OWASA Water Safe, Operations Normal

Posted February 06, 2017

The Orange Water and Sewer Authority told its more than 20,000 customers Friday not to drink or use its water.

Answering a question on Twitter, Orange Water and Sewer Authority said Friday evening that they expected the do not use order to be in place for 24 to 48 more hours, which would mean it would be lifted Saturday or Sunday evening. Then there was a major water main break Friday morning on the northeast side of Chapel Hill near Dobbins Drive, and officials say the alternative water supply was able to keep up with demand.

Health department employees were visiting every restaurant and hotel directing them to close, Bridger said.

Even if a customer has water flowing in their home - do not use it, officials said.

The outage forced Chapel Hill and Carrboro restaurants to shut down Friday and schools to dismiss early.

The water shortage, which was expected to stretch into Sunday night, caused the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to postpone the men's basketball game against Notre Dame until Sunday and move the game to the Greensboro Coliseum. Elementary students were set to release at 1:30 p.m., middle school students at 2:10 p.m., and high school students at 2:55 p.m. Parents picking up their students and high school students who walk or drive to school were being allowed to leave earlier, officials said.

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The problem began Thursday when an excess amount of fluoride was introduced to water at a treatment plant. "However, we encourage our residents to continue to practice water conservation strategies until OWASA's storage has been replenished to normal levels".

"We went to two places earlier, called the other Harris Teeter earlier and they were out", she said.

All Chapel Hill-Carrboro after-school programs also were cancelled. If a toilet does not have a tank, it may be possible to pour water into the bowl to flush.

That was welcome news after a tumultuous few days.

The Jones Ferry Road Water Treatment Plant will return to normal operation as soon as it is safe to do so, OWASA officials said. OWASA anticipates it can have the Jones Ferry Road plant up and running today.