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The Orange County Health Department and Orange Water And Sewer Authority (OWASA) said Saturday afternoon that OWASA water is safe for drinking and other uses, but customers should limit use to essential purposes because water supplies remain below normal levels.

“OWASA tested samples from across the service area to ensure the water is safe for public consumption,” said Orange County Health Director Colleen Bridger. “All of the tests came back safe earlier this afternoon. In light of these results, Orange County Health Department is rescinding the Do Not Use order. Restaurants and hotels are free to re-open. However, we encourage our residents to continue to practice water conservation strategies until OWASA’s storage has been replenished to normal levels.”

OWASA officials said that residents in the Foxcroft Drive area are under a boil water advisory due to the broken water main. Residents will be notified when this precaution is no longer needed.

“Affected customers will be receiving a notice advising them to boil water before consuming it until we can confirm that the water quality is acceptable,” said Ed Kerwin, OWASA Executive Director. “We will know by 7 a.m. Sunday morning (February 5) if the boil water advisory can be rescinded.”

OWASA said the break on the 12-inch water main on Foxcroft Drive has been repaired by a contractor and service has been restored to the approximately 250 customers served by this main.

The American Red Cross will deliver bottled water to the neighborhood.

“We appreciate the cooperation of the community during this incident, and we are grateful to our partners at the City of Durham, Chatham County and the Town of Hillsborough for their assistance,” said Kerwin. “We have completed the remediation and are in the early stages of restarting the Jones Ferry Road Water Treatment Plant.”

OWASA is receiving water from the City of Durham and Chatham County due to an incident at OWASA’s Jones Ferry Road Water Treatment Plant Thursday. OWASA is working with the Town of Hillsborough for additional supply.

The four distribution points for the public to receive bottled water will remain open until 6 p.m. Saturday or until supplies are exhausted.

Best ways to conserve water

  • Take short showers (less than 3 minutes); shower instead of taking a bath, which uses more water.
  • Delay washing clothes until normal water use is allowed.
  • Turn off water when not in use for brushing teeth, etc.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes.
  • Use paper plates and plastic utensils to reduce dishwashing.
  • Check for and fix any leaks in toilets, faucets, hoses, pipes, etc.
  • Flush toilets only when necessary.
  • Defer washing vehicles with drinking water.

For more information on how to conserve water, please visit, click on the Conservation and Education and then click on water conservation tips.

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