WEST MILFORD, W.Va. (WBOY) — A man has been charged after allegedly causing an entire town’s water supply to be shut off in Harrison County.

Michael Lowther

On Dec. 27, deputies with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department responded to a residence on Pinchelone Lane in West Milford in reference to a disturbance call, according to a criminal complaint.

When deputies arrived, they spoke with the West Milford director of public works who stated that he “had received a call about a potential water leak at that location,” and when he arrived, he “observed water flowing from the meter pit and immediately began efforts to resolve the problem,” deputies said.

While the director attempted to fix the meter, Michael Lowther, 42, of West Milford, exited the residence “and advised that there had been a water leak inside the residence,” and that “he couldn’t stop the water leak” … “so he procured a spud bar” … “opened the meter well and destroyed the meter, setters and service lines on both side of the meter,” according to the complaint.

At that point, the public works director advised Lowther “he would be calling the authorities” and Lowther “became belligerent,” deputies said.

Due to “the uncontrolled leak at the meter pit” … “it was necessary to turn off the entire town’s water supply in the master valve as well as at the tower to prevent it from complete depletion due to the time the water had been running from the uncontrolled leak at the meter pit,” according to the complaint.

As a result of the incident, “the entire town of West Milford and its residents were without water for approximately 6 hours,” and resulted in “a water loss of 31,300 gallons,” causing a total of $2,595.20 in damages and loss of water, deputies said.