Final phase of North Fork Waterline Bypass Project installation to trigger slight system-wide impact

workers in ditch with large water pipes


As the City of Asheville moves into the final phase of the North Fork Waterline Bypass Project, we want to let everyone know about key dates for the final installations.

This phase of the project involves a tie-in to a 36-inch transmission line very near the source at the dam.  To do this, Water Resources will need to turn off a section of one of two large waterlines overnight for a 7- to 10-hour period starting at 11 p.m. Nov. 8 and ending during the morning of Nov. 9. While this is not expected to result in an outage, it may result in lower water pressure. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience to our customers. However, the timing of a Friday night into Saturday morning is designed to minimize water loss impacts the largest number of customers. 

Begun earlier this year, the North Fork Waterline Bypass Project involves the installation of a third water transmission line near the North Fork Dam. This additional transmission line has been identified as a critical addition to the water delivery system, designed to protect our community from a system-wide water loss during a major flood, as what happened during the Flood of 2004.

A second similar installation is scheduled for Nov. 22.


Boil water advisory expected

Shutting down this section of the waterline will trigger a boil water advisory for all Asheville water customers on Nov. 9, due to its proximity to the water treatment plant. This is a standard procedure done as a precaution while the water is tested for bacteria in our labs. A boil water advisory usually lasts 24 hours, and then is lifted with a notification.

How will customers be notified? Two ways:

  •         Through the AVL Alert system, which sends a text message, phone message and/or email to customers who have signed up for the alerts.
  •         Water quality advisories are posted on the front of the City of Asheville website at this link. If you don’t have the link handy, just Google City of Asheville and you will find “water qualities and advisories” posted on the top landing page.

We encourage all residents to sign up for AVL Alert, whether you own or rent your residence. Signing up is quick and easy. AVL Alert allows the City of Asheville to provide our community with the information that they want to receive via the communication methods that they choose. By enrolling in the system you are automatically subscribed to emergency alerts.

What should you do during a boil water advisory? Water customers are encouraged to vigorously boil tap water for 1 minute before consuming it. During this time, City staff will be performing laboratory testing; the advisory will be lifted when tests confirm the possibility of risk is not present. This does not mean that the water is contaminated, but that the possibility exists.


The potential for water discoloration

Once pressure returns, there is the possibility that some discolored water or air could be present in the waterlines. Customers are advised to run cold water for 5-10 minutes or until the water is clear. If your water does not clear within 30 minutes, please let us know by calling Customer Service at 828-251-1122.

During and after incidents of discolored water in the spring, Water Resources proactively worked in partnership with the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) to identify any additional measures that may mitigate discolored water.

Now additional waterline flushing measures are in place to reduce the potential for discolored water during installations or even when crews are repairing breaks in the 1,800 miles of waterlines the City of Asheville maintains.

In September, water customers experienced minimal disruption during some major construction installations related to this project. Through careful project management and increased system flushing customer impacts — such as outages and discolored water — were minimal.

We hope you don’t experience discolored water, but the possibility exists. Manganese sediment in pipes was responsible for discolored water during an emergency repair earlier this year.


We’re here for you

We’d like to remind everyone that City of Asheville water is scientifically tested multiple times a day to ensure safety for our community, a responsibility we take seriously.

We realize that people may still be concerned, following the discolored water that occurred earlier this year following an emergency water transmission repair. That’s why the City is working to be proactive and transparent about the communication with our entire community about this project.

We’d also like everyone to know that Water Resources has instituted a pipe scouring and flushing schedule throughout the system to help cut down on sediment in our pipes and lessen the potential for future discolored water.

 We’re especially excited to note that at the conclusion of this water transmission bypass installation project, the City will have a better water system designed to enhance our ability to provide water service to our customers during major flooding events, and greatly lessening the possibility that there could be a system-wide interruption of service. We will be better protected as a community.