Charlotte Airport Ran Out Of Water: Here’s What Happened

A water main in the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, broke yesterday, causing multiple outages across the city. One of the affected buildings was the city’s main airport, Charlotte Douglas, which caused a temporary ground stop to operations. Passengers were advised to use the restrooms on the aircraft before getting off the plane.

Charlotte Airport Ran Out Of Water: Here’s What Happened
Charlotte Airport had to call a temporary ground stop after losing its water supply. Photo: Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Water main break

At around 6 pm yesterday, a major water main in the City of Charlotte ruptured, sending water cascading into the sky. The significant break took place at 1400 Remount Road, which meant the water authority needed to shut down the supply to several zip codes to repair the damage.

Hundreds of homes were left without water, as was the city’s airport – Charlotte Douglas. A local resident captured the dramatic eruption of water from a reasonably safe distance:

Over at Charlotte Douglas, the lack of water pressure meant passengers were unable to wash hands or use the restroom before or after their flight. Given the hygiene problem this would present, and not knowing how long the issue would persist, the FAA called for a temporary ground stop to flights until more became clear.

A passenger, Sam Lodge, told Fox News that passengers were being advised to use the bathroom on the plane before getting off. He said,

“I came in from Orlando and when we landed, we were told: A) there’s no water. B) Use the restrooms before you get off. And C) they’re not allowing any more planes to land.”

At the airport, restaurants and bathrooms were closed temporarily. Some flights were delayed, while others were rerouted away from the facility.

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Problem fixed

At around 8 pm last night, Charlotte Airport issued a notice that water had returned to all restrooms and that lines were being flushed, and cleaning processes were underway. The ground stop was lifted at around the same time. Flight Aware notes that 19 flights were canceled to or from CLT in the past 24 hours. It is not known if all 19 were directly related to the water issue.

At around 1 am, Charlotte Water confirmed that the service had been restored, but for some residents, it will not be the end of the disruption. The water board advised that anyone who had experienced a loss of pressure should boil any water they intend to consume, whether for cleaning teeth, cooking, or drinking. The authority did not specify for how long this precaution should continue, but confirmed it is continuing to test the water supply over the coming days.

Although things seem to be slowly getting back to normal, many residents are reporting off-color water and are worried about safety. The advisory to boil drinking water remains in place.