Interior leaks in closed buildings contributing to water problem

Published 1:46 pm Friday, February 19, 2021

With all of the ice on the ground and in the trees, it seems strange that water is a problem. But, it has become a major problem.

Beginning Wednesday evening, when the city’s water system began to lose pressure, city officials and crews have been searching for outages, fixing leaks and watching as the pressure slowly returns to normal.

Friday, city officials said leaks in the system, especially those in vacant homes and businesses closed since the winter storm first struck last Sunday, maybe among the biggest contributors to the water problems.

Public Works Director Garnet Van Norman said officials do not yet know how many of the city’s 9,000 customers are affected by the problem.

“We’ve been too busy chasing leaks,” he said.

Water and gas superintendent Dane Lovell said some of the buildings that have been unoccupied may have some leaks, “But I don’t know for sure, because I can’t get to them to check,” adding he has been able to cut off some fire suppression systems.

The city had a similar problem Thursday when the fire suppression systems at Vicksburg Forest Products off North Washington Street, Cooper Lighting on U.S. 61 South and the former Margaritaville Resort on Mulberry Street broke.

Lovell said city crews are continuing to look for broken and leaking waterlines in the city “one big one.”

He said water service is on at Washington Street, Cherry Street, Jackson Street and some other areas of the city. He said late Friday morning crews were repairing a leak on Belva Drive.

Fire Chief Craig Danczyk said three fire stations, Station 3 on Waltersville Drive, Station 5 at the Vicksburg Municipal Airport off U.S. 61 South and Station 2 on Indiana Avenue have water.

“It’s not 100 percent pressure but anyone who needs water can go to those stations to get water as long as they have it,” Danczyk said. “They will have to bring their own container and we can fill a 5- to-10-gallon container.”

Warren County Fire Coordinator Jerry Briggs said that while the Culkin Water District has pressure, officials are looking for leaks in the system.

Both the Fisher Ferry and Jeff Davis Water districts had water but had problems in the northern end of the districts which get water from Vicksburg, while the Hilldale Water District is in good shape.

Bradley Barnes, general manager of the Hilldale Water District, said all of his customers have water. He said power has been restored to the pumps providing water to the north side of the district, while the south side service is being powered by a generator.

Earlier Friday, firefighters with the Vicksburg Fire Department transported water to the Aeolian Apartments to allow those seniors who live in the downtown apartments to be able to flush toilets.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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