LRW Overview

Proper collection, treatment and disposal of wastewater is vital to the health and safety of the community. At Little Rock Wastewater, we ensure that the water that goes down your drain has a safe destination. Liquid and solid waste comes to LRW for transport and treatment after water is used in homes and workplaces. The water is cleaned, processed and released after exceeding the current water quality standards.

We have employees who:

  • Maintain over 1,314 miles of public sewers.

  • Serve over 67,600 homes & businesses.

  • Operate an administrative office, a maintenance facility and a wastewater facility in west Little Rock, two wastewater Facilities in east Little Rock and 30 pumping stations.

The Little Rock Water Reclamation Commission governs LRW, and is comprised of seven citizens who are appointed by the Little Rock City Board of Directors. The City Board establishes sewer rates and approves certain financial matters, including the issuance of bonds.

LRW is committed to providing excellent quality sewer services for both residential and business customers as it keeps water resources safe for wildlife and human reuse. The employees of LRW are a group of dedicated professionals who work to provide a safe and clean environment for our City.  LRW is recognized as a leader in the State of Arkansas. Numerous awards have been received from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Association of Metropolitan Sewage Agencies.

A History of Service
For the first half-century of its existence, Little Rock residents depended on a creek called Town Branch that ran through the center of the City to carry away wastes. As Little Rock grew, Town Branch became nastier and more prone to flooding. At the same time, the germ theory had been developed and scientific evidence mounted that Town Branch was a source of disease.

In the early 1880s neighborhood improvement districts were created to build a rudimentary sewer system, and these districts formed a hodgepodge of disposal systems all emptying into the Arkansas River. During the Depression, the federal government provided the financial means for Little Rock to build a real sewerage system governed by a committee of civic-minded residents. In 1937 the Municipal Sanitary Sewer System employed 12 people.

Treatment of sewage before it went into the Arkansas River did not come to Little Rock until the 1960s when the Adams Field Facility came into service. Growth and federal government demands in the 1970s overwhelmed the City’s sewer systems. Little Rock’s problems were exacerbated by unrelenting growth pressures west and southwest of the City. To cope, the City constructed new lines to serve the growth areas, diverting the last 20 percent of its raw sewage from the Arkansas River to the Adams Field Facility, and starting construction on a second treatment facility, the Fourche Creek Facility. Overflowing manholes caused by rainwater and groundwater infiltration continued to plague the system, however, and the new Fourche Creek Facility proved to be an engineering catastrophe.

LRW was reorganized in the mid 1980's with the arrival of a new manager and management team in 1984 and 1985. The Fourche Creek Facility was redesigned and rebuilt, and both it and the Adams Field Facility came into compliance with pollution control permits.


The Administration Division provides services in the areas of Training, Human Resources, Legal, Environmental Health & Safety (EHS), Customer Assistance, Administrative Support, Security, and Community and Media Relations. Human Resources is responsible for compensation, employee benefits, employment policies, procedures, and professional development. Employee Relations and Administrative Support coordinates clerical assistance to all divisions while creating, planning, and implementing LRW-sponsored employee activities and events. EHS prepares and coordinates the safety and security programs, environmental health, training, and self-insured workers’ compensation program. EHS also monitors the work environment for compliance with safety and environmental waste regulations, investigates all work-related and vehicle incidents, and provides on education and prevention services. Community Relations coordinates all public and media communication, represents LRW in the public and develops public education and outreach programs, creates, edits and distributes all publications, and develops and coordinates presentations for public meetings (civic, residential, governmental and trade association meetings and exhibits). Customer Assistance also responds to residential complaints, damage claims, and general inquiries.

The Collection System Maintenance Division is responsible for all maintenance of and repairs to all assets within the Little Rock collection system. The Collection System Maintenance Division is comprised of the following three departments: Cleaning/Inspection, Construction/Repairs, and Fleet Services. These departments complement each other in accomplishing internal and external tasks that provide sanitary sewer services, excellent collection system maintenance, and customer satisfaction. Cleaning/Inspection: The Cleaning/Inspection department works continuously to meet established annual goals and to provide the necessary support services to maintain and maximize the effectiveness of the Little Rock Wastewater sewer collection system. Specifically, the Cleaning/Inspection department is responsible for providing the following services associated with the sewer collection system: cleaning, inspection, right-of-way/easement clearing, and emergency response. Through conduction of these services allows the department to ensure that customer complaints are properly handled, that collection system preventive maintenance needs are met, and that sanitary sewer overflows are strategically limited.

