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State orders Petersburg to restore water to nearly 50 homes

May 11, 2020 GMT

PETERSBURG, Va. (AP) — Health officials in Virginia have ordered the city of Petersburg to restore running water to nearly 50 homes through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Sunday’s order stems from concerns that a lack of water endangers people’s health.

State Health Commissioner Norman Oliver said in a letter to Petersburg City Manager Aretha Ferrell-Benavides that “access to running water helps improve hygiene” and “ensures persons can easily and routinely wash their hands and clothes.”

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City spokeswoman Folakemi Osoba told the newspaper that Petersburg plans to have an update this week on how it will respond to the state’s order.

On Wednesday, Osoba said that the city would contact the 46 homes that lack water and work with residents on a case-by-case basis to determine a payment plan.

The city is owed about $3.25 million in back fees for water service. Collections have been a consistent challenge for the city.