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303 North Rosser
office (870) 633-2921
fax (870) 633-5921

Frequently Asked Questions

    Health Information

    Chemical Questions

    Household Facts

    Water Sources

    Frequently Asked Questions

When is my bill due and where and how can I pay it?

Bills are due on receipt and are considered past due after the due date listed on the bill. A 10% penalty for late payment is assessed after the due date and service is subject to disconnection 30 days after the bills are mailed. Payments can be made at our office, located at 601 S. 2nd St., south of downtown Forrest City. Automatic Bank Draft, by telephone, on our website, or by mail. We have a drive through service and night deposit box. We accept VISA, MasterCard, and Discover.  [Return]

Can I have a payment extension?

If a customer does not have sufficient funds to pay the bill in full, Forrest City Water Utilities may offer an extension. If you need a payment extension you will need to call the office. RWU will evaluate the situation and if you receive an extension you will need to make payment by the extended date. If timely payment is not made, the service is subject to disconnect. Please call a customer service representative on receipt of the shut-off notice to review your account to see if a payment arrangement will help in your situation.  [Return]

What do I do if I have a question regarding my bill?

Call The Main Office at (870) 633-2921. Our office hours are Monday-Friday 8am - 5pm.  [Return]

How do I avoid a sewer stoppage?

To help avoid sewer stoppages, please DO NOT flush the following items down your toilet or drains: Grease, Contraceptives, Feminine Hygiene Products, Clothing- socks, underwear, etc, Toys, Jewelry, or other objects, Diapers or baby / toilet wipes, ‘Swiffer’ or any cleaning rags. Any, or all, of these items may stop or damage the lift station pumps or other equipment.  [Return]

If I have a sewer stoppage what should I do?

Call the sewer department @633-1571 before you call another service professional. RWU will determine if the cause of the stoppage is on the private system or the sewer main.  [Return]

Can I get a credit on my water bill for filling my swimming pool?

One time a year we will give you credit for sewer charge for the water used to fill your swimming pool. Call the office at 633-2921 to receive this credit.  [Return]

What should I do if I think I have a leak?

Any leak between the meter and your house is your responsibility. You may need a plumber to help you. When it is fixed call us for a possible credit on your sewer bill.  [Return]

Where do I call for water and sewer main locates?

Call the Water Distribution Office at 633-1751.  [Return]

Do we have fluoride in the water?

Yes. Questions regarding fluoride should be directed to Water Treatment at 870-633-1366  [Return]

What is our water pressure normally?

Pressures vary throughout our service area. Call the office for the pressure at your home or business.  [Return]

What would it cost me to get an irrigation meter?

You will need to come into the office and we will be happy to determine the cost.  [Return]

Is there a charge to transfer my service?

Yes, $10.00 inside the city limits and $15.00 outside the city limits, to be billed on the first bill at the new location.  [Return]

Where does our water come from?

It is pumped for a natural occurring underground aquifer called The Mississippi River Valley alluvial aquifer, often termed simply the “alluvial aquifer,” is a water-bearing assemblage of gravels and sands that underlies about 32,000 square miles of Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. In Arkansas,
the alluvial aquifer occurs in an area generally 50 to 125 miles wide by about 250 miles long adjacent to the Mississippi River. The alluvial aquifer is the uppermost aquifer in this area. Water derived from the alluvial aquifer is primarily used for irrigation of rice and other agricultural crops, and for fish farming.  [Return]

How do I obtain a water or sewer tap?

Visit our office or call 633-2921.  [Return]

    Health Information

Is my water safe to drink?

YES,  Our water meets all the health requirements set forth by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. The quality of the water is monitored continuously at the treatment plant and in the distribution system. However, isolated water quality impairments do occur, so if you do experience a change in the quality of water, notify Forrest City Water Utilities at 633-2921 at once.  [Return]

What is the definition of "safe water"?

Water that is safe to drink contains no impurities that would cause a person who drinks the water to become ill. Safe water contains no pathogenic organisms or other contaminants in concentrations that would render the water non-potable.  [Return]

You hear a lot about tap water being unsafe, or that tap water is getting worse. Water suppliers say that the water is safe to drink. Who is right?

We all want the same thing: safe drinking water. Water quality standards are becoming stricter as scientists research the health effects of certain materials commonly found in drinking water. The media has helped the general public become more aware of water quality issues, and the public is demanding more information. Once per year, Forrest City Water Utilities mails a Consumer Confidence Report which details the analysis performed on water from the Forrest City Water Utilities system.  [Return]

If my water is safe, why are scientists and engineers doing more and more and more research, and why is the government considering more and stricter regulations?

