‘Kind of crazy’: Local businesses impacted by massive water line rupture

CHARLOTTE — A water main break in southwest Charlotte forced many businesses across the city to close for the night on Monday, and some businesses had to turn customers away on Tuesday as well.

Officials asked impacted businesses to wait until test results on their water come back before using non-boiled water.

Channel 9 received numerous complaints about water pressure issues and outages following Monday evening’s massive water main break in southwest Charlotte.

Eyewitness News crews spoke with Plaza Midwood businesses, including Soul Gastrolounge and Calle Sol, which were forced to close due to the water main break. Soul Gastrolounge said it reopened around 8 p.m. Monday, but owner Andy Kastanas told Channel 9 the night was still extremely frustrating.

“I just can’t believe the city doesn’t have any better measures to handle things like this,” Kastanas said. “One water main that pretty much affects the whole city. That’s kind of crazy.”

In uptown Charlotte, 5Church announced it too was closed for the night. Several Charlotte-Mecklenburg Libraries also closed due to plumbing issues.

On Tuesday, Pinky’s Westside Grill posted on its Facebook page that it would be closed until further notice. The owner told Channel 9 he decide to close the restaurant out of an abundance of caution. He said workers had to throw out about $1000 worth of food last night in an effort to protect their patrons.

He went on to say he would monitor updates to the water situation and planned to reopen Pinky’s Wednesday.

Harris Teeter sent an email to its customers on Tuesday stating that the boil water advisory would impact a handful of its stores. During the advisory, portions of its meat, seafood, fresh foods and produce departments in impacted stores will be operating with limited product availability. As soon as the advisory is lifted, all departments will go back to operating as normal.

Airport restaurants closed on Monday but the airport said pre-packaged food was still available. At one point, airport officials had to instruct airlines to tell their passengers to use the bathrooms on the plane.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said the 911 system was overwhelmed and asked that residents call 911 only for emergencies that require immediate assistance.

Charlotte Water Director Angela Charles said on Tuesday that she did not have an estimate on how many people were impacted but said businesses that were impacted should wait until the lab results come in before using non-boiled water. Those test results are expected to come back by Wednesday.

[WATCH BELOW: Water main break (Credit: Hudson Hower via Twitter)]

Channel 9 anchor Damany Lewis also spoke with Ryan Register, owner and operator of McKoy’s Smokehouse and Saloon, who said they had to cancel a party that was scheduled for Monday night. The restaurant gave customers paper plates and plastic utensils so they didn’t have to wash dishes Monday, and on Tuesday, they used bottled water.

Register said he was happy the break didn’t happen on one of McKoy’s busiest days.

“My positive is it didn’t happen on a Friday or Saturday night, it happened on a Monday,” Register said. “Everything that is going on in the world, you try to find the positive.”

UNCC says on-campus water determined safe for use

As a result of the water line break, much of the city was placed under a boil water advisory, including some buildings on campus.

The city was advising caution for those living in the areas that lost water pressure on Monday. The water is still safe for showering and hand washing, but people should not consume water without boiling it while the advisory is in place.

UNCC officials initially said that if boiling water is not possible, such as in residence halls, students should use bottled water for drinking and brushing their teeth.

Around noon on Tuesday, the university said that after “multiple tests of the water supply and in consultation with Charlotte Water, on-campus water has been determined to be safe for use -- including from water fountains and bottle-filling stations.”

The University will continue to test campus water regularly until the larger advisory is lifted.

(WATCH BELOW: Water service restored, boil water advisory in place)