Local News

Towns ease water restrictions following water line break

Posted June 16, 2008 10:30 a.m. EDT
Updated June 16, 2008 7:06 p.m. EDT

— Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina eased water restrictions on Monday, a day after a water-line break cut off the towns' main water supply.

All indoor water uses are allowed, but both towns have banned all non-essential outdoor uses of water, including watering and car washing.

"You are free to cook, take a shower. We know people want to do that," said Mark Andrews, a spokesman for Holly Springs.

Utility operators said a water line from a Harnett County water-treatment plant to Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina ruptured early Sunday.

Holly Springs has restored connections to Raleigh and Apex's water system.

Although Raleigh can provide 1.2 million gallons a day, that's only about a third of what customers normally use, so the town must cut usage between 25 and 50 percent, Andrews said.

Fuquay-Varina has declared a state of emergency and begun drawing water from backup sources in Raleigh and Johnston County.

"It looks like that we're going to be OK," said Fuquay-Varina Mayor John Byrne. "But you don't really know in a situation like this."

Signs about the water crisis have been placed around the towns, and workers have patrolled the streets, looking for unauthorized water use. In Holly Springs, violators face a $1,000 fine.

Fuquay-Varina resident Dianna Arnold ruefully said she learned about the restrictions the hard way.

"There is another man actually manually turning off my irrigation system," Arnold said.

Rodney Tart, Harnett County's director of public utilities, said an overnight lightning storm created a power surge that shut an emergency valve at a base plant, creating a bulge of pressure and rupturing the 36-inch pipe. The break flooded the room, shorting out all electrical controls, Tart said.

Crews were working Monday afternoon to set up a bypass line that would provide enough water to meet regular demand in Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina.

"It'll pump what they need," Tart said. "It'll be enough to meet their peak demand."

He expected a permanent fix to be finished later in the week.

The towns have been adding extra chlorine to their water lines to ensure water quality.