Even though our water is safe to drink for most people, it is not entirely risk free. Producing risk free water would make water too expensive. Government sets regulations that have an acceptable risk (very small). Every one wants to lower this risk even further, without adding a lot of costs. Also, researchers are looking for any new potential problems that might be uncovered.  [Return]

Can I tell if my water is safe to drink by looking at it, smelling it, or tasting it?

No. None of the chemicals or microbes commonly found in water can be detected by these methods.  [Return]

How can I tell if my water is safe to drink?

If you are on your own private well, you can have the water analyzed for impurities by a private laboratory, or you can call the St. Francis County Health Unit to see what help might be available there. You should take that analysis to the Health Department for an interpretation. If you are connected to a public water supply, you can call the provider or the Arkansas Health and Human Services Department at 501-661-2623 for information about water quality. When moving to a new area, this is something you should check out first.  [Return]

What is a boil water order about?

When a water system loses pressure due to a break or rupture in a water line, often the water company will isolate the break with valves, in order to repair the line. When this happens, Forrest City Water Utilities will issue a boil water order to affected customers as a precaution against the possible entrance of contaminants into the system. Once the break is fixed and pressure is restored, the water company will flush the affected system and take samples to the health department for testing. If the samples show no coliform contamination for two consecutive days, then the boil water order is lifted. Residents are notified through "door hangers" or the media. Be sure to boil water used for drinking or cooking for at least five minutes. Also, discard your ice cubes in your icemaker.  [Return]

Is my drinking water completely free of microorganisms?

No. The water has been disinfected with chlorine gas to kill all the pathogenic organisms (germs). Most microbes are harmless.  [Return]

What are coliforms, and what is going on?

Coliform bacteria are generally harmless bacteria that are found in the gut of warm-blooded animals and aid in digestion. The presence of coliform bacteria indicates that the water may be unsafe to drink, because pathogenic bacteria are also found in the intestines of animals and humans. This is why coliforms are called indicator organisms. The presence or absence of coliforms in a water sample indicates whether or not the water is safe to drink.  [Return]

Can the AIDS virus be transferred through the drinking water?

There is no evidence to suggest that this is possible. People don’t get AIDS through ingestion of the virus, only through intimate contact with the blood. Also, chlorine or other disinfectants kill most viruses in the water.  [Return]

What is Cryptosporidium?

Cryptosporidium is a parasitic protozoan that can live in the intestine of humans and animals. Outside the host body, the protozoan becomes a cyst, very much like a seed, with a tough outer coating that is resistant to disinfection. Once swallowed, the protozoan emerges from the cysts, multiplies, and may cause the disease cryptosporidiosis. In people with normal immune systems, this disease causes diarrhea and cramping for up to two weeks. Persons with compromised immune systems, such as people with AIDS or very young children, are at risk from this disease. Cryptosporidium is not present in all source water. Filtration and disinfection remove the vast majority of cysts. Outbreaks of Cryptosporidium from drinking water are rare. If you think you are infected, you should see a doctor. Also, drinking water is not the only vector for this disease.  [Return]

Will home treatment device protect me from cryptosporidium?

Some will, others won’t. Boiling the water briskly for a couple of minutes will always work.  [Return]

If I am traveling in an area where the tap water is unsafe, what can I take with me to purify the water?

Some portable mechanical filters are available that purport to produce safe drinking water a glass at a time. The best policy is not to drink tap water when the quality is questionable. Insist on bottled water when traveling in foreign countries. Avoid ice cubes, gelatin, or salads. Water purification tablets will disinfect the water; however, they are useless against Cryptosporidium or Giardia cysts.  [Return]

    Chemical Questions

Are all chemicals in my drinking water bad for me?

No. Some chemicals, such as fluoride are good for you. Others may be beneficial, or of no effect. Water is a chemical compound of hydrogen and oxygen. We depend on chemicals in food to keep us alive. Drinking water contains no calories, caffeine, fat, sugar, or cholesterol.  [Return]

Is it safe for a backpacker or a camper to drink water from a remote mountain stream?

No. While these sorts of stream appeal to our eyes, they may contain protozoans that may cause illness, such as Cryptosporidium or Giardia, which cause cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis, respectively. Backpackers should carry a filtration unit and disinfection tablets to treat water collected in the wild for drinking purposes. Of course, boiling the water vigorously for a few minutes will also make the water safe to drink.  [Return]

Are chemicals that are found in water naturally (not because of pollution) safe to drink.

