By Ray King

The Public Works Committee of the Pine Bluff City Council decided Wednesday to ask Mayor Shirley Washington to hire an independent engineer to research the city’s infrastructure following multiple water leaks and low water pressure, and the failure of Liberty Utilities to correct some of the problems.

The committee, chaired by Council member Ivan Whitfield and including Council members Steven Mays and Joni Alexander, met by Zoom and heard Whitfield talk about finding a water leak near 21st Avenue and State Street Sunday after receiving a phone call about the leak, near property he owned.

Whitfield said when he arrived, he found water bubbling out of the street and contacted both Liberty Utilities, and Ken Johnson, who heads Pine Bluff Wastewater Utility. He said Johnson’s crew got there first, followed by a representative of Liberty Utilities.

Whitfield first told the story when he was interviewed by Deltaplex Radio Wednesday morning then repeated it during the committee meeting.

Alexander said she thinks the issues with water leaks contributed to street problems and pot holes and Street Department Manager Rick Rhoden has said in the past that city crews fill potholes and have to go back a few days or weeks later to do it again because the fill washed out of the hole.

In the interview Wednesday, Whitfield addressed that.