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Fort Smith residents under emergency water conservation

Because of emergency repairs needed at Lee Creek Water Treatment Plant, Fort Smith residents must restrict their water usage.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — The City of Fort Smith announced that because of emergency maintenance to repair issues at the Lee Creek Water Treatment Plant, residents must now restrict water use

City officials say continued water usage could result in a mandatory boil order if water levels in Fort Smith storage tanks continue to drop

The city says water conservation is critical. Without conservation, areas that are served by Fort Smith are experiencing low water pressure or are not receiving water at all.  

On Friday, Aug. 5, city administrator Carl Geffken issued the following warning: "Water use by our contract users and city residents needs to be reduced more so we can maintain the water supply and pressure to all users." 

A mechanical issue was first found Tuesday morning, August 2, and the plant was shut down for repair. During the maintenance, Lee Creek was still able to produce water using a "small back-up system," while Lake Fort Smith increased its water production to continue providing clean drinking water to residents.

"After the maintenance was completed, staff began the process to return the plant to full water production, but another maintenance issue was found that required Lee Creek to be completely shut down to repair," the City of Fort Smith said in the announcement.

The maintenance needed to repair the second issue was fixed on Monday, Aug. 8 with the plant being back to full-water production on Friday, Aug. 12. On Monday, the city said that "the clearwell at Lee Creek is full and the plant is operational... Friday the 12th remains the target date for repealing the Phase II water conservation but that could change if conditions warrant it."

"Unfortunately, the repairs are the result of unforeseen maintenance issues and needed to be completed immediately."

The Fort Smith City Administrator issued a Phase II emergency water conservation declaration, with special requirements from residents and businesses to conserve water.

Phase II requires that nobody should " 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 (permitted only by handheld hose and should be limited to the minimum amounts necessary to sustain plant life.)
  • Washing motor vehicles, trailers, airplanes, or boats (does not apply to commercial car washes and licensed dealerships, but the city asks 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
  • 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 the 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.

LIST: Areas in Arkansas asked to conserve water

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