Not necessarily. Some chemicals that may be found in water naturally may be harmful, such as selenium, arsenic, and radon. Some harmless chemicals in water react with other chemicals and form harmful compounds. The U.S. EPA requires public water purveyors to test for 78 different chemicals, and that list is expected to grow. If you want a current analysis of Forrest City water, please call the office at 870-633-2921 or write to: Forrest City Water Utilities, PO Box, 816, Forrest City, AR, 72336   [Return]

I read that organic chemicals are dangerous. What are they, and why doesn’t the water company remove them from the water?

Organic chemicals contain carbon and hydrogen atoms linked together. Sugar is a common organic chemical, so not all organic chemicals are bad for you. Some, like gasoline, diesel fuel, and solvents, are carcinogens, that is, they may cause cancer. Conventional water treatment plants do not remove dissolved chemicals from the water, only particulate matter, such as bacteria and cysts.  [Return]

I heard that nitrate was bad for babies and pesticides are bad for every one. How do these get in the water supply?

The EPA has set a maximum contaminant level for nitrates, since a high dose of nitrates has been linked with a rare blood disorder in infants called "blue baby syndrome", because the baby’s skin will have a bluish cast. Pesticides are organic chemicals that farmers use against insects. Private wells are the chief source of water contaminated with these chemicals. Nitrates may come from fertilizers or from human or animal wastes, such as feedlots or septic tanks. Anything applied to the land may well wind up in the ground water, as rain percolates downward to the water table.  [Return]

Do hazardous wastes contaminate our drinking water?

Possibly. Runoff from hazardous waste disposal sites may contaminate the water. Leaking underground storage tanks may cause contamination of the ground water. This is why the government has such strict regulations for storage tanks and liners for toxic waste dumps.  [Return]

How does lead get into the drinking water?

Not all drinking water contains lead. When household plumbing contains lead solder, and the water is in contact with the solder for long periods (like overnight), there may be some lead that does dissolve and enter the water. Very hard water tends to form a scale on the walls of the pipes, and seals the solder. Lead solder has been outlawed since 1986. Testing in Forrest City has not detected any lead or copper in the system above action levels set by EPA.  [Return]

How do I get lead out of my drinking water?

Not all homes have a lead problem, but if testing indicates you have one, or, if you have rusty water or water leaves a blue stain in your sink, you may want to take precautions to protect yourself and your family. The best way is to flush the faucet or hydrant you will be drinking from for a few minutes before using the water for drinking. The time needed will vary from house to house; typically, you want "fresh" water from the public main line.  [Return]

Is the fluoride in my water safe?

Yes. Naturally occurring or added by the supplier, fluoride had been shown to greatly improve the dental health of the consumers. Fluoride and chlorine in the water make it unsuitable for kidney dialysis machines, however.  [Return]

Is the chlorine in the water safe?

Yes. The amount of chlorine typically used by water purveyors is safe. Some people do not like the taste, however. When chlorine reacts with some naturally occurring chemicals in the water, disinfection byproducts are formed, which may cause cancer. EPA has established a maximum contaminant level for trihalomethanes, which is a group of disinfection byproducts. Forrest City’ water is under this level.  [Return]

Should I be concerned about the chlorine in the water I use for bathing?

No. Chlorine can’t be absorbed through the skin, and the amount of chlorine is too small to harm the skin itself.  [Return]

I heard aluminum is used to treat water. Does this cause Alzheimer’s disease?

Most surface water treatment plants use alum or aluminum sulfate as a coagulant aid. This causes the small particles of dirt to become larger and heavier floc, which will settle out and be removed. Thus, very little, if any, aluminum stays in the water. Aluminum is present in large concentrations in foods such as tea. There is very little evidence to indicate that aluminum in drinking water is harmful. The EPA does not regulate aluminum.  [Return]

What is radon and is it harmful in drinking water?

Radon is a radioactive gas found in some groundwater supplies. Radon is formed by the natural decay of radium and uranium. Scientists believe that long term exposure to radon causes cancer. Most exposure to radon comes from the ground underneath the residence through the air and into the lungs. EPA will set standards for radon in drinking water early in the next century. If you suspect radon in your home, call the local health department. Test kits are available.  [Return]

Why does my water taste or smell funny?

