The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Starkville Utilities are winter’s unsung heroes

Jayce Freeman
Winter weather conditions led MSU to operate remotely for the first two days of class.

Mississippi State University announced on Jan. 15 that the campus would operate remotely due to an upcoming weather storm.

To ensure the safety of their students, the MSU website advised “staying inside as much as is practical,” while sticking to online classes until conditions improved. However, university students were not the only ones in Starkville who were affected by the cold front.

All over town, businesses were shut down, roads were closed due to ice and people were advised to stay safe and warm. However, the brutal cold made it difficult for many Starkville residents to do either of the two.

Picture yourself trapped inside your house for over three days with no water, electricity or heat to protect yourself from the freezing temperatures ranging from thirty-three to seven degrees Fahrenheit.

This was the potential danger that Starkville residents faced over the last week as the intense cold left power lines, generators and exposed water pipes vulnerable to freezing and breaking.

Luckily, one group of people was prepared to handle the weather and aid local residents as much as possible. A group of people that we often depend on, but who never receive the credit they deserve for their services: Starkville Utilities.

The Starkville Utilities website provides advice on how affected residents could deal with the weather on their own, from covering “exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping to protect them from the cold,” to letting “water trickle from a faucet served by exposed pipes” to prevent the water inside from freezing.

The website also advises customers to locate where their houses’ water shut-off valves were located in case their pipes did freeze, as well as to learn how to shut off their water in case they need to do so.

Edward Kemp, the general manager of Starkville Utilities, summarized the challenges that were faced during the week, and how he and his fellow employees dealt with the issues.

“On the water side, we protected a lot of our exposed machinery and equipment and assets related to our water production or pumps or wells,” Kemp said. “A lot of those are in secured houses already, but those that were outside were provided some additional protection.”

Additionally, Starkville Utilities had protective measures in place to prevent any potential problems with the sewer systems in town. They also kept vehicles on standby should the need arise to remove downed trees and power lines.

However, there was one condition that proved to be a challenge for restoring electricity: the roads.

“We didn’t anticipate the roads being as slick as they were,” Kemp said. “Luckily, there wasn’t a significant number of calls. There wasn’t a lot of crew deployment, but if there had been a lot of ice on power lines we would have to deploy most of our vehicles.”

Kemp concluded by stating that he believed Starkville Utilities did a pretty good job at helping people through the difficult conditions we weathered through. Judging from the lack of massive power and water loss, the evidence is in clear support of his claim.

Their jobs may not seem as glamorous as stopping criminals or putting out fires, but the heroes of Starkville Utilities dedicate themselves to providing aid and protection to those who need it, and it is important that they are recognized for doing so.

About the Contributor
Michael Cassidy
Michael Cassidy, Staff Writer
Michael Cassidy is a senior communication major. Michael is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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  • R

    Rita ChriswellJan 24, 2024 at 8:30 am

    They are First Responders!!!!!!!!!!!!