I recently bought a house built in the late 40s. The house has copper piping, which might be original. The main supply is in a 3/4 inch pipe with an old handle valve, the original shutoff. About 10 years ago, the town installed a meter beyond this, with a ball valve shutoff. If we want to turn the water off, we use this valve.

The original valve is leaking (slowly) from the stem because of a partially split packing nut. Ideally, I'd replace or eliminate the valve, but can't do that unless the town water is turned off. It is already winter there (NH), with snow and ice on the ground, so this would probably have to wait until spring. Even then, I have no idea if there is a town shut off or if it would work after 60 years.

So, I would like to try to replace the nut, which exactly fits in my 3/4" wrench. I did not find such a nut in a couple of stores, and from looking around online, it sounds like packing nuts are not standardized (or available). Does anyone have any idea where I could find a compatible nut?

Any other ideas about how to fix or temporize this problem? Could I try to tighten a wire around the nut or use Pow-R-Wrap?

Thanks in advance.