PWA replacing meters, exploring options for water service

Published 2:19 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Board members of the Punkin Water Association are examining faulty meters, mapping pipes and exploring options for purchasing water from outside sources in response to a Public Service Commission hearing earlier this month.

According to the board, PWA engineer Mike Faulkner is currently working on mapping the pipes so faulty meters and leaks can be found, but a deadline on the completion of the maps is to be determined. The PSC has set an Aug. 1 deadline for the water association to provide a plan for responding to ongoing customer complaints and issues, including poor water quality and inadequate supply.

The PWA has contacted the Campground Water Association and discussed the possibility of CWA selling water to PWA, officials said. CWA already has a 10-inch connection to the City of Oxford that runs from Highway 30 in front of Northeast Power and comes down to Happy Valley Road.

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“We would have to install a pipe there all the way down to Old Oaks,” said Jason Butts, president of the Punkin Water Association board. “We already have a pipe there, but it’s only a three-inch pipe.”

The three-inch pipe is unable to accommodate for the volume of water coming through CWA’s installed pipes, so it would need to be replaced. In addition, a meter and a backflow preventer would have to be placed on the potential installation and a meter need to be placed on the CWA’s city connection.

“The plan would be to buy water from the city through [CWA] because they’re already connected to the city,” said Butts. “It would save us a very, very large volume of money between us doing USDA loan and connecting to the city out on Highway 6. This is not in stone, we have to get something set in stone.”

PWA Board of Directors member Tom Lincoln said a contractor under his supervision has been examining particular meters that are not functioning at their highest capacity.

“Meters are a big issue right now,” said Lincoln. “Of course we use the word ‘faulty,’ but we don’t always know if they are faulty or not. We are trying to prioritize the meters and determined whether they need to be replaced or whether there’s actually legitimate flow in the meters”

As of July 19, 40 meters were checked for function and nine were replaced. The goal is to have all the necessary meters replaced tentatively by Sept 1.

The PWA board will solidify more of their plans after a meeting with the public utility staff, the PWA engineer and Mississippi Rural Water Association on Wednesday.

The Public Service Commission has ordered the PWA board to come to a solution by Aug. 1 and to file the plan and post to the PWA website by Aug. 5.