About Us


The Fort Smith Utility Department provides water reclamation services for the City of Fort Smith and drinking water services for the City and the Western Arkansas River Valley Region.  The Department is the largest in the City, employing over 300 staff.

Our Water Reclamation (Wastewater Treatment) programs are responsible for over 500 miles of wastewater collection lines, two treatment plants, 23 lift stations, and treating over 5.5 billion gallons of wastewater per year.

Our Drinking Water programs are responsible for over 700 miles of water transmission and distribution water mains, two treatment plants, 16 pump stations, 11 pressure reducing stations, 13 water storage tanks, and producing over 10.5 billion gallons of safe drinking water per year.

The Department also operates a State Certified Laboratory, monitors industries and foodservice establishments for environmental compliance, and monitors the drinking water supply and watersheds.  The Utility Department is currently under a federal Consent Decree and is working to meet the required challenges.

Utility Administration

Lance McAvoy

Lance McAvoy

Utility Director

Lance has been employed by the City of Fort Smith since 1996.  During his tenure, he has served as the Utility Department Chemist 1996 – 2012, Environmental Manager 2012 – 2015, and Deputy Director of Operations 2015 – 2019. Lance has been recognized several times by numerous state organizations for his water and wastewater industry achievements.  His extensive knowledge, experience, and leadership skills made him the perfect candidate to lead the Department, and he was promoted to Utility Director in 2019.

Lance’s recognition and achievements include awards for laboratory, safety, education, management, and service to the water and wastewater professionals in the State of Arkansas.

Lance currently serves on both the Wastewater License Committee and Drinking Water License Advisory Committee for both the Arkansas Division of Environmental Quality and Arkansas Department of Health.  He serves as an officer in the Arkansas Water Works and Water Environment Association. He has also served as an officer in the Arkansas Water Environment Association. He enjoys presenting papers and lectures and has done so at the local, state, regional, and national levels.

Before coming to Fort Smith, Lance worked in the private environmental consulting field. He supervised a laboratory and worked with clients to identify and address operational issues at their treatment facilities.

Lance earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Arkansas Tech University in 1991. He holds licenses in water treatment, water distribution, and wastewater treatment.  He has also served as adjunct faculty for the Arkansas Environmental Training Academy.

Joshua Robertson

Joshua Robertson

Deputy Director of Business Administration

Joshua has been with the City of Fort Smith since 2016.  During his tenure, he served as the Communications & Training Manager from 2016-2018 and then promoted to the Deputy Director of Business Administration.  This division includes Business Analytics, Logistics Support, Fleet Maintenance, Communications, Training & Safety, Customer Outreach, and Citizen Services.

Before coming to Fort Smith, Joshua worked in the private customer service and business process outsourcing field. He held positions in workforce management, project management, customer service, training, and client services.

Joshua earned a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Communications and holds certifications in Project Management and Customer Service.

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson

Deputy Director of Engineering

Jimmie began working for the City of Fort Smith directly out of college in 1990. He began his tenure as Engineer in Training and has worked many positions in the utility department, including Project Engineer, Senior Project Engineer, Superintendent of Maintenance, and Deputy Director of Systems. He became the Deputy Director of Engineering in January of 2021. This division includes Water Projects, Water Reclamation Projects, Construction Inspection, Backflow, and Cross-Connection.

Jimmie obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering. He also holds several water and wastewater certifications, including a Professional Engineering License, Class IV Water Distribution License, Class IV Water Treatment License, and Class III Wastewater License.

Rahul Thukral

Rahul Thukral

Deputy Director of Operations

Rahul joined the City of Fort Smith Water Utilities in late 2020 as the Deputy Director of Operations. The Operations Division manages several programs broadly classified into Treatment (Water / Water Reclamation), Environmental Quality, and Stationary Equipment.

Rahul has extensive private industry experience diversifying in manufacturing, engineering, energy, and analytics domains.

He obtained his MS in Industrial Engineering in TX, where he has been a registered Professional Engineer (Mechanical) since 2012. A certified Project Manager from PMI, he recently completed an Executive MBA from the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville.

Kenneth Hall

Kenneth Hall

Deputy Director of Systems

Kenneth joined the City of Fort Smith Water Utilities Department in February of 2023 as the Deputy Director of Systems. This division manages several programs broadly classified into Water Line Maintenance, Sewer Line Maintenance, Metering, and System Control.

Before coming to Fort Smith, Kenneth gained extensive experience from the ground up in water utilities operations. He’s held positions as Wastewater Plant Operator, Capital Improvement Projects Lead Plant Operator, Superintendent of Operations, Utility Manager, and Utility Director.

He holds an Association of Arts degree in Public Utility Management from the University of Maryland, along with almost 20 years of experience working with other water municipalities.

Mission, Vision, & Values

MISSION: We are a unified team committed to delivering reliable, high-quality drinking water and water reclamation services for the City of Fort Smith and the River Valley.

VISION: We will modernize our policies, processes, and procedures to meet current and future challenges in a proactive, transparent, and responsible manner and become an effectively managed utility.

VALUES: We recognize the importance of values that support and drive employee actions and behavior.  For that reason, we have adopted the following I CARE values:

I = Integrity

We honor our commitments and work to keep the trust of our customers.

C = Customer Service

We respond to and support the needs of our customers in a professional manner.

A = Accountability

We are accountable for our behaviors, actions, and decisions.

R = Respect

We give thoughtful consideration to each other’s differences and opinions.

E = Engagement

We are committed to the goals of the Department and of the City.

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