Local News

Fayetteville water back on, but boil advisory in effect for many

Posted January 14, 2011 5:20 a.m. EST
Updated January 14, 2011 4:35 p.m. EST

— Water service was restored to residents and businesses in the Fayetteville area Friday morning, but a boil-water advisory remains in effect after a major water main break, according to Public Works Commission officials.

A 48-inch water main ruptured Thursday evening at the Hoffer Drive plant, one of PWC's main water sources, spokeswoman Carolyn Hinson said. It's unknown what caused the rupture.

"(Engineers) do not feel that, with the size and type of main, that weather could be a factor," Hinson said, noting crews were examining the main Friday to find the cause of the problem.

PWC customers west of the Cape Fear River were told to boil water until further notice. The advisory included Spring Lake and customers of private utilities N.C. Aqua and Carolina Water Service, both of which have water lines interconnected with PWC lines.

The boil advisory also included the Smith Lake area of Fort Bragg, officials said, but most of the post receives its water from Harnett County and wasn't affected. Customers within a half-mile radius of downtown Fayetteville and those east of the Cape Fear River, including Stedman, Eastover and Cedar, also weren't part of the advisory.

Cumberland County Schools delayed opening by two hours Friday due to the break. Central Services employees were on a regular schedule.

Cape Fear Valley Medical Center was taking precautions to keep operating during the boil advisory, spokeswoman Janet Conway said. Bottled water is being used for both patient care and drinking.

The operating rooms and cardiac catheterizations were operating on schedule because surgical instruments were sterilized before the water main break, Conway said. Surgeons were using a wash to clean before operations.

Cape Fear Valley's HealthPlex fitness and wellness center and the gastrointestinal lab were closed Friday.

The rupture knocked out service or lowered the water pressure for about 50,000 households and businesses, or about three-quarters of the city's customers, Hinson said. Health inspectors shut down many restaurants early due to the break.

Area supermarkets sold plenty of bottled water on Friday, as residents tried to supplement the water they were boiling at home.

"It hasn't been a big inconvenience. I boiled water to make coffee," Winfred King said.

PWC expects to receive the results from tests of the water in the system on Saturday morning, Hinson said. Officials would decide then whether to extend or lift the boil advisory.

"None of our test results have shown there is any contamination," she said.

Water used for activities, such as drinking, cooking, making ice and brushing teeth, should be boiled for five minutes prior to use until the advisory is lifted, she said.