OWASA adds fluoride to municipal water, in order to prevent cavities in people's teeth. Photo by Gabe Rivin
OWASA adds fluoride to municipal water, in order to prevent cavities in people's teeth. Earlier this year, workers mistakenly added too much fluoride to the water system, prompting rerouting of water from Durham. Photo by Gabe Rivin

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UPDATE: 3:15 pm

The Orange County Health Director has issued a “do not use” order for OWASA water and said that people affected by the water loss should not even boil water for use until the county health department completes testing. Instead, the health department is telling people to only drink bottled water.

The department also ordered all restaurants dependent on OWASA water to close until testing is complete.

UNC Chapel Hill officials put campus on a condition 3 alert and sent students and staff home, sources told NC Health News. Officials have recommended that students who live in residence halls should try to find somewhere else to stay for the weekend.

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OWASA press release:

The Orange Water and Sewer Authority directs its customers to not use water until further notice.

The utility said there’s been multiple problems this week. NCHN Photo by Gabe Rivin

Due to a shutdown of the Jones Ferry Road Water Treatment Plant and a major water main break Friday morning on the northeast side of Chapel Hill near Dobbins Drive, the water supply in the OWASA system has reached very low levels. Using water could result in contamination of the OWASA system.

Customers are encouraged to use bottled water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene.

Customers can use bottled water to flush a toilet, after pouring water into the tank. If a toilet does not have a tank, it may be possible to pour water into the bowl to flush.

OWASA is working to restore the Jones Ferry Road Water Treatment Plant to normal operation as soon as it is safe to do so. OWASA field personnel are working to repair the water main break as soon as possible.

OWASA will send updates and NC Health News will keep readers informed.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

OWASA adds fluoride to municipal water, in order to prevent cavities in people’s teeth. This week, workers mistakenly added too much fluoride to the water system, prompting rerouting of water from Durham. Photo by Gabe Rivin

Due to an accidental overfeed of fluoride within the water treatment process, OWASA began receiving drinking water from the City of Durham late Thursday afternoon.

The fluoride overfeed was contained at the Jones Ferry Road Water Treatment Plant. No water with higher than normal fluoride reached the water pipe system, so the water is safe to drink.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

CALL: 919 245 6111

TEXT: Send message “OWASA WATER” to 8887777 for automatic updates

TWITTER: @ocncemergency

www.owasa.org

 

 

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Rose Hoban

Rose Hoban is the founder and editor of NC Health News, as well as being the state government reporter. Hoban has been a registered nurse since 1992, but transitioned to journalism after earning degrees...