Commerce Water: What Happened, What's Next

Feb 23, 2021

Commerce City Manager Howdy Lisenbee appeared on KETR's North By Northeast on Tue. Feb. 23, the day after water service was restored following the historic winter storms of the previous week.

Water Production Overview

  • ¾ of water from Lake Tawakoni
  • ¼ of water from groundwater wells east of town
  • Large Pumps bring raw water into town for treatment

Water Treatment Overview

  • Stage 1: Clarification – add chemicals and allow time for sedimentation and minerals to settle out of the water
  • Stage 2: Filtration – push the settled water through large water filters
  • Stage 3: Disinfection – use a Chloramine (Chlorine & Ammonia) compound to kill any bacteria within the water
  • Stage 4: High Service Pump – large pumps to push water into the distribution system

Water Distribution Overview

  • All underground pipes AND water towers are connected as one large “virtual” bowl
  • Water enters the system and fills from the “bottom of the bowl” up to the top of the water towers.
  • We estimate approximately 4 Million gallons of water when the bowl is full.
  • System Pressure must provide for domestic and commercial water use PLUS fire protection.  The system MUST perform both functions.


What happened?

  • February 11th the storm impacts our community
  • February 15th we lose all power at the WTP
  • February 16th we lose system pressure
  • February 17th @ midnight we get power back
  • February 18th we begin limited water production (500K – 750K gallons)
  • February 19th increased water production (1.0 M gallons)
  • February 20th increased water production (1.6 M gallons)
  • February 21st a 100% increase in water production (2.6 M gallons)
  • February 22nd we restored system pressure

 What’s next?

  • Water samples today will be sent to lab
  • Boil Water Alert will be lifted IF we can get clean test results
  • Design of WTP improvements to restore production capacity
  • Acquire and install sufficient generator to future events.