OWASA looks for the cause of massive 9.4 million gallon water leak

By Megan Cain

Residents in Chapel Hill and Carrboro woke up on Monday morning to find out they couldn’t drink their water. A break in a major water line resulted in an advisory to boil water until Tuesday night. UNC, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, and many businesses were all forced to close until the notice was lifted.

Megan Cain reports.

OWASA crews work late into the night in front of Weaver Street Market to repair the water line (Megan Cain/Carolina Connection).

Anne England and her friends are throwing back beers at the Orange County Social Club.

“There just happens to be a mini disaster event going on,” England said.

…Littering the bar with plastic shot glasses and beer cans. Nothing can be served on the rocks tonight, as the town doesn’t have clean running water.

Just across the street, crews worked to fix a gushing leak that depleted nearly the entire water supply. Linda Lowe of the Orange Water and Sewer Authority blamed a crack in an 80-year-old pipe.

“There was a lot of water coming out of that pipe, so it’s not so easy for our crew,” Lowe said.

Cases of bottled water flew off the shelves at Harris Teeter. UNC senior Nadia Pashenekova grabbed the last two.

“The town hasn’t let us know when the water is going to be back so hopefully we don’t need any more,” Pashenekova said.

County Commissioner Penny Rich says this is the second major water line break in less than two years.

“I think we need to talk about the infrastructure and make sure that we’re checking our infrastructure, infrastructure that’s old,” Rich said.

Investigators say it will take a month to figure out what caused the break.

In Chapel Hill, I’m Megan Cain.

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