‘This one was historical’: Water service restored, Boil Water Advisory issued after major water main break in Charlotte

All water service has been restored following Monday’s large water main break in Charlotte, according to a 12:30 a.m. Tuesday update from Charlotte Water.
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 6:10 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2021 at 4:28 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - All water service has been restored following Monday’s large water main break in Charlotte, according to a 12:30 a.m. Tuesday update from Charlotte Water.

Officials have also issued a boil water advisory for those who were impacted by the water main break.

According to Charlotte Water, for those who did not experience a loss of pressure or water, their water is safe to drink.

However, customers who experienced a loss of water should boil water vigorously for one minute before drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and preparing food, crews said.

Angela Charles with Charlotte Water says this is one of the largest water main breaks the city of Charlotte has ever had.

“This one was historical,” she said.

Charlotte Water is doing water quality testing, but if you’re in the red zone, where there is a boil water advisory, then you need to be cautious using your water for now.

If you lost water or water pressure, you need to continue to boil water until Wednesday night.

“It’s only the folks who experienced an interruption in their service that we’re concerned about,” Charles said.


LIVE: Charlotte Water officials are giving an update on the large water main repair in Charlotte, and the city's water boil advisory »

Posted by WBTV News on Tuesday, October 19, 2021

It is safe to shower and the boil water advisory is only for water consumption. Customers should continue to boil water until the low water pressure advisory ends.

To see if your address is in the low-pressure zone, check this interactive map.

Charlotte Water issued the low water pressure advisory for residents who experienced low to no water pressure Monday evening due to the water main break.

The advisory is in effect for the next 48 hours as a precautionary measure. Charlotte Watter will provide updates when the advisory has ended.

On Monday, Oct. 18 around 4 p.m. Charlotte Water (CLTWater) crews responded to a large water main break on Remount Road. Crews discovered a 36-inch concrete pipe located under Irwin Creek broken and spraying water several feet in the air.

The 36-inch pipe, which has been there since 1955, serves as a large transmission main that carries water several miles from the water treatment plant to neighborhoods in south Charlotte.

The break caused low or no water pressure in a large water pressure zone. Pressure zones are used by CLTWater to maintain water pressure across the entire service area.

Reports of no water were received by the airport and several customers in Charlotte neighborhoods south of I-85. Crews responded by closing nearby valves and isolating the break. Low or no pressure areas were soon restored to full service at approximately 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 18, officials say.

Charlotte resident Anthony Flores said he saw the water spewing into the air as he traveled by Revolution Park Monday evening.

“It was like massive, over the bridge. It was massive like up to the wires. It was bad, just real bad and out of control,” described Flores.

The affected areas of the system are roughly bounded:

• To the north by Brookshire Blvd & I-85

• To the east by WT Harris Blvd and Monroe Rd

• To the west by of the Catawba River

• To the south by the State Line

According to Charlotte Water, portions of the below zip codes may have experienced low-to-no water pressure during the evening hours of Oct. 18, based on customer calls and social media reports. Crews stressed this list may not be comprehensive and will be updated as more information comes in.

The impacted zip codes are:

  • 28105
  • 28202
  • 28203
  • 28205
  • 28206
  • 28207
  • 28208
  • 28209
  • 28211
  • 28212
  • 28213
  • 28214
  • 28215
  • 28216
  • 28217
  • 28277

Charlotte Douglas International Airport was among several businesses and residents affected by it.

The airport posted an update just before 8 p.m. and lifted a temporary ground stop and operations had resumed. They also said water had returned to all restrooms.

South End residents Kaine Mcalister and Grayson Sands traveled to Revolution Park to check out the site of the water main break Monday evening. Both men said they had limited water pressure in their South End apartment units. Sands said he lives in the Hub South End apartments and Mcalister said he lives in the Centro Railyard apartments.

“I was just trying to take a shower earlier and just didn’t see anything. I got an email from the apartment and they said the water pressure’s a little bit low right now,” said Sands.

Mcalister said he realized he had lost water pressure when he tried to fill up a glass of water in his apartment.

“I was thinking about it and I’m like, ‘How am I gonna cook? How am I gonna shower for work?’ I was like, ‘this goes a lot further than I was imagining’,” said Mcalister.

Charlotte Water said it is investigating to determine the cause of the break. Residents are advised to please not call 311 or 911 to report a disruption in your service.

The pipe that burst was installed in 1955. It’s a huge pipe that transmits water from plant to service area. That’s why so many people were affected, officials said.

Though the risk of contamination is very low, officials say technicians worked through Monday night to flush hydrants and take field measurements of drinking water quality. More than 260 locations are being sampled to ensure normal water quality.

Samples are also being sent to the laboratory to confirm field testing results. Official laboratory results are expected Wednesday and will guide Charlotte Water officials in determining if the advisory can be lifted.

Officials say Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT) inspected the Remount Road bridge and determined that there is no threat to the traveling public. Staff has also been in consultation with schools that were impacted to develop temporary operational plans for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Officials say CLTWater has not received any reports of illness due to drinking water before or during the advisory.

CLTWater is investigating the cause of the water main break and is initiating repairs. Updates about road work and any traffic impacts will be available on Charlotte Water’s website and social media channels.

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