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Westminster reservoir rapidly loses water due to stuck valve

Posted at 6:47 PM, Nov 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-08 16:23:23-05

UPDATE | Nov. 8 — A spokesperson for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife told Denver7 it was informed that efforts by the City of Westminster to fully stop the valve leak at Ketner Reservoir Tuesday appear to have been successful, meaning a salvage of the fish in the reservoir by CPW is not necessary. 

CPW continues to be "in touch with the city in case anything changes," the spokesperson said.


A reservoir in a Westminster neighborhood continues to lose water due to a valve that has been stuck open for days. Ketner Reservoir, which serves as a retention pond, has already lost a great deal of its water leading to concerns from neighbors for the nearby fish and wildlife.

Becky Allison, who lives near the reservoir, said she noticed that something was wrong when she saw water rushing out into the nearby Big Dry Creek on Halloween afternoon. Allison took pictures, and reported the problem to a nearby fire station, she said.

"I walk a trail to get up here to walk around the reservoir, and noticed Halloween day at four o'clock-ish, there was a river going. I couldn't cross the trail," Allison said. "I had never seen that much water. I mean, it was incredible."

It didn't take long for the rest of the neighborhood to take notice, and to start demanding answers from the city as to what was happening and what would be done in response. They learned that a valve on the east side of the reservoir had become stuck open, allowing much of the water to flow out into the Big Dry Creek.

Ketner Reservoir does not impact Westminster's drinking water supply, a city spokesperson confirmed, adding that there is no risk to nearby homes. Several residents have reached out to Denver7 with concerns, however, for the fish and animals that live in and around it.

"There's a lot of animals that make [themselves] home," Becky Allison said. "There's a bird reserve to the west of here. There's a lot of animal life here and we're very concerned."

An infrastructure expert worked with the city last week to try to plug the valve but was only able to partially stop the leak according to a statement from the city of Westminster. Another attempt is planned for Tuesday. If crews are not able to fully stop the leak, a further draining of the reservoir may be required to fully replace the valve. A spokesperson for the city said it is working with the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife and will follow its "guidance on preserving marine life," given the importance of the reservoir to the community.

The Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife told Denver7 its officers have been monitoring the reservoir, and have not yet seen a substantial impact to wildlife from the leak. However, further draining of the reservoir could change that, a spokesperson said.

"We are discussing preventative measures if the planned valve repairs aren't successful Tuesday," spokesperson Kara Van Hoose said.

Margaret Nickell, whose home backs to Ketner Reservoir, has watched the water level continue to drop from her backyard. She and her husband recently added a deck to their home to enjoy the view of the reservoir, she said, adding to her frustration to see the issue continue.

"To think about this neighborhood staple, that we've had for decades—and ever since we moved here—being completely gone is pretty devastating," Nickell said.

Westminster reservoir rapidly loses water due to stuck valve