Taste is very subjective, but most taste and odor problems are associated with algae or fungi present in the water supply. Chlorine, added to the water to kill germs, may react with organic chemicals and cause a bad taste. An earthy smell or taste is caused by the presence of Actinomycetes (a harmless fungus) in the raw water supply. A rotten egg odor (caused by the presence of hydrogen sulfide) may be present in a well supply. In small amounts these things are harmless. Point of use water treatment devices may help the situation some. If you have a water quality problem, call your water purveyor right away.  [Return]

What can I do if my drinking water tastes funny?

You could store some water in a glass container in the refrigerator. Aerate the water with a blender or mixer. Boil it, then refrigerate it. Add a little lemon juice to drinking water.  [Return]

My well water is reddish brown. Is it safe to drink?

The chemicals in the water that cause it to be colored are non-toxic, but not completely harmless. Iron is the culprit usually, and can cause stains and discolorations of clothing and fixtures. The iron is coming from the well water, or the pipes, or the hot water heater. Water softeners can help with this problem. Letting the water run usually lets it clear up.  [Return]

My water is black. What causes this, and is it harmful?

A metal called manganese, which occurs naturally in water, is colorless and harmless. When combined with chlorine, it becomes black. If you have manganese, you may want to install a filter or other point of use water treatment system.  [Return]

    Household Facts

Should I install a home water treatment system?

This is a personal decision. If you are connected to a public water supply, your water already meets federal safety requirements. Some people don't like the taste of their water and might consider installing a point-of-use (POU) system. However, these systems require maintenance and could cause problems for you. Some types of POU's are: Particulate filters - these remove most of the rust and manganese particles. Absorption filters - commonly called charcoal or activated charcoal, these are not filters at all. The charcoal attracts organic chemicals and binds them. Oxidation / filtration systems - these will help with iron and rotten egg odors. Water softening/ion exchange - Exchange ions that cause hardness for some that don't. Reverse osmosis - remove nitrates, metals, and hardness ions. Produces small quantities of water. Distillation units - boil the water and condense the steam. Remove inorganic and organic chemicals, fluoride, etc. Takes a lot of energy to produce a little water.  [Return]

What is hard water?

Hard water is caused by the presence of two naturally occurring elements: calcium and magnesium. Hard water makes it "hard", or difficult to make a lather with soap. Soft water indicates the relative absence of hardness, and is easy to make a lather. The hardness of Forrest City' water is about 300 milligrams per liter, which is termed "Very hard".  [Return]

Should I install a water softener in my home?

If you are bothered by gummy, curd-like deposits in your bathtub, or a hard, white scale on your cooking utensils, a water softener might be right for you. Only buy from reputable dealers that will keep your equipment serviced for you.  [Return]

Why do my ice cubes give off white stuff when they melt in my glass?

Inorganic chemicals such as those that cause hardness may precipitate (form a solid, and settle out) as ice melts. This is not toxic.  [Return]

Should I buy bottled water?

This is a personal decision. Remember that public water systems are under closer scrutiny by the government than water bottlers are. Also, bottled water may cost as much as 1000 times as much as water from your local water purveyor. Check the label carefully. Some of the meaningful terms are: Artesian - water that came from an aquifer that is overlain with rock stratum that is not an aquifer, causing the water to rise in the well. Groundwater - water from an aquifer not under the influence of surface water. Aquifer: Water yielding rock formations or strata. Mineral water - Water having not less than 250 milligrams per liter total dissolved solids, originating from a well. Purified or dematerialized - Water that has undergone some treatment to remove contaminants. Sparking water - carbonation added. Spring water - surface water emanating directly from a groundwater source.  [Return]

Is bottled water safe to store?

No. Bottled water, like any food, has a shelf life, especially since most bottled water has no or very little chlorine. If you are storing water for an emergency, it’s best to use cold tap water in clean, plastic bottles. This water should be changed out frequently, since chlorine will dissipate slowly, and microbes will grow.  [Return]

What is the average water consumption per day per individual?

This number varies greatly due to factors such as irrigation. It has been estimated that a person will use 50 gallons of water per day for eating and bathing. In the United States, the average water consumption per capita is about 180 gallons, which includes all agricultural and industrial uses. If your metered water consumption rises unexpectedly, you may have a leak. In Forrest City, the average per household consumption is about 5000 gallons per month.  [Return]

Where does the water go when it goes down the drain?