The Cleaning/Inspection department also offers support services to the Construction/Repairs department. These support services include, but are not limited to, sewer line locates, inspections for capital projects, street wash-downs, and mainline repairs. In addition, the Cleaning/Inspection department offers support services to the Engineering department. These support services include the CCTV of Overflow Mitigation Project (OMP) areas, smoke testing, and service line inspections in response to requests from the Permits department.

Construction/Repairs: The Construction/Repairs department works continuously to meet established annual goals and to provide necessary services to maintain and maximize the effectiveness of the Little Rock Wastewater sewer collection system. Specifically, the Construction/Repairs department is responsible for providing the following services associated with the sewer collection system: main line repairs and replacements, service line repairs and replacements, and installation of new mains in order to replace old community service lines.

The Construction/Repairs department collaborates with the Cleaning/Inspection, Plants/Facilities, and Engineering departments in an effort to eliminate the following: severely damaged main lines; inflow from corrupt private service lines in the street right-of-ways; old community service lines; and those areas within the collection system that are prone to overflow occurrences. These activities aid in determining those assets within the collection system for which funding should be utilized in order to maintain the collection system under capital investment projects and O&M maintenance.

Fleet Services: It is the mission of Fleet Maintenance to provide a support service that manages all fleet needs for Little Rock Wastewater and Central Arkansas Water in the most cost effective, timely manner to ensure that the goals and tasks of each utility can be accomplished and the overall performance and life of the fleet is maximized.

Administer all functions within the Engineering Division, including wastewater engineering, capital improvement plan administration, and collection system administration. The Engineering Division ensures that the Utility’s short and long term goals are implemented as effectively as possible while ensuring accountability, accuracy and customer and ratepayer satisfaction.

Wastewater Engineering - Determine policies for engineering practices and design. Design, coordinate, and manage engineering projects and studies with other divisions of the Utility, private consulting engineers, the City of Little Rock, Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD), and other utilities and agencies. Provide support to management through engineering calculations and graphical presentations. Provide in-house detailed design documents, project administration and inspection services for both in-house construction and Contracted work. Provide engineering support through planning design and inspection for the various annual maintenance construction contracts for both capital projects such as the trenchless rehabilitation and yearly maintenance contract such as chemical root control and pipeline cleaning.

Professional Service Contract Administration - Negotiate, administer and manage all professional services contracts for planning, pre-design and design of capital projects. Review and coordinate the design of major sewer facility improvements protecting the interests of Little Rock Wastewater. Coordinate the professional services procurement process and conduct related informational meetings. Review and approve invoice processing, status reports, and accounting system requirements. Determine policies for standard engineering practices, design, and technical specifications.

Capital Improvement Plan Administration - Administer, direct and manage construction of the Little Rock Wastewater Capital Projects. Provide management oversight of contractor’s construction activities to achieve successful project completion. Participate in pre-construction and progress meetings, assist consulting engineer to resolve engineering and construction conflicts and disputes, provide clarifications, interpretations, and directives as necessary to meet the terms of contracts and conditions and to minimize any negative impacts on the projects. Approve work directive changes and oversee administration of change orders approval. Oversee consulting engineer’s review and processing of invoices and construction progress payments. Provide information as required to meet funding agency reporting and compliance. Prepare and maintain construction files including easement acquisition and Contracts. Oversee consulting engineer’s coordination of construction activities with other utilities, internally, and other governmental agencies having jurisdiction, and regulatory agencies. Ensure construction compliance with contact documents and regulatory agency requirements. Review plans and specifications for constructability and risk mitigation.

Collection System Administration – Provide engineering support as required to establish standard engineering practice and minimum standards for design and construction of collection system expansions. Provide inspection oversight for developer funded collection system expansions. Obtain and review all records of easements, plats and as-built information for all extensions to the collection system. Provide system information to potential customers concerning connection locations and requirements. Issue connection permits and provide inspection services for private service line connections.

