August 4, 2022

On Tuesday morning, August 2, 2022, the Lee Creek Water Treatment Plant experienced a mechanical issue and was partially shut down for maintenance.  The plant was still able to produce 5 million gallons per day by using a small backup system during the start of the maintenance.  Lake Fort Smith was able to increase water production to maintain the water supply to Fort Smith and our contract users.  This redundancy allows us to provide clean drinking water to the benefit of all users.

After the maintenance was completed, staff began the process of returning the plant to full water production, but another maintenance issue was found that required Lee Creek to be completely shut down to repair.  The repairs are projected to be complete by Monday, August 8, with full-water production restored on Friday, August 12.  Throughout this 10-day timeframe, there will be no compromise to public health or safety.  Staff has been working diligently to make the needed repairs.

Normally, this type of work and maintenance is only completed during the winter months when water demand is low.  Unfortunately, the repairs are the result of unforeseen maintenance issues and needed to be completed immediately.  Due to this, the City Administrator is issuing a Phase II emergency water conservation declaration, per Chapter 25, Article V, Section 25-140 of the Fort Smith City Code.  The requirements of the water conservation declaration are provided below.

The Lee Creek and Lake Fort Smith water treatment plants are inspected and maintained in accordance with the requirements set forth by the Arkansas Department of Health, USEPA, and best practices of the American Water Works Association.

Phase II water conservation includes measures from Phase I. To support the City’s conservation efforts, customers should take the following measures at this time:

  • No person shall use water to such an extent as to allow water to escape from his premises onto public property, such as alleys or streets, nor onto another person’s property.
  • Refrain from the following uses of water:
    • Watering lawns, shrubs, plants, trees, and gardens
      • The watering of shrubs, plants, trees, and gardens is permitted only by handheld hose and should be limited to the minimum amounts necessary to sustain plant life. All lawn and turf watering from City sources is prohibited.
    • Washing motor vehicles, trailers, airplanes, or boats
      • This does not apply to commercial car washes and licensed dealerships, but we ask they use as little water as possible.
    • Filling swimming pools or fountains
    • Washing building exteriors
  • The use of water from fire hydrants at any time for construction purposes, fire drills, or routine hydrant testing is prohibited. Only non-potable water may be used for dirt compaction, earth moving operations, or street base course construction.
  • Golf course watering and other commercial irrigation from City sources shall be done only to the extent necessary to preserve turf and other plant life. Golf courses are permitted to water only greens and tee boxes from City sources. Golf course fairway and rough watering and school football and baseball field watering from City sources is specifically prohibited.
  • The washing of sidewalks, walkways, driveways, patios, parking lots, concrete tennis courts, and other hard-surfaced areas by hosing or by use of water directly from faucets or other City sources is prohibited. Food processing and food service establishments may engage in such use of water only to the extent necessary to maintain and preserve public health and in compliance with any state or federal regulations. Restaurants and other food service establishments may hose or wash only walkways immediately adjacent to entrances and not beyond ten (10) feet of entrances and not beyond ten (10) feet of garbage facilities, food delivery, or food serving areas.