A water main break on Friday morning on the northeast side of Chapel Hill near Dobbins Drive forced officials to shut down the Jones Ferry Road Water Treatment Plant.
The Orange County Health Department lifted a "do not use" order Saturday afternoon.
The utility began getting water from Durham, but a supply pipe broke early Friday, leaking up to 1.5 million gallons of water and causing a fall in water pressure needed to keep harmful bacteria from growing. Because of that, customers are being asked to only use their water for essential purposes like showering and drinking. But the treatment plant's output required testing before the utility could safely advise customers to use their water again.
On Saturday, Orange County Health Director Colleen Bridger said the water was safe to drink with the exception of The Apartments at Midtown 501, just north of the merger of East Franklin Street and Durham-Chapel Hill Road. The timing raised doubts about whether the men's basketball game between North Carolina and Notre Dame could be played Saturday night. Using water could result in contamination of the OWASA system. "However, we encourage our residents to continue to practice water conservation strategies until OWASA's storage has been replenished to normal levels".
Restaurants served by OWASA have been ordered closed.
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All Chapel Hill-Carrboro after-school programs also were cancelled.
An incident at the Jones Ferry Road Water Treatment Plant resulted in an accidental overflow of fluoride during the water treatment process.
The Orange Health Department said to avoid boiling water and only use bottled water - including for flushing toilets, washing hands, and cooking. The pipe fix was completed Saturday but area residents emptied local stores of water, and local schools, UNC and restaurants were forced to close. Both Carrboro and Chapel Hill declared states of emergency.
The agency said they are working to restore the impacted water treatment plant to normal operation as soon as they can.
Bottled water was being delivered to nursing homes, county emergency services director Diana Jeffries said.