 The Environmental Assessment Division (EAD) supports Little Rock Wastewater (LRW) by providing quality assured environmental monitoring data through sampling, testing, inspections, and investigations, as well as administering the Sewer Service Line Program and the Sewer Service Line Replacement Program.  As Director of Environmental Assessment, Stanley Suel oversees the division’s  five departments; Compliance Laboratory, Quality Assurance, Pretreatment Program/Commercial User Relations, Plan Review/Sample Collection, and Sewer Service Line Program.

The EAD Laboratory confirms daily compliance with effluent limitations of the National Pollutant Discharge Eliminations System (NPDES) Permits issued by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to three LRW treatment plants and provides quality assured compliance testing on industrial wastewater sources, treatment plant processes, and by-products to establish quality data to support other LRW departments’ operations.

The Sampling/Plan Review team schedules and coordinates all aspects of industrial, commercial, and treatment plant representative sample collection, preservation and delivery, and specializes in commercial plan review to oversee/approve the use of LRW EAD/Engineering specified devices necessary for compliance with local ordinances.

The Pretreatment Program is committed to assist all customers within the LRW service area and encourage pollution prevention through best management practices and pretreatment devices to meet Federal, State, and Local Ordinance regulations.  The EAD Pretreatment Program will continue to take a cooperative approach in regulating local industries, in accordance with 40 Code of Federal Regulations 403, to prevent detrimental effects on the collection system assets, treatment plants, employees, and Arkansas River.  Working together, LRW, and its customers preserve Arkansas’ natural water resources.

As a vital part of the overall Pretreatment Program required by the Federal Statute and the state issued NPDES permits, EAD assists industries with meeting effluent limitations set by the EPA and local requirements.  EAD recognizes industrial users with good compliance records by sending excellence certificates to those industries

The Sewer Service Line Program encompasses both permitting and inspection of all sewer service line installations and repairs as well as the Sewer Service Line Replacement Program.  The LRW Permits Desk issues all permits for Sewer Service Line work within LRW’s coverage area including new construction, service line replacement, repairs and sewer seals as well as street cuts for both residential and commercial customers.  The Service Line Inspector assures all installations of sewer service lines meet LRW specifications.  The Sewer Service Line Replacement Program assists Little Rock residences with the replacement of their old qualifying service lines with a reimbursement of up to $2,500. (

Through EAD’s support LRW provides wastewater treatment that protects the community and the environment. EAD’s efforts ensure our water resources are available for current and future generations to enjoy.

The Finance Division is responsible for all financial information and reporting, purchasing of and payment for all LRW equipment and supplies, and customer service support. Specifically, the Accounting and Purchasing Departments make up the Division of Finance. These two departments complement each other in accomplishing internal and external customer satisfaction.

Accounting provides monthly and annual financial statements, collects data and prepares the annual budget, verifies invoicing and payments for both accounts receivable and accounts payable, operating and capital improvement expenditures, processes all aspects of bi-weekly payroll, and offers customer service to residents of Little Rock for sanitary sewer service. Purchasing provides support by coordinating the purchase of all wastewater equipment and supplies in accordance with all state and city regulations.

The Information Services (“IS”) Division of LRW serves and supports the information technology and infrastructure needs of the internal LRW customer and guests, and provides specific wastewater related web services to the citizens of Little Rock. The IS team is comprised of three distinct disciplines; Database Administration, Instrumentation, and Network Administration.

Our Database Administration team supports our Enterprise Level Databases, Application Development, Geographic Information Systems (“GIS”), Work Order Management System, and Reporting Services.

Our Instrumentation team handles everything from cabling, Audio/Visual, Plant Automation, SCADA Development, Two-way Radio Systems, Fire/Burglar Alarm, Security Access and Camera/Video Monitoring, to PLC programming.

The Network Administration team combines the traditional IT services of PC and Application Support with several areas of expertise to provide an overall Enterprise Level experience for the LRW user. Just some of our areas of support includes LAN/WAN management, Server hardware and Operating System support, Active Directory implementation, Web Site Administration, Email Services, File System Security, and Remote User Access. Our helpdesk system supports these three departments and assists in our service to the users of the LRW Information Services Division.

