DURHAM, NC — While the City of Durham Department of Water Management continues to assist its neighbors in Orange County with their ongoing water emergency, the department wants to remind Durham water customers that our drinking water is completely safe. There are no concerns regarding the quality or quantity of our water supply, and all operations at Durham’s two water treatment plants remain normal.
Although Durham is supplying emergency water to Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) to aid in its emergency, this amount is still well below Durham’s typical daily water consumption in summer, when demand is at its highest.
The department continues to monitor the OWASA situation and will update the public as necessary. Again, Durham’s drinking water remains safe to drink.
According to a spokesperson for the town of Hillsborough, the town operates under a separate water system and customers in Hillsborough are unaffected by the water main break.
A state of emergency was declared for the Town of Chapel Hill Friday afternoon due to a water shortage for Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) customers.
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 reached very low levels, officials said.
Officials said using water could result in contamination of the OWASA system. Customers were encouraged to use bottled water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene. Bottled water can also be used to flush a toilet after pouring the water into the tank, officials said.
Due to the water main break, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools dismissed students early. Elementary students were dismissed at 1:30 p.m., middle school were let out at 2:10 p.m. and high school students will be out of class at 2:55 p.m., according to school officials.
All restaurants served by OWASA were ordered closed by the Orange County Health Director Friday afternoon.
The water main break comes one day after an accidental overfeed of fluoride in the water treatment plant forced the utility to get drinking water from the City of Durham. The excess fluoride was contained to the Jones Ferry Road plant.
It is unclear is the water main break is related to the fluoride overfeed.