Fybe apologizes for water line breaks

Published 5:16 pm Friday, December 15, 2023

MURFREESBORO – Residents of Murfreesboro have had to endure interruptions to water service and several boil water advisories in recent weeks.

Those problems were caused by a subcontractor for Fybe that has been laying down infrastructure for fiberoptic cable throughout town. In the process, they have hit some of the town’s water lines.

Town Administrator Carolyn Brown told the News Herald that they estimate the company has been responsible for seven water leaks, two of which were main waterlines. For those large breaks, the town was temporarily cut off from service and a precautionary boil water advisory was issued until the water was tested to ensure it was free from contamination.

Earl Ezzell, a representative from Fybe, attended the Murfreesboro Town Council meeting on Dec. 13 to apologize for the disruption.

He explained that Murfreesboro, like many other towns, has water lines that are decades old and not always easy to find. Often, these towns have to rely on old maps to identify where the lines are.

“We have had a couple of hits that was negligence on my contractors not doing their due diligence,” Ezzell continued, noting that the protocol is to call the Public Works Department again if they still weren’t sure about where the lines were located.

Since hitting a line on Lakeview Drive last week, Ezzell said they had been doing those follow-up calls to minimize problems.

“We realize y’all are going to incur some costs on this stuff,” he added.

Those costs include overtime pay for the town’s Public Works staff who have repaired the line breaks, materials to fix the line breaks, and fees for the water testing. But there is not an estimate yet on the total expenses from these breaks and repairs.

“We’re going to cover those costs,” Ezzell stated. “The town of Murfreesboro will not see any significant costs for what’s going on.”

He also said they were going to “do our very best” as they complete the fiber installation.

Council member Jay Revelle asked how much of the project was already completed.

Ezzell estimated about 60 percent, but noted that the last parts of the project won’t require any digging. He did not give any time estimate on when the work would be fully finished.

Fybe is currently working throughout several parts of the local Roanoke-Chowan area to bring high-speed broadband internet through fiberoptic technology. Fybe, which was formerly known as Roanoke Connect, is a subsidiary of Roanoke Cooperative.

On the same day as the council meeting, Fybe subcontractors hit an 8-inch main line on South Drive. According to the town’s Facebook page, the break required replacement of about 18 feet of water lines. Because they had to turn off the water again for those repairs, another boil water advisory was issued.

“We thank all of our customers for being patient during this time, our Public Works employees and also surrounding towns Public Works employees that have jumped in to help get these inconvenient breaks fixed and service restored to our customers as quickly as possible,” the Facebook post also included.

Murfreesboro Police Chief David Griffith also extended his gratitude towards the Public Works staff in a post on the town’s Police Department Facebook page.

“In times of frustration like these, it’s important to appreciate the men and women who get us back up and running. They would rather be home with their families just as much as you want your water on. Let’s show them some respect and appreciation the next time you see one. I’m thankful for them,” stated Chief Griffith.