Emergency in Chapel Hill: Don't drink the water

OWASA service area

75,000 residents in Chapel Hill, North Carolina are being told not to drink their water for a second day in a row Saturday due to a water main break.

Area hospitals continued to operate normally, despite the water shortage.

- After more than 24 hours under order not to use water for drinking, bathing, cleaning or cooking, customers of Orange Water and Sewer Authority got the all-clear Saturday afternoon. (The main has been repaired, but because of the break, residents of the Apartments at Midtown 501 are being asked to boil their water before using it.) OWASA announced this afternoon that it was rescinding the "Do Not Use" order it issued Friday morning.

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

They will distribute water as long as supplies last.


The Jones Ferry Road plant's water tanks were already at low levels because of an accidental overfeed of fluoride in the water treatment process. But the treatment plant's output required testing before the utility could safely advise customers to use their water again. Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News AppWATCH: Officials give update on water emergencyUNC postponed the men's basketball game against Notre Dame to Sunday at 1 p.m.at the Greensboro Coliseum. OWASA says using water at this time could result in contamination.

OWASA stopped receiving water from the City of Durham Saturday at about 10 p.m. and ended its water transfer from Chatham County at about 6 p.m. Saturday.

Restaurants served by OWASA have been ordered closed. Both Carrboro and Chapel Hill declared states of emergency. MORE: No water at UNC, students respond on social mediaBusiness owners affected by the emergency were clearly frustrated.

Harris Teeter began distributing free water in Chapel Hill and Carrboro starting at 9 p.m. Friday. It would be at least Saturday evening and possibly Sunday before normal water service was restored, Orange Water and Sewer Authority Executive Director Ed Kerwin said.

The agency said they are working to restore the impacted water treatment plant to normal operation as soon as they can.

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