A National Guard tanker truck pumps water into the tank for the town of Fifty Six Monday morning. At least six Guard members are volunteering in shifts to drive trucks hauling the water. - Photo courtesy of Aaron Byrd
Water storage for the town of Fifty Six was depleted last week, leaving the system’s approximately 250 customers without water. Volunteers from the Arkansas National Guard began hauling water to be transferred into the tank last Friday.
Mayor Earnestine McDaniel said it would likely be another week before anyone can draw water, explaining that lines are now dry and it will take thousands of gallons just to fill them again. After service is restored, it will continue to be critical for residents to restrict usage and avoid using the limited water supply for laundry, livestock, gardens/flowers, washing cars or filling pools.
A water tank for residents has been positioned near city hall. In addition, bottled water is being provided through various sources with priority given to elderly residents (delivery provided) and for families with children (pick up at city hall). Anyone who needs assistance with water is asked to call city hall at 757-2225 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or the mayor after hours at 757-2539.
Plans for an emergency above-ground line to connect to the Mountain View system have been re-submitted to the Arkansas Health Department for approval after the first plan required a change. A pump and part of the line has already been secured. Upon final approval, the engineer will find a contractor for installation.
Plans for a permanent connection have also been funded.
“We’re doing everything we can do,” McDaniel said.
Water level in the city’s well dropped, preventing the pump from being able to produce an adequate supply. The city had purchased some water from Big Flat in recent weeks, but that town is facing a similar situation, McDaniel has said.
(From the Aug. 5, 2020 issue)