Petersburg went 5 years without testing some water in the city

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Petersburg residents are wondering why it took so long for the city to notify them that some of their water went untested for five years.

Residents received a letter notifying them that back in 2014 some areas of the city were supposed to have their water tested for copper and lead. That testing didn’t actually happen until 2016. That same letter says 30 samples were required by law to be collected back in 2014, but none were taken.

“It shouldn’t take three years to let us know that we’re not checking our water,” Petersburg resident Earl Thompson said.

The tests were done in 2016 — two years past the deadline. Before that, the last tests taken were in 2011.

“I think they should have let us know sooner,” E. Thompson’s wife, Thelma Thompson, added.

City Spokesperson Clay Hamner says the letters went out because the law requires residents be notified when testing isn’t done. But, Hamner says actually past administrations should have done the notification.

“Legally they had to do so,” Hamner said. “It was a requirement by the state that the citizens be notified.”

The tests that were finally done in 2016 found no contaminants.

Resident Barb Rudolph says she is suspicious over the timing of the letters with all the talk lately of privatization of the water system.

“People took it to be they are trying to say that the city is messed up and the inference that people would get from that would be the city’s not capable of doing this testing,” Rudolph said. “So maybe we should be privatizing or going with an outsourcing kind of an arrangement that would handle all this.”

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