GREENBRIER — The Greenbrier City Council unanimously voted to approve the issuance of bonds up to $2.75 million for a new waste water treatment plant. This has been a very long time coming with many headaches while officials tried to save their old system that was designed in 1994 to handle 620,000 gallons of waste water per day. Greenbrier already handles over 600,000 gallons per day so the time had come to meet the challenge of a new system.
Bond Chairman J. Shepherd Russell, III, Managing Partner of Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP, presented the proposal to the City Council after public hearings were held. He indicated the bonds would probably go at a four percent rate—very much in line with what they have been watching over the last few months. It would cap at a five percent rate. The city will make semi-annual payments to Regions Bank, the bond trustee. This amount will include the consolidation of some old debt, as well as funds to reimburse the city for money already spent trying to keep the old system alive until they could afford a new one. "This will be a thirty-five year financing to mature no later than December 1, 2023," said Russell. The city Attorney, Bill Velek, advised Greenbrier is a Class 2 city so is not required to let bids. Mayor Melton Cotton and Council members felt they could negotiate the smaller buildings and electrical and would probably bid out the larger things such as concrete work.
In the last two years, Greenbrier has struggled with their 20 year old system by upgrading to meet regular inspections by the Arkansas Department of Health for Community Water System and Conway Corporation and the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. On advice of a team of Civil Engineers they removed sludge from the pools, installed four new 25 HP aerators and a baffle to allow aerated water into the ponds. A connection between the two ponds was rejuvenated and, finally, the sand filter system that was rusted and eroding was fixed to work more efficiently. Built-up areas of sludge at the bottom of both ponds were also removed. It was pointed out in 2011, though, that these would only be temporary fixes to pass state inspections. John Walker, Civil Engineer, stated then, "With Greenbrier’s anticipated growth and the new stricter regulations that have already kicked in for Arkansas, this plant needs to be changed to process more water."