ROANOKE RAPIDS — As many as 50,000 people did have not had safe running water for part of the weekend, after construction crews damaged a 20-inch water main in Roanoke Rapids during a road-widening project.
Water pressure dropped so low that officials were concerned contaminants might have been absorbed into the system.
Residents are being advised to minimize water use and use bottled water for drinking and cooking.
The main has been repaired, but residents have been urged not to drink or cook with their tap water until tests prove it is safe.
In Halifax County Saturday, volunteers were busy giving out bottled water by the case.
Residents like Tammy Jarratt hope the inconvenience will not last long.
"I have three kids and I use a lot of water to make the baby's formula, and my little girl drinks a lot of water," she says.
On one of the year's busiest days for dining out, restaurants in Halifax and Northampton counties were being advised not to open their doors.
Health officials recommended that restaurants not open for business Saturday, however most ignored the advice.
Officials are concerned about potentially deadly coliform bacteria. They say customers are taking a risk by eating out.
Tests for coliform bacteria will be in by noon Sunday. If the water tests positive, the health department will order restaurants to shut down.