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UNC To Resume Normal Operations After Water Main Break

The Old Well and flowers on the campus of UNC- Chapel Hill.
Brian Batista
The Old Well and flowers on the UNC- Chapel Hill campus.

Updated 7:25 p.m. | Nov. 6, 2018

The Orange Water and Sewage Authority has lifted a boil water advisory for most of its Chapel Hill and Carrboro customers, according to a press release.

Customers in three Carrboro locations have been directly notified that they still must boil water before consuming it.

Updated 11:45 a.m. | Nov. 6, 2018

Officials with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill say campus will resume normal operations at 5 p.m. today and classes will resume at 8 a.m Wednesday.

OWASA has announced that water storage levels have returned to normal and water conservation has been lifted. Some customers may see discoloration in their water due to sediment (non-harmful particles) being stirred-up in the pipes.

The boil water advisory is still in effect for the campus and surrounding areas.

Updated 6 p.m.

UNC- Chapel Hill has cancelled classes through 5 p.m. Tuesday, after a local water main break left much of Chapel Hill with a low water supply on Monday.
OWASA has announced that the break has been isolated but storage remains low. UNC officials are asking students to use water for essential needs only to ensure the community has water for emergency requirements. 
Officials are also asking residents to continue to boil water for at least the next 24 hours. Some customers may see discoloration in their water due to sediment (non-harmful particles) being stirred-up in the pipes. 
Updated at 2:15 p.m.

The UNC Medical Center is temporarily suspending elective surgeries due to the water shortage, according to a hospital spokesman. Additionally, the hospital is not accepting transfer patients and trauma patients are currently being redirected to other facilities in the area.

Earlier Monday, the Orange Water and Sewer Authority said a main water line leaving one of its plants has broken, draining its storage. The utility is asking people to limit consumption to essential use, such as drinking and hygiene.

Officials also want customers to boil water while its system experiences low pressure.

At the UNC Medical Center, officials are bringing in bottled water for use by patients and staff.  Officials are directing, patients, guests, and employees at UNC Medical Center and our outpatient clinics served by OWASA not to drink tap water or use it for hygiene.
Staff at the Medical Center are being told to use alcohol-based hand sanitizer to perform hand hygiene and continue to conserve water for direct patient care. The hospital is already receiving water shipments for situations where water is needed for hand hygiene, and we also are working to acquire as many portable handwashing stations as possible.

Updated at 1:40 p.m.

Due to the water main break, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools will close schools early today.

District officials say they have buildings with reduced or no water pressure.Elementary schools will close at 11:30 a.m., middle schools at 12 p.m. and high schools at 1 p.m. All after school programs and activities will be canceled. 

Classes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have also been cancelled starting at 11:30 a.m. through 11 p.m. Monday.

Updated 10:10 a.m. | Nov. 5, 2018

Officials with the Orange County Water and Sewer Authority are reporting a water main break and are asking customers in the affected area to boil water before drinking it.In a release, the utility said the break is draining its water storage. Chapel Hill and Carrboro customers are also asked to limit water use to drinking and basic hygiene only.

The water system serves Chapel Hill, Carrboro and UNC.

OWASA says crews are on-site to isolate the break.

Generally defined, essential purposes are for drinking and basic hygiene. Jones Ferry Road is closed between Bim Street and Barnes Street in Carrboro.

Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
Elizabeth “Liz” Baier is WUNC’s Digital News Editor. She's a first-generation Colombian-American fluent in Spanish. She has two decades of experience than span print, audio, and digital reporting and editing.
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