OWASA responds to wastewater overflow at Rogerson Drive in Chapel Hill

Saturday, April 13, 2019 12:25:00 PM

On the evening of Friday, April 12, OWASA responded to a wastewater overflow at Rogerson Drive (near Raleigh Road) in Chapel Hill at 9 pm. The cause of the overflow was a break in a wastewater pipe. We mobilized immediately to mitigate the flow and start the repair. Heavy rains increased the water that entered the system contributing to 2 additional overflows at the site. All overflows are stopped and the pipe repair is in process. Safety is priority; please avoid the repair zone. We apologize for any inconvenience our work is causing and will provide updates regularly.

Update: April 18 at 5:30 pm

We continue to work on the repair of the wastewater pipe on Rogerson Drive. We’ve inspected the full length of the pipe in the area of the break and discovered that the damage is more extensive than anticipated: 500 feet of the pipe is corroded. As a result, we must replace this entire section of the wastewater pipe. We anticipate this extended work will take approximately 4 weeks to complete. This will include excavating a trench within Rogerson Drive, removing the old pipe, and replacing it with a new, non-corrosive pipe.

Throughout the work, one westbound lane on Raleigh Road will remain closed as well as the adjoining sidewalk. Nearby Rogerson Drive will also remain closed to through traffic and pedestrian traffic (from Berkley Road to Raleigh Road). We apologize for the inconvenience this will cause and will work to minimize impacts as much as possible.

Update: April 16 at 2:30 pm

We continue to make progress on the repair of the wastewater pipe at Rogerson Dr near Raleigh Rd. We have successfully set up a temporary system to bypass the flow of wastewater around the area of pipe that is damaged. This bypass facilitates safe and reliable transit of wastewater through the system while we replace the section of pipe that was damaged (for a permanent repair). 

The far-right lane of westbound Raleigh Rd is closed, except between 6am and 9am on weekdays. The adjoining sidewalk is also closed. We anticipate normal traffic flow on Raleigh Rd will resume Saturday. Rogerson Dr will remain closed to through traffic and pedestrian traffic until after the line is repaired and the site restored (i.e. holes filled, pavement replaced). We apologize for any inconvenience.

Update: April 15 at 5:00 pm

Throughout the week, we will be replacing the wastewater pipe under Rogerson Drive. We are continuing to assess the condition of the pipe. Based on our assessment, we will determine how much pipe needs to be replaced this week, and if more needs to be replaced within the year. We will work 24 hours per day until the pipe is replaced. At times, the work may be noisy and we will have lights on-site at night. We aim to complete our overnight portions of the repair by Friday April 19.

While the pipe is under repair, the far-right lane of westbound Raleigh Road will be closed, except between 6am and 9am on weekdays. We will also close the adjoining sidewalk. We anticipate that normal traffic flow on Raleigh Road will resume by Saturday, April 20. Rogerson Drive will be closed to through traffic and pedestrian traffic until after the line is repaired and the site restored (i.e. holes filled, pavement replaced). We project that site restoration will be complete by April 26.

Update: April 14 at 8:30 pm

No overflows occurred Sunday. Together with our contractor, we have made progress setting up a temporary system to bypass the flow of wastewater around the area of pipe that is damaged. This bypass will facilitate safe and reliable transit of wastewater through the system, while enabling us to replace the section of pipe that was damaged (for a permanent repair). 

As we make the repairs, there will be traffic impacts. To minimize impacts during morning rush hour, from 6 am to 9 am, all 3 Westbound lanes on Raleigh Road will be open. After this time, one Westbound lane will be closed. All Eastbound traffic lanes will remain open as normal. We will provide regular updates on the progress of the repair.

Update: April 13 at 8:30 pm

Over the weekend, heavy rains increased the volume of water that entered the wastewater system. Between Friday evening and Saturday, three overflows occurred at the Rogerson Drive site, all of which are stopped. We estimate that approximately 760,000 gallons overflowed.

The majority of the overflow traveled downhill from the pipe into a wooded area where there are no residents. People and pets should avoid the area as sewer water can be contaminated. Some of it flowed into a nearby storm drain which enters Morgan Creek, a tributary into Jordan Lake in the Cape Fear River Basin.

We are investigating the pipe break and will share updates as they become available. Our team is working to repair the pipe. Many factors, including weather, can impact the repair schedule. We notified the Department of Environmental Quality about the overflow Friday evening and the Division is reviewing the matter.

There are no impacts on drinking water. OWASA’s drinking water and wastewater systems are not connected. The wastewater system also remains fully operational; residents can continue to flush toilets. Updates on the Rogerson Drive repair will be posted to owasa.org. For customer assistance, please call 919-968-4421.