OWASA is urging its customers not to use its water following a water main break and the shutdown of a Chapel Hill water treatment plant—and said residents should consider the water unsafe for at least the next twenty four hours.
Customers are being asked to use bottled water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and even flushing toilets. So, stock up.
The strain on the water supply prompted Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools to dismiss students early today. Elementary students were dismissed at 1:30 p.m., middle school students at 2:10 p.m., and high school students at 2:55 p.m.
In addition, UNC announced that it, too, was canceling afternoon classes and closing offices beginning at 1 p.m.
Both Chapel Hill and Carrboro are under states of emergency.
Officials said while some customers may see water flowing from their taps, they should not consume it because they can’t be sure it is safe. The utility also needs to build its water supply back up so that there is sufficient pressure in the system to send water out to OWASA’s approximately 80,000 customers.
At the news conference, they also said it “would be extremely difficult” for UNC to host its scheduled men’s basketball game against Notre Dame Saturday. The Orange County Health Department ordered all restaurants served by OWASA closed this afternoon. UNC Hospitals and clinics are operating normally with a supply of bottled water.
Amid the outage, OWASA is bringing in roughly six million gallons of water via tanker from Durham. (Durham officials say that isn’t a strain on the city’s supply)
Customers have been asked to conserve water since yesterday, when OWASA began receiving water from the Durham because too much fluoride had been pumped into the water- treatment system, forcing OWASA to shut down the Jones Ferry Road plant, where the fluoride-heavy supply was contained.
To get updates on the system, OWASA customers can text OwasaWater for 888777 or call a hotline at 919-245-6111. Donations of bottled water can be dropped off at 210 South Estes Drive.