Conway Corp. will hold a public hearing at 3 p.m. Friday to get feedback on the company’s plan to construct a new wastewater treatment facility at Lollie Road, west of town.

The proposed project would decommission the existing Stone Dam Wastewater Treatment Plant on Stanley Russ Road, whose treated water joins Lake Conway, a plant that Conway Corp. CEO Richie Arnold said was "antiquated."

Arnold said the best long-term and cost effective option for the city would be to abandon the Stone Dam facility, nearing 30 years in age, and construct the Tupelo Bayou Wastewater Treatment Plant.

"Money spent on the Stone Dam facility would be on a 30-year-old plant. It wasn’t our best investment. This is a comprehensive project, initially starting with eight or 16 million gallons (per day) of treatment capacity. The thinking is that we’ll bid the design as such that we can add an additional eight (million gallons) if the prices are good," Arnold said. "This adds some capacity and replaces capacity that was antiquated."

The Tucker Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, the second treatment facility maintained by the company, will also undergo improvements.

Conway Corp. secured financing through the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission’s Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund program for the $79.4 million in construction and improvement costs. 

Arnold said a portion of the cost would be passed down to the 21,600 wastewater customers to service debt.

"Based on benchmarking we’ve done, we will be very comparable. We’ve got really low rates without recent capital improvements. You can tell who has recently developed facilities because their rates reflect that. We’re to that point where we are going to have to prepare for growth and replace that infrastructure."

According to Arnold, the current monthly sewer charge for a typical household using 5,000 gallons of water per month is $17.55, and will increase to $19.31 in 2011.

After the new plant is constructed, Arnold said, the typical household will pay $31.85 with that estimation.

Garver Engineer Kirby Rowland said that the way the plant is designed, the facility provides for upgrades as far as 32 million gallons of wastewater treated per day. 

Rowland said the latest projections for the completion indicate a operational facility in early 2014.

"We’re going to try to employ the best technology we can justify and afford through our rates. It’s a plant we’ll be proud of and it will be a great asset to the city for many years. We’re looking forward to getting it online," Arnold said.

The hearing will be held at Conway Corp.’s office at 1307 Prairie St. More information on the proposed improvements can be found in the preliminary facility plan prepared by Garver Engineers. The document can be viewed at the Conway Corp. Engineering Department, at 800 S. Harkrider St., during normal business hours.