewater Utility recently applied for a new wastewater discharge with ADEQ (Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality) for the next five year period.