You will note toward the end of the article, the news anchor states that the Mayor stated that they have not dumped “raw” sewage on anyone’s land and have not installed any pipes on other people’s property without their consent. The Mayor is head of the wastewater committee and the Mayor is the supervisor of the wastewater operator so she should know. Below is a downloadable file of the minutes of the Bethel Heights wastewater committee from June 18, 2015, about six months after Cynthia Black became Mayor of Bethel Heights. Note under “Current Business,” Item 2, Environmental Report, there is a discussion among the committee members regarding the various pipes that are being used to dump wastewater at the Lincoln Street facility and at the Oak Street facility. The “Razorback Farms” property that is mentioned is actually the Steele Farm owned by the Steele family who is one of my clients. This is the first hand account of the conspiracy to dump wastewater which started about nine years before the meeting that these minutes pertain to.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 29, 2019
CONTACT: 931.510.7703, CleanUpBethelHeights@gmail.com
MEDIA ADVISORY: PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY CONCERNING DANGEROUS, HIGH LEVELS OF FECAL COLIFORMS FOUND IN BETHEL HEIGHTS SEWAGE FIELD SURFACE WATER
Bethel Heights, AR (Monday, July 29, 2019) – The City of Bethel Heights was issued a serious non-compliance letter by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) on Wednesday, July 25, 2019 demanding immediate response. The letter notified Bethel Heights Mayor Cynthia Black of “serious permit violations” recorded during recent testing conducted by ADEQ inspectors of its wastewater treatment fields on Lincoln and Oak Streets, citing “dangerous, high levels of fecal coliforms” that pose danger to public health and safety.
In the letter issued by the ADEQ, the City of Bethel Heights was mandated to begin an immediate process of notifying the public of the presence of these dangerous levels of fecal coliforms as of close of business on Friday, July 26, 2019. Since sewer water surfacing atop the ground is illegal, Bethel Heights is to also begin ‘Chain of Custody’ testing of all surface sewer water pooling and report those findings to the State of Arkansas and to the public every five days.
Although the City of Bethel Heights was to submit its action plan to immediately remedy the dangerous conditions associated with its wastewater treatment facilities accompanied by a public health warning communications plan by close of business on Friday, July 26, the Mayor and city council responded with a request for extended time to respond to the ADEQ demands.
This request for the City of Bethel Heights to be allowed more time to respond to the ADEQ demands causes great concern. First, these problems have been ongoing for more than a decade with no satisfactory, compliant remedy; secondly, Mayor Cynthia Black consistently responds “no comment” to public inquiries requesting information about public safety and corrective action plans to bring its facility into compliance and contain its sewage to avoid runoff onto private property; and thirdly, the failure to communicate public safety issues and post warning signs is simply inexcusable when public health is at risk and personal property is being compromised due to the negligence and irresponsible actions (as noted in ADEQ recorded violations) demonstrated by City of Bethel Heights leaders for over ten years.
In the last 48 hours, the City of Bethel Heights has not met the ADEQ deadline and has failed to comply with ADEQ demands to post warning signs and communicate safety issues with the public.
Therefore, Bethel Heights citizens have asked the experts who brought these issues to the attention of the ADEQ to comment by explaining the results of test samples taken by the ADEQ at sewer fields on Lincoln and Oak Streets as published by the State of Arkansas.
Request a copy of the ADEQ warning letter along with the lab results that prompted ADEQ to take immediate action in issuing the aforementioned series of demands last week. Photos taken at the Lincoln and Oak Street sewer fields on Saturday, July 27, 2019 show that these illegal surfacing problems remain, posing a risk to public health and safety.
WARNING: THE PUBLIC SHOULD AVOID CONTACT WITH STANDING SEWER WATER AROUND THE LINCOLN AND OAK STREET FACILITIES AND ADJACENT CITY PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS. THE HIGH PRESENCE OF E-COLI BACTERIA POSES SERIOUS HEALTH HAZARDS.
Bethel Heights citizens strongly urge authorities to immediately instruct the City of Bethel Heights to start pumping its sewer water into tankers to be hauled to legitimate licensed sewer treatment plants for LEGAL DISPOSAL. SEWAGE RUNNING ON THE GROUND MUST STOP.
Concerned citizens of Bethel Heights and adjoining cities may visit www.CleanUpBethelHeights.com, andfollow www.facebook.com/CleanUpBethelHeights on Facebook for regular updates and notices as they are published by the State of Arkansas and environmental authorities.
Those who support annexing Bethel Heights property owners into the City of Springdale are encouraged to sign the petition which has acquired hundreds of signatures of registered Springdale voters in less than a week and has met the required number of signatures from Bethel Heights voters. Locations where registered voters can sign the petitions are listed at www.CleanUpBethelHeights.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CleanUpBethelHeights.
Media inquiries related to this content may be directed to Jennifer Steele by calling 931.510.7703 or via email to CleanUpBethelHeights@gmail.com to schedule interviews with authorities and affected property owners.
COPIES OF ALL ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS AND CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN STATE AUTHORITIES AND THE CITY OF BETHEL HEIGHTS ACCOMPANY THIS MEDIA ADVISORY.
Photo taken Saturday 7/27/19. It is ILLEGAL for sewage water to surface!