GERMANTOWN, Tenn. — When a citizen posted photos of a landscaper hooking up to water from a public fire hydrant in Germantown recently, it caused concern for some taxpayers.
WREG investigated whether that was allowed, and Germantown city officials emphatically told us it was not.
“It heralds back to old times when people used to try to get away with stealing a TV from their neighbor, electricity from their neighbors,” neighbor Dawn Langridge said.
City officials said it happens a few times every year, and they rely on watchful neighbors to report it.
In this case, they say they issued BrightView Landscapes a verbal warning.
We went to BrightView’s southeast Memphis office. A woman at the door asked us to wait for someone else, but when a man came out, he also wouldn’t answer.
“Is this something you guys do, ever?” WREG asked.
“I can’t even answer because you’re from the press,” he said, referring us to a media relations representative based in Pennsylvania.
Fred Jacobs with BrightView says his colleagues made a mistake.
He said they have a meter issued by Memphis Light Gas and Water for their hydrants, and they pay for what they use — but he says they do not have a Germantown meter.
“I don’t know that our folks knew they made a mistake,” Jacobs said.
He said we brought the violation to their attention, even though Germantown officials say they had issued a verbal warning.
“It’s probably not more than a couple hundred gallons,” Jacobs said. “I don’t have any idea what it is. We’ll gladly pay whatever it is.”
Germantown officials said they don’t care to be paid back. They’d rather the company stop stealing in the first place.
WREG also checked with MLGW, which says it has had cases of this happening as well.
Both utilities say they rely on tips from neighbors to catch people or companies who steal public water, so they ask you to keep an eye out.
► Have a problem you need solved? Call Problem Solver reporter Stacy Jacobson at 901-543-2334.