The Black Oak City Council discussed grants for improving the city's water quality at the council meeting Monday, Nov. 17.
Devon Shouse addressed the council concerning grant information to improve the city's water quality.
"I am not here to cause a problem," Shouse said. "I just want to show where the city can apply for several $500 grants that are given to communities to fix the water problem. Poly-phosphates can be added to the well and it could be filtered, for about $10,000. There is grant money there to do this without raising water bills.
"Our main problem is iron," she said. "We should have .3 parts of iron per million and we have .79, which is more than double. According to information I have obtained, this can cause health problems."
"We have applied for grants and have hired people to help us with the water situation," Alderman Kenny Vaughn said.
"We are working on the phosphates and should have this in place by the first of the year," Mayor Norman Williams said.
"We are waiting on word from the Health Department," Alderman Johnny Williams said.
Williams referred to a letter from the Arkansas Department of Health, dated Nov. 14, which read, "The iron found in the Black Oak Water System is not harmful for human consumption. The iron is insoluble and not readily absorbed by the human body. If the iron were harmful to humans, the EPA would set a Maximum Contaminant Level that would be enforceable. We do encourage public water systems to reduce the iron levels so that they can deliver pleasing, palatable water to their customers."
"They recommended additional treatment and flushing of the lines," Williams said.
"There is a possibility of danger," Shouse said.
"We tried adding phosphates before, and it didn't seem to make much difference due to the age of our main lines, which were installed in 1964," Williams said. "It would cost us $250,000 to dig up our lines. We are trying to keep our water bills at a minimum. They would want us to raise rates and we don't want to do that."
"We can't get a grant to do that much work," Alderman Peggy Williams said. "Our senior citizens live on a fixed income and don't need a water increase."
Johnny Williams asked Shouse if she had a doctor's letter saying the water was harmful. Shouse replied, "No, but I am a medical student myself, and know that iron toxicity is harmful. It won't hurt anything for us to apply for grants and try to improve it."
"We have applied for a Fire Hydrant Grant of $23,000, but I don't know how much we will actually get," Peggy Williams said.
Shouse left her grant information with the council for consideration.
Alderman Kenny Vaughn requested the city find shelter for the old fire truck during the winter months, as it needs to be out of the weather. Alternatives were discussed, but no decision was made.
"The council voted to donate $120 to Buffalo Island Central High School for a half page annual page.
The council voted to complete the Privacy Ordinance-Concerning Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Information (FACTA).
Gift hams will be purchased for aldermen instead of hosting a Christmas party.
The council voted to give the city's seven firemen a $100 Christmas bonus.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be 6 p.m. Dec. 15 at city hall.