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Crabtree Mall Flushes Hydrants, Knocks Out Water

Thousands of residences and dozens of businesses lost water service after Crabtree Valley Mall flushed 11 fire hydrants on Wednesday morning.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Thousands of residential and business customers lost water service after Crabtree Valley Mall opened 11 fire hydrants on Wednesday morning to flush the complex's water lines.

Water coming from faucets in mall businesses was discolored, so the operations department opened the s hydrants between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., a mall spokesperson said.

That rush of water caused service to be cut off to thousands of nearby residences and businesses, said Raleigh utilities officials.

"What it did was simulate a water main break," said Dale Crisp, Raleigh's public utilities director.

The water released through the hydrants over 30 minutes would fill more than 15 backyard swimming pools, Crisp said.

Taverna Agora was one of dozens of businesses whose water was reduced to a trickle for about an hour.

"We cannot open and do business without having water. You can't wash the dishes, you can't serve the customers. It's a little complicated," said Bill Kalyvas, manager of Tavern Agora.

Crisp said the city is investigating the possibility that mall workers violated city rules.

"At this point, there's reason to believe they may have opened one of the city's hydrants. That, of course, is a violation without our permission to do that," Crisp said.

The mall could face fines and tougher regulations to ensure it doesn't waste so much water again, the utilities director said.

Most of the mall's hydrants are on private property, which means that the mall is not required to tell the city when it is going to flush them.

A spokesperson said Crabtree Valley Mall has flushed the hydrants several times in the past without affecting service to the surrounding area.

Business operators said they are glad water service was restored after about an hour.

"Thank God, thank God. The water came back on. We can move on," said Kalyvas.


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