PETERSBURG, Va. – The City of Petersburg say they are dealing with around 15 water main breaks and at least 100 water meter leaks as temperatures continue to drop this winter.
The problems have been caused by a combination of cold weather and old water lines that date from the late 1800s to the 1940s, according to officials.
Making repairs that much more difficult, the city only has two crews to do the repairs, one from the city and one from an outside contractor.
Not only are the water main breaks affecting city residents, they are also affecting local business owners like Enza Crapa, owner of Maria's Old Town Restaurant.
"It's hurting us, really bad." she admitted.
For those businesses near a break being repaired, it can be days before the street can re-open.
"People don't know we're open, there's no detour signs," said Crapa.
"They said well we still don't know when all this is going to be done and so I said, ‘what do we do as businesses’ and they said it’s up to you."
So far, this winter the cold weather is taking a toll on the aging infrastructure in the city.
"Those two factors together have led to the situation we're dealing with right now with the water line leaks," said Petersburg Deputy City Manager March Altman.
More than a dozen water lines need repair and Altman added to that there are “maybe 100 or more water meter leaks."
As more leaks are reported, repairs can only go so fast with limited city resources.
"We currently have one city crew, which consists of four individuals,” said Altman. “We've called in our contractor whose helping us, he has a crew in the city, so we have two crews working these leaks."
Some who live and work in the city would like to see the utility system sold to a private company.
"Our system is so antiquated and dilapidated that we need to really think about selling our water system to a company that is equipped to not only repair but maintain our lines," said local business owner Kimberly Calos.
That is a decision that Petersburg City Council would have to make and one which has to be weighed carefully said Altman.
"We have to weigh not only the benefit of receiving the cash up front for the sale of the system, but we also have to weigh what that cost is going to be to our residents over time as we look at that rate base," he added.