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Cleanup begins at Little Maumelle River | Environment

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Cleanup begins at Little Maumelle River
Environment, News
Cleanup begins at Little Maumelle River

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – Debris at Little Maumelle River from a flood over three years ago is finally getting cleaned up. A house boat was washed into the river and became lodged in the water near Two Rivers Bridge.

"Since that time, there had been a lot of discussion on who has the authority to move it and who is going to find the money to remove it," said John Thurston, Commissioner of State Lands.

It's been an eyesore for visitors, but vague laws left several state agencies wondering who was going to tackle the project. Thurston said the job ultimately came down to his office.

"The Commissioner of State Lands already had the authority of the river bed but the particular laws wasn't- they weren't very clear on how to deal with situations like this," he said.

During last year's legislative session, lawmakers outlined how COSL should handle structures lodged in state waterways. Buildup around the boat has only increased over time, which means the cost to take it apart has also increased.

"We're looking at between $30,000 and $35,000 to remove this," Thurston said.

Some of that cost will be footed by the house boat's owner, Kenneth Walton.

"The house boat has been there to where it's deteriorating," said Terry Hart, manager of Hart, Diving and Salvage. "It was probably deteriorating when it landed there."

Part of why it took so long to start the cleanup was that the commissioner's office had to search for a company that could do the job. Missouri-based Hart, Diving and Salvage was hired to bring the house boat ashore.

"We're trying to make the job site safe," Hart said. "We found a few wasps, which was expected. Then we'll go back and with lift bags we're going to attempt to get it off the bottom of the river. Bring it over here in one piece."

Haston Recycling has been hired to sort through the debris and look for anything that can be recycled.

Environment, News