IN THE BEGINNING
The first sanitary sewer system in Pine Bluff was built in 1888 to combat an epidemic outbreak. Yellow fever, typhoid fever, and cholera ran rampant through many southern communities during the late 1800’s. Many cities in the area experienced exposure to germs from outhouses and cesspools. Diseases were spread by contaminated drinking water and unsanitary conditions that resulted from the lack of a sewerage system. At this time, the sewage traveled through open ditches and emerged untreated in the Arkansas River just east of Convention Center Drive.
The city’s forefathers constructed a primary sewerage system to save lives, reduce an epidemic and improve the health of its inhabitants. By 1949, it had been expanded to the point that it contained 86 miles of sewer mains and laterals. The sewers were built by independent sewer districts as part of a bond debt. The responsibility for the operation and maintenance of this system reverted to the City of Pine Bluff once the bond debt was retired. Today, the City of Pine Bluff has 39 sewer districts and 450 miles of collection lines. Each drainage area had its own disposal facility. These treatment plants serve five separate districts and one housing project. While sewage was available to the inner city areas, some remote areas still did not have sewer capabilities.
Pine Bluff experienced a substantial population growth, and the drainage areas of many of the old sewerage systems have been increased beyond the original design. Pine Bluff enjoyed a progressive population growth that was most outstanding during the 1940-1950 decade with a 74.5% increase. Some of this growth can be attributed to the expansion of the city limits resulting in the annexation of certain populated areas. This trend inevitably affected the economy of the territory and necessitated the expansion of the existing sewer system in order to accommodate local residents, businesses, schools, and industries.
Pine Bluff Wastewater Utility has made marked improvements in the implementation of service to its consumers. PBWU has consistently received numerous awards for excellence, dating back from 1980 to date. NACWA has recognized PBWU with Platinum and Gold Awards at the Boyd Point Treatment Facility for 100% compliance to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit standards. To learn more about Pine Bluff Wastewater Utility and how you can play a part in creating a healthier environment, visit our CONSERVATION