Main break affects water pressure for Charlotte residents


Service was restored overnight to thousands of Charlotte residents and businesses hit by a water main break that was large enough to cover 16 ZIP codes, the city says.

Concerns remain over water quality. Out of “an abundance of caution,” Charlotte Water recommends customers impacted by the outage boil water for human consumption.

A 48-hour, low water pressure advisory is in effect until Wednesday following the main break around 5 p.m. in the 1400 block of Remount Road near Revolution Park, Charlotte Water said in a statement Monday night.

“If you did not experience a loss of pressure or water, your water is safe to drink,” the city said in a release. “Until the advisory ends, customers who experienced a loss of water should boil water used for human consumption (including drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation) vigorously for (1) one minute.”

Customers may also see discolored water due to mineral deposits dislodged during the outage, the city said. “If water is discolored, you should run the cold water tap for 10- 15 minutes or until water is clear,” officials said.

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A water main break along Remount Road near Charlotte’s airport has affected numerous residents and businesses around the city as well as those using the airport on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. Khadejeh Nikouyeh knikouyeh@charlotteobserver.com

ZIP codes hit by the outage include: 28105, 28202, 28203, 28205, 28206, 28207, 28208, 28209, 28211, 28212, 28213, 28214, 28215, 28216, 28217 and 28277, the city said.

The affected areas of the system are roughly bounded:

To the north by Brookshire Boulevard and Interstate 85;

To the east by W.T. Harris Boulevard and Monroe Road;

To the west by the Catawba River;

To the south by the South Carolina line.

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Charlotte Water customers in the “low pressure” area of this map can boil water used for human consumption vigorously for one minute, the city department said. A water main break on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, affected thousands of customers, including Charlotte’s airport. Charlotte Water

“Charlotte Water began testing water samples (Monday) evening and will continue to test water samples for the next several days,” officials said.

The cause of the water main break and how many customers have been affected remain unknown.

Video on social media showed water spouting up like a geyser above treetops at the site of the leak. Responding to one of the videos. Charlotte City Council Member Tariq Bokhari tweeted, “Wow. This was insane to see. Huge impacts but all hands are on deck.”

In a tweet posted just before 6 p.m., Charlotte Water said it had responded to a “large water main break” that affected “several ZIP codes.”

“Expect low-to-no water pressure throughout the evening,” Charlotte Water’s tweet said.

Charlotte Water customers were advised not to call 311 or 911 to report a disruption in service, according to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management alert sent at 7:30 p.m.

Moments later, at a Charlotte City Council meeting, Mayor Vi Lyles read a statement that said water service had started to return in some areas.

Ground stop at CLT

The water main break happened in the vicinity of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, according to the airport’s Twitter page. “There is little to no water pressure in the terminal at this time,” the tweet said.

All inbound flights to CLT were held at their originating airport, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.

“Bathrooms are being used sparingly,” airport officials said. “We have asked the airlines to tell passengers to use the restroom on the aircraft prior to arrival.”

By 7:30 p.m., aircraft operations had resumed after the Federal Aviation Administration lifted the temporary ground stop, the airport said.

An employee who answered the phone at 1897 Market near the Atrium inside the airport terminal told the Observer the restaurant was closed due to the water issues, and bathrooms across the airport were closed.

All restaurants at the airport had closed by 6:45 p.m., airport officials confirmed to the Observer in an email.

Water pressure was slowly returning to the airport, according to a tweet posted shortly before 8 p.m. By 9 p.m., the airport said water had returned to all restrooms and cleaning was underway.

CMPD impacted by water main break too

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said several of its facilities had been affected by the water main break.

“Necessary provisions are being taken to ensure CMPD can function in a normal capacity,” a department spokesman told the Observer in a statement.

CMPD urged residents to use 911 to report emergencies that require immediate assistance, but not to call over water outages.

Some Atrium Health facilities in Charlotte are experiencing “the inconvenience of low water pressure” as of 7:30 p.m., spokesman Dan Fogleman told the Observer. But there were no significant impacts to the hospital system facilities at the moment, he said.

Atrium Health’s emergency operations team has been in contact with the city and has been told the water main break should be fixed quickly, but it could take several hours to restore water pressure, Fogleman said.

The hospital system has a reserve supply of bottled water if needed, he added.

There’s been “negligible impact” at Novant Health facilities due to emergency preparedness plans, spokeswoman Megan Rivers told the Observer. The hospital system has potable water prepared if needed.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library said it would close Allegra Westbrooks Regional Library, ImaginOn, Main Library and SouthPark Regional Library until further notice because of “plumbing issues.”

Observer staff writers Lauren Lindstrom, Gordon Rago and Adam Bell contributed to this report.

This story was originally published October 18, 2021 6:20 PM.

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Jonathan Limehouse is a breaking news reporter and covers all major happenings in the Charlotte area. He has covered a litany of other beats from public safety, education, public health and sports. He is a proud UNC Charlotte graduate and a Raleigh native.





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