An outside consultant determined human error was responsible for setting off a recent water crisis in Chapel Hill in early February. At first, fluoride levels 50% above allowed tolerances were detected in water produced by the Orange Water and Sewer Authority. A technician had been operating the plant solo, his partner being out for the day for training and a dental appointment. Furthermore, the technician was overseeing contractors at the plant, so when he accidentally hit a button that started pumping the fluoride into the treated water, the problem went undetected for three hours. Adding insult to injury, a 12-inch water main broke the next day, spilling between 1.2 and 2.0 million gallons and draining the system to dangerously low levels. The county health director ordered all restaurants served by the system closed, and the county emergency services department instructed citizens to use only bottled water. 80,000 customers were affected, with schools and restaurants closing as well. Another consultant concluded the two incidents were likely not related.