Plants/Facilities: The Plants/Facilities department works continuously to provide necessary services to maintain and maximize the effectiveness of all Little Rock Wastewater plant and facility operations. Specifically, the Plants/Facilities department is responsible for providing services related to the maintenance and repair of all process equipment, pump stations, and buildings associated with the day-to-day operations of Little Rock Wastewater. These facilities include, but are not limited to, three Wastewater treatment facilities and thirty-one collection system pump stations. In addition, this department is responsible for maintaining portable generators and pumps which can be deployed and utilized anywhere within the collection system in an emergency capacity at all times.

The Operations Division is responsible for receiving and treating commercial, industrial, and residential wastewater from customers in the City of Little Rock. Using the various combinations of physical and biological treatment processes to remove the waste components from the wastewater stream, the final product of treated and clarified effluent from both the Adams Field and Fourche Creek Wastewater Treatment Plants is reintroduced into the environment via the Arkansas River. While governed by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) standards issued through the State of Arkansas, both facilities consistently excel in water quality meeting these standards on a 99.9% basis.

Fourche Creek WWTF - Fourche Creek WWTF is a secondary treatment facility with a step-feed activated sludge process, rated to treat 16 million gallons per day. While required by the State of Arkansas to reduce pollutant loads by 85%, FCWWTP consistently achieves 90 to 95% removal before discharging the treated effluent to the Arkansas River. Sludge from both wastewater treatment plants, Fourche Creek and Adams Field, are combined and thickened at this facility prior to being introduced to one of four 1.2 million gallon primary anaerobic digestion tanks. Held for approximately 30 days, at a constant 95°F, and completely devoid of any free oxygen, these tanks use naturally occurring bacteria to consume 55% of the organic solids in the thickened sludge to produce water, carbon-dioxide, sulfide, and most importantly methane. The methane gas is collected and piped to the Generator Building where it is used as an alternative fuel source to provide up to 60% of the facility’s power. The remaining organic, as well as some inorganic, material is pumped to on-site storage lagoons and held until summer, when it is mixed and hauled to area farmlands as a soil conditioner, called Biosolids.

Adams Field WWTF - The Adams Field Wastewater Treatment Facility serves approximately 70% of the city of Little Rock and has been in operation since 1961, originally equipped with only primary treatment. Secondary treatment facilities were added in 1972 with a design flow of 36 million gallons per day. In 2005-2006, improvements were made increasing the influent flow capabilities from 72 to 94 MGD. Those improvements included 14 MGD Equalization Basin for wet weather storage, new Bar Screens, de-gritting equipment, sludge pumps, UV Disinfection, and backup power generators.

Adams Field WWTP is a complete-mix activated sludge plant which is required by the State of Arkansas to reduce TSS and BOD pollutant loads by 88% and 80%, respectfully. A combination of physical and biological processes on average achieve in the mid ninety percentile reduction. Influent flow is screened to remove trash and larger particles and de-gritted (removing sand and gravel). Wastewater velocities are slowed through three primary and three secondary clarifiers in order to allow for settling and skimming of solid materials.

Flow to the activated sludge secondary process goes through six rectangular aeration tanks, where a biological microorganism population utilizes the incoming dissolved organic material in the wastewater as food. The biological organisms that settle out in the secondary (final) clarifiers are returned to the activated sludge aeration tanks to maintain a viable microorganism population, while some solids are wasted from the plant process daily via pumping through a five mile, force main to the Fourche Creek Treatment Plant for further processing.

The overflow from the secondary clarifiers then passes to the ultra-violet (UV) disinfection building where it is exposed to a pre-determined dosage to kill the bacteria remaining after treatment. Treated wastewater, meeting or exceeding all State and Federal requirements, is then discharged to the Arkansas River, causing no adverse effect on the river or public health.

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Little Rock Wastewater
11 Clearwater Dr. 
Little Rock, AR 72204

Phone: (501) 376-2903
Fax: (501) 688-1409