If you are on the sewer system, the water and all the waste carried in it becomes wastewater, and travels down pipes in the collection system, to be treated and discharged. If you are on a septic tank, wastewater goes into a septic tank, then into a leach field, and then into the groundwater, or, it may be drawn into the root system of plants and discharged into the atmosphere through transpiration. Water is used over and over again and circulates through the hydrologic cycle.  [Return]

What can I pour safely down the drain or into the toilet?

Before you buy, think environmentally friendly. Buy environmentally friendly products whenever possible. When you do buy chemicals, buy just enough. Check with the local sanitation department about reuse or recycle centers. Read the label for acceptable means of disposal. The best practice is to not put anything down the sink or toilet. If you are on a septic system, don’t put anything down the drain that will not decompose easily. Minimize water usage.  [Return]

What is the cost of water I use in my home?

That depends on who your water purveyor is, but, in the U. S., the average cost of water is about $2 per thousand gallons or $1.75 per 100 cubic feet. Contact your water purveyor for a list of water and sewer rates. Click here to see what Forrest City Water Utilities charges.  [Return]

Why do hot water tanks fail?

The natural properties of water make holes in the metal walls of a water tank. Eventually, the holes will rust through the wall of the tank, causing it to leak and fail. Some areas are served by hard water, which causes a hard scale to form around the heating units, causing them to burn out. Forrest City water is very hard, which means that it tends to cause scaling. This whitish deposit is called lime, or calcium carbonate.  [Return]

How should I fill my fish aquarium?

First, let a gallon or so of water run down the drain, in case there might be some residual copper or zinc from your household plumbing. This water could be saved for watering plants, as a conservation measure. Next, fill the aquarium to the desired level, making sure the water falls at least three feet into the tank. This adds oxygen to the water. Let the water reach room temperature before adding fish. Also, you may want to consult your pet shop about removing chlorine from the water.  [Return]

How does the water department know how much water I use?

All services in Forrest City are metered; that is, there is a water meter in the line from the water main in the street or easement to your house. All water going to your home passes through this meter. The meter is located in a box in the ground with an iron lid. There might be two meters in the box. If you want to read your own meter, contact Forrest City Water Utilities to find out your meter number, and other details on how to read your own meter.  [Return]

How do I know my meter is accurately reading my water consumption?

Forrest City Water Utilities has a program to regularly check the meters in the system for accuracy. If you have a sudden change in your consumption for no apparent reason (out of town, houseguests, watering the lawn or garden) contact FCWU. We are only human and sometimes we make mistakes. Usually, when a meter fails, it begins to run slower, not faster.  [Return]

In the home, what uses the most water?

Toilet flushing is the biggest single use in the home. Most toilets use between 4 and 6 gallons per flush. Not counting lawn watering, the next largest use is the bathtub or shower. Very little is used for drinking (about 3 percent).  [Return]

Can I put a brick in my toilet tank to conserve water?

Yes, it is possible to save on water consumption by displacing some of the water used for flushing. Since bricks can crumble and damage the flushing mechanism, it’s probably a better idea to use a plastic or glass container. Experiment to see if the remaining volume of water will adequately flush water down the toilet.  [Return]

How can I save water and save on my water bill?

Practice water conservation in your home! Get everyone in your household educated on how to conserve water. Get in the habit of conserving water. The EPA has more information on conservation available at EPA's How to Conserve Water page.   [Return]

    Water Sources

Where does my water come from?

If you are on Forrest City Water Utility service, your drinking water comes from the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer in Arkansas. If not, call your water purveyor to get more details.  [Return]

How much water is used in America each day?

There is about 37 billion gallons of tap water produced daily. Agriculture is the biggest user of water, using about 200 billion gallons every day. Industrial water usage is estimated at 160 billion gallons per day.  [Return]

Are we running out of water?

The amount of water on the globe is constant. Periodic, localized shortages of water do occur. These are called droughts. Eastern Arkansas is blessed with a plentiful supply in underground aquifers. This precious resource must be protected! To learn how you can help, call the office, or come by, today.  [Return]

How does nature recycle water?

The earth constantly recycles water through the hydrologic cycle. Water in streams and rivers, which contain contaminants and pollutants, is warmed by the sun, causing an increase in evaporation. Water lost through the leaves of green plants is call transpiration. The gaseous water raises, and is cooled in the atmosphere, making clouds. When conditions are right, the water falls to the Earth as rain, refilling the streams, lake, oceans, and aquifers. The processes of evaporation and transpiration purify the water. In lakes and streams, algae and microbes eat certain contaminants, removing the pollutants from water.  [Return]