Local News

Boiling Advisory Ordered After Knightdale Water Problems

Posted August 19, 2004 6:18 a.m. EDT

— The town of Knightdale remains under a boil water advisory Thursday.

The trouble started Wednesday morning with a leak and pump problem and quickly trickled to other parts of eastern Wake County.

Knightdale has three water tanks. One of them holds half a million gallons, and Wednesday, it was totally empty.

A radio signal that tells the pump to fill the tank failed. That problem was compounded by a separate water line break and a water leak that coincidentally happened in different locations at the same time.

The initial problem actually occurred Tuesday night, when the main tank -- which holds a million gallons -- had a leak. Wednesday's problem occurred in the backup tank.

"It was just a bizarre series of events," Knightdale Pro-Tem Mike Chalk said.

By Wednesday evening, crews had the main tank back on line and were fixing the backup.

Though water is flowing again, a boil advisory is in place until the morning.

Both Wendell and Zebulon issued mandatory water conservation orders. Knightdale also urged residents to boil their tap water before drinking it.

The outage caused students at six schools in the area to be dismissed early Wednesday and restaurants in the area to close. Some restaurants were allowed to open back up at the tail end of the dinner hours, but not in time to make up for lost business.

Schools and restaurants were expected to be open as usual on Thursday.

Knightdale supplies water to Wendell and Zebulon, which is why those towns also were affected.

The lane closure on U.S. 64 West from Lynnwood Road at the Planters Walk subdivision to Hodge Road remained in effect overnight at the request of Knightdale officials. The town asked the North Carolina Department of Transportation to keep the lane closure in place to provide convenient access to crews repairing the leak.

The lane closure on U.S. 64 typically is scheduled to end at 3 p.m. daily. The closure has been in place intermittently since April to accommodate bridge construction at the future junction of Interstate 540 and U.S. 64.

The intermittent lane closures are expected to end in spring 2006.

About 7,000 people were affected.

The outage left Zebulon with a limited supply of water in its above-ground storage tanks. Mayor Robert S. Matheny said it was necessary to implement mandatory water-use controls in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare through the provision of adequate water for drinking, sanitation and fire-protection services.

The following mandatory rules were in effect:

  • No lawns are to be watered.
  • No commercial car washes or laundromats can be open for operation.
  • No washing of vehicles, boats etc.
  • No pressure washing of houses, building or other structures.
  • No washing or cleaning of any outside impervious surface areas such as sidewalks, patios, and driveways.
  • No swimming pools may be filled. The water level in any residential swimming pool filled prior to Wednesday may be supplemented only to the extent necessary to provide for safe operation of the pool's chemical feed equipment.
  • All restaurants must use disposable and biodegradable dishes and utensils.
  • No filling of any decorative fountains or pools.
  • Residents also are advised to limit the use of washing machines or dishwashers, to store drinking water in the refrigerator to avoid trying to run it cool at the tap, to take short showers and not baths.

    Commercial and industrial customers should restrict their water usage to only what is necessary.

    Because of Wednesday's outage, the Wake County Public School System closed East Wake High School in Wendell and Knightdale High School.

    Four elementary schools also closed: Forestville Elementary, Lockhart Elementary, Knightdale Elementary and Hodge Road Elementary.