Customers in north Chapel Hill and Carrboro may notice water pressure changes and discoloration in late September due to testing of pumps

On Tuesday and Wednesday, September 24th and 25th, OWASA customers in a northern area of Chapel Hill and Carrboro may notice pressure changes and/or discoloration of water due to testing of some new pumps in northwest Carrboro. (Weather or other factors may affect the timetable for the testing.)

Discoloration, which can result from stirring up iron particles that have settled in water pipes, may also appear in drinking water for a few days after the testing.

Customers who notice discoloration are asked to run cold water from a faucet or spigot for 5 to 10 minutes. If this does not clear up the water, please call OWASA at 919-537-4292 before 3 PM on a weekday, or 919-968-4421 after 3 PM or on a weekend. The water discoloration may also appear in the ice in ice makers. Customers can use discolored ice to water plants, etc.

OWASA asks customers not to wash to light colored clothes Tuesday and Wednesday. Customers who experience “red” water may run a couple of empty or dark loads through the washing machine first.

The map below shows the area where customers may notice pressure changes or discoloration.

The purpose of the testing is to make sure that the new pumps are working properly. In the future, OWASA will use the new pumps to maintain adequate water flows and pressure in the north part of Chapel Hill and Ccarrboro during maintenance of water tanks near Piney Mountain Road and Emily Road in Chapel Hill, and in certain other conditions.

OWASA plans to have its elevated water tank near Piney Mountain Road cleaned and painted this fall as part of normal water system maintenance. This work will last 3 to 4 months and will also involve the potential for pressure changes and water discoloration. The utility will also publicize this work when the starting date is scheduled.

For more information:

  • Jeremy Fireline, P.E., Utilities Engineer, 919-537-4249 or
  • Stuart Carson, P.E., Engineering Manager—Capital Improvements Program, 919-537-4247 or