Local News

Cary to Check New Homes for Reclaimed Water

Posted July 26, 2007 1:27 p.m. EDT

— Town crews will test household drinking water at all new homes, officials said Thursday, after finding two homes where treated wastewater was piped into the drinking water lines instead of into sprinkler systems.

About 450 homes in Cary used "reclaimed" water, or partially treated wastewater, for irrigation systems. Officials discovered this week that the lines at two of those homes were inadvertently switched, sending drinking water to the sprinklers and reclaimed water to the household faucets.

Both families have been moved to hotels while the town flushes their water lines and ensures the water is safe to drink. Officials said the families should be back in their homes by the weekend.

The mix-up prompted officials to adopt a policy calling for water at all new homes with reclaimed-water irrigation systems to be tested before a certificate of occupancy is issued. The tests would help ensure that no cross connection between the two water systems exists, officials said.

“By going to the house and sampling the water from the tap, we will be able to be absolutely certain that the water serving the house is potable water,” Cary Town Manager Bill Coleman said in a statement. “This additional step in our permitting process should give everyone increased confidence that the water they drink is safe, reliable and of the highest quality.”

Officials are still trying to determine how the water lines in the two homes got switched. In both cases, the switch occurred after inspectors had certified that the two types of water systems had been properly separated and marked.

One house has been occupied since December, and the other since March.

“We regret the concern and inconvenience this has caused our two families, and we’ve appreciated their support and cooperation as we’ve worked through this difficult and unprecedented issue,” Coleman said.