Water was restored last Monday morning to the residents of the Town of Petersburg, who lost water service for several hours because of what is believed to be an act of vandalism.

During the Town of Petersburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Tuesday, Mayor Logan Jolly said calls from residents came pouring in to him early that morning, with customers saying that they had lost most, if not all, their water pressure.

Logan was among those who lost pressure around 6:30 a.m. He then contacted Jack Atchley of the Petersburg Water System.  It seems that someone had turned off the electricity to the water reservoir, and it was completely drained, officials said.

“It was not an accident. They would have to pull the switch,” said Jolly. “If someone’s house had caught on fire, it would have burned down.”

High winds that morning increased concern that if a fire did start, other houses would likely catch fire. Jolly said water was pumped from Howell in order to restore service to local residents. Since then, a lock has been installed on the lever.

In related business, Petersburg Water System retained the state’s “Approved” category.  The State of Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Division of Water Resources, conducted a sanitary survey of the Petersburg Water System on Nov. 14.

“In accordance with the Sanitary Survey Manual, the Petersburg Water System earned 413 points out of a possible 421 points for a numerical score of 98-percent,” wrote Lane Smith, Columbia Environmental Field Office, Division of Water Resources, in a letter to Jolly.

The deficiencies noted include the system’s failure to collect a bacteriological sample from the tank following a ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) professional water tank inspection in October 2018.  For that, the system lost five points. Another three points were deducted due to not having flushing records for 2018 and 2019. The survey indicated that no flushing had been conducted in the water system since 2017.

Thomas Watson, water department operator, stated that the flushing was underway.

According to the report, the unaccounted water loss was approximately 21 percent over a one-year time period, though for the month of November it was at 17.5 percent.  Last month, the town had a major water main leak on Railroad Street. Fayetteville Public Utilities (FPU) repaired the leak.

What appeared to be another large water loss recently turned out to be malfunctioning water meter, officials said.

Petersburg Water System currently has a total of 407 connections, serving an estimated population of 929.

In other action, the board voted not to pursue an application for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) until 2020. Board members stated that they didn’t think the town would qualify for the grant because of low to moderate income criteria based incomes shown on a 2010 census. Jolly made note that the town received a $45,000 grant to investigate the water loss situation.

Comparison bids for voice over IP phone service from AT&T and Megawatt Communications, LLC, of Lewisburg were read, and board members voted to initiate IP phone service with Megawatt Communications, LLC, of Lewisburg, rather than continuing service with AT&T.

AT&T’s charges for 10M Ethernet service per month would amount to an estimated $658, not including extra charges for long distance, compared to approximately $503 a month from Megawatt Communications, not including equipment. Following a comparison of statements from AT&T, officials estimate they would save more than $1,800 per year with the service switch.

Additionally, the board voted to take sealed bids for a PPD Crown Victoria police car. A minimum bid will be set for the vehicle.

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