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Contact: Kevin Cheri, Superintendent, (870) 365-2700
Comments Sought on the Replacement of Existing Wastewater Treatment Plants at Buffalo National River
The National Park Service (NPS) is proposing to replace two obsolete wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) with state-of-the-art WWTPs at the existing sites at the Buffalo Point visitor area at Buffalo National River (the park). Buffalo River is one of the few remaining unpolluted, free-flowing rivers in the lower 48 states, offering both swift-running and placid stretches. The park encompasses 135 miles of the 150-mile-long river. The purpose of the park is to preserve, conserve, and interpret the free-flowing stream and associated natural, cultural, scientific, and scenic features and values. Annual visitation at the park is 1.25 million. Day use, camping, park facilities, and concessioner-operated restaurant and rental cabins all depend on the park's ability to operate and maintain wastewater treatment systems at or above federal, state, and local standards.
Two WWTPs serving the Buffalo Point visitor area were constructed in 1972 and are approaching the end of their useful life. Both WWTPs discharge into surface streams: the upper WWTP discharges to an unnamed tributary of Panther Creek that flows to the Buffalo River, and the lower WWTP discharges directly to the Buffalo River. The Buffalo National River is part of the National Wild and Scenic River System and is designated as an Extraordinary Resource Water. As such, it is imperative that the WWTPs provide the highest level of treatment possible to limit discharge of pathogens, nitrates, phosphates, dissolved solids, and other pollutants into the river. Components of the existing WWTPs often freeze during the winter months, and the aboveground steel construction makes them prone to deterioration from constant exposure to corrosive environments. In addition, the associated electrical and mechanical control systems are obsolete and inefficient, and it is difficult or impossible to locate replacement parts.
The proposed action would replace the WWTPs at their respective sites. The new WWTPs would be brought to industry standards, and construction of both plants would include similar design features. Under the proposed action, the existing service areas would remain independent, and no plant consolidation would occur. No additional wastewater collection piping would be needed. Specific project details include:
§Upper WWTP—Demolish and rehabilitate existing facilities and dispose of obsolete equipment. Construct a new 15,000 gallons per day (gpd) WWTP with a new building to house an office;mechanical, electrical, and controls equipment;and a storage area. Rehabilitate existing WWTP building.
§Lower WWTP—Demolish and rehabilitate existing facilities and dispose of obsolete equipment. Construct a new 20,000 gpd WWTP with a new building to house mechanical, electrical, and controls equipment.
The replacement of the outdated WWTPs would (1) improve river quality through improved wastewater treatment and discharge, (2) increase the energy and operations efficiency, and (3) improve visitor safety and services.
This project is currently in the scoping phase, and you are invited to submit your written comments online at the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website at https://parkplaning.nps.gov/
If you are not able to submit comments electronically through this website, you may submit written comments to the address provided below.
Superintendent Kevin Cheri
Buffalo National River
402 N. Walnut Street
Harrison, AR 72601
Please provide all comments byApril 9, 2016. The National Park Service looks forward to hearing from you.