Most Statesville customers were without water for several hours Wednesday morning because of a major water line break near the city’s water treatment plant on Pump Station Road.
The system is operating again, but a boil water advisory is in effect until further notice, city officials said.
The situation forced state and federal courts and numerous businesses to close for the day. Mitchell Community College canceled all classes at its Statesville campus. The Iredell County Health Department was working with and advising local restaurants.
City workers delivered bottled water to the Iredell Council on Aging nutrition site to be distributed by council volunteers. The city planned to arrange additional bottled water distribution sites.
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The break was found at about 3 a.m. in a field near the plant. City officials have not said what might have caused the break.
The city cautioned against drinking the water, cooking, preparing or rinsing food with it or using it to make ice.
“It is OK to shower or bathe in the water, as long as you don’t drink it,” the city said in a noon statement. “If your water appears cloudy, run the faucet until it clears.”
Testing has begun on the quality of the water, according to the statement. “We must now wait 24 hours before determining if we can lift the boil water advisory,” the city said in the statement.
The city has about 25,700 residents.
Earlier Wednesday, officials said periods of low or no pressure in the distribution system increase the potential for back siphonage and introduction of bacteria into the water system. That’s why the state Division of Water Resources advised that consumers boil all water used for human consumption, including teeth brushing, or use bottled water.
Vigorous boiling for one minute should kill any disease-causing organisms that may be present in the water, officials said.