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Wastewater Treatment History

The City of Fayetteville has a history in wastewater treatment dating back almost 100 years! Following the introduction of those first measures to protect Arkansas' environmental resources, many advances have taken place to keep our lands and water clean and beautiful, as well as protect public health. As the tradition of sustaining these resources for future generations continues, we can truly say we live in "The Natural State"! 

Below is a list of important events in Fayetteville's wastewater treatment history:

  •  1916:  Wastewater treatment begins for the City of Fayetteville with the construction of an Imhoff  tank on the West Fork of the White River.
  •  1939:  A trickling filter is added to the facility on the West Fork of the White River.
  •  1946:  A primary clarifier, sludge digester, and inlet works are built.
  •  1959:  An additional primary clarifier, trickling filter, and a final clarifier are added to the treatment process.
  •  1969:  A newly constructed plant located on the combined White River downstream of Lake Sequoyah, the City of Fayetteville Water Pollution Control Facility, begins operation. It consists of an operations building with preliminary treatment equipment, two primary clarifiers, two aeration tanks, two final clarifiers, a chlorine contact tank, and solids dewatering equipment. The plant is built to meet secondary effluent discharge standards. 

    PICTURED:  Construction circa March 1968 and the City of Fayetteville Water Pollution Control Facility as it appeared in 1969.


  •  1988:  A major upgrade and expansion of the City's existing collection and treatment system is made to meet increasing wastewater demands from a growing population and more stringent permit requirements. The facility, renamed the Paul R. Noland Wastewater Treatment Plant, begins operation on February 25, 1988 after several years of construction. At this point, the plant is capable of meeting advanced treatment standards. In addition to the upgrades and expansion, two other significant events begin at this time: (1) dual effluent discharge split between the Illinois River basin via Mud Creek and continued discharge to the White River (2) aerobic digestion and subsequent land application of biosolids.

    ABOVE:  Photos of the Paul R. Noland Wastewater Treatment Plant on the east side of Fayetteville.

  •  1999:  A study to determine the actual treatment capacity for the Paul R. Noland plant based on current industry standards is conducted. Treatment capacity is determined to be 12.6 million gallons per day.
  •  1999:  The existing effluent disinfection system (liquid chlorine) is replaced with Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection. Use of the UV system is friendlier to the environment and helps to prevent possible complications from the use of chlorine.
  •  2003:  Land application of biosolids is suspended due to permit changes and ADEQ regulations. Landfill disposal begins.
  •  2007:  Another major upgrade to the Paul R. Noland Wastewater Treatment Plant is completed that includes a new headworks building, influent pump station, and solids handling facility. These plant improvements are only one phase of the overall wastewater system upgrade in the works to address overall system capacity issues. The new headworks and adjoining pump station are designed to process incoming flow using high-quality equipment and advanced technology. The solids handling facility utilizes a belt press system to dewater biosolids prior to further treatment or disposal.
  • 2008:  The West Side Wastewater Treatment Plant is placed online to address ever-increasing system capacity issues. This facility is but one component in the Wastewater System Improvement Project (WSIP) designed to meet these needs. The Hamestring lift station (which supplies the majority of flow to the West Side plant) and many miles of new pipeline are also put into service. The West Side WWTP successfully discharges its first treated effluent into Goose Creek of the Illinois River watershed on June 1, 2008. 

    ABOVE:  The new West Side plant begins operation and wetland restoration commences in 2008. 

  •  2008:  In addition to the major wastewater system improvements, a large-scale wetland restoration project, located adjacent to the West Side facilities, begins. Also, Noland gradually suspends effluent discharge to Mud Creek after the startup of the West Side plant (White River is the only receiving stream at this point).
  •  2010:  Construction of six solar drying houses and a thermal drying unit begins at the Biosolids Management Site (formerly known as the Farm Site, or Land Application Site) to combat increasing costs and fewer options for disposal in landfills. These dyers will provide a sustainable solution to those concerns.