OWASA hears from concerned customers after water crisis

Friday, February 10, 2017
OWASA hears from concerned customers
OWASA hears from concerned customers.

CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (WTVD) -- On Thursday, Orange Water and Sewer Authority's (OWASA) Board of Directors met for the first time since tens of thousands of customers were told not to drink or use the water for more than 24 hours.

OWASA's Board of Directors listened to public comments and discussed the water emergency at a meeting Thursday at Town of Chapel Hill Council Chamber. Customers were given up to four minutes of comments and questions.

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While more details of independent investigations are expected to be released sometime Friday, some new information was revealed:

  • The over-fluoridation contaminated 1.5 million gallons of water; the water main break gushed out more than 1 million gallons.
  • OWASA customers normally use 8 millions of water a day.
  • With the fluoride mishap and water main break, OWASA's reserves were down to less than 2 million gallons - which is 1/4th of daily demand. Thus the need for an immediate do not use/do not drink.
  • OWASA is currently NOT applying any fluoride to its water until further notice.

Earlier this week, Officials with OWASA told the ABC11 I-Team two things happened within a day of each other that created a perfect storm for the calamity that unfolded.

Last Thursday, a problem at the OWASA water treatment plant in Carrboro led to the over-fluoridation of more than a million gallons of already treated water, rendering it unusable.

Then, last Friday, a massive water-main break spilled more than a million gallons onto the street in Chapel Hill.

OWASA officials say they were managing before the break because they were getting emergency water from Durham, but when the water main ruptured, pressure in the water line started dropping fast.

Watch the video above for a full report.

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