Category Archives: Water Quality

The Value of Water

Charlotte Water participated in the US Water Alliance’s national awareness campaign called Imagine a Day Without Water by producing a series of short videos that highlight the value of water in our region and the collaboration needed to plan for things like droughts, emergencies and even the extensive growth happening in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Our region has unique shared water resources, especially the vast network of lakes that are used for drinking water, energy and recreation.

We are grateful for the hard work of so many regional stakeholders that protect this precious resource. Visit our YouTube playlist, The Value of Water, to watch the full series, with the introductory video below.

Charlotte Water Response to COVID-19

As the community’s primary provider of drinking water, Charlotte Water realizes the vital service we provide to the community. As such, the utility has taken the following steps in these unprecedented times to further prioritize uninterrupted safe, reliable and clean drinking water service for the health and welfare of our residents.

Discontinue Service Disconnections – On March 12, Charlotte Water discontinued service disconnections due to non-payment. Those customers who were disconnected at the time have since been re-connected. Customers should continue to make payments to avoid higher bills later.

Suspend Collection of Late Fees – On March 23, Charlotte Water suspended assessment of late fees associated with delinquent accounts in order to further reduce any hardship on customers. Customers who need assistance paying their Charlotte Water bill can contact 311 (704-336-7600) to learn about payment arrangement options as well as other community resources available to assist. Customers can also visit charlottewater.org to review available payment methods.

Shift Work Priorities – In a heightened effort to maintain constant water service, Charlotte Water has reassigned crews to focus on work that will cause the fewest interruptions in water service to customers. Steps taken to avoid service outages include:

  • postponing non-critical work,
  • installing temporary water connections where possible,
  • delaying low priority leak repairs, and
  • performing other important work that doesn’t require a water service outage.

Only in the most extreme cases of emergency and public safety is Charlotte Water doing work that would cause a temporary water service outage. In those instances, we are minimizing the outage duration and providing bottled water to the affected customers. Where practical, overnight work is also considered.

The steps taken by Charlotte Water allow the utility to comply with current NC Executive Orders, to keep contractors and employees working on important infrastructure maintenance, and, most importantly, to provide a service so critical to our community right now.

Your Garden Hose May Affect The Taste of Your Tap Water.

Sadly, this summer heat is not fading as we move into fall. Did you know that hot weather and your garden hose can cause funky drinking water tastes and odors in your plumbing?

Here are some pro tips to help you with this issue:

  • Disconnect the hose and run cold water from your faucet for a few minutes to flush the pipes.
  • Need a sip of water on a hot day? Get it from your internal sources (refrigerator, pitcher) instead of a garden-variety garden hose which aren’t manufactured for delivering potable (drinking) water.

If the taste or odor is still present after detaching the garden hose from external spigots, please call 311 or 704-336-7600. You can learn more about our water quality at charlottewater.org

 

What are disinfection byproducts?

Disinfection byproducts (DBP) are formed in our distribution system when chlorine used to disinfect drinking water reacts with naturally occurring organic matter in your water.

There are many types of DBP including TTHM (trihalomethane), HAA5 (haloacetic acid), bromate and chlorite.  In all there are 9 types of DBP and 5 are regulated by the North Carolina Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) through rules prescribed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

According to public health officials, the regulations have been established because laboratory animal testing indicates high consumption of some DBP over an extended period of time (equivalent to 20 – 30 years in humans) seems to be associated with a higher risk of some types of liver and kidney cancers in those animals.  However, continued research has shown inconsistent results.  The World Health Organization concluded there is not enough evidence to prove that DBPs are carcinogens, but there is not enough research to classify them as non-carcinogenic. Nonetheless, U.S. EPA has made DBP regulations more stringent several times, most recently in 2012/2013.

Since we use chlorine to disinfect our water, TTHMs and HAA5s may be present. TTHM/HAA5 levels increase over time if the water is not used and also increase as temperatures rise. So, the highest TTHM/HAA5 levels are generally found during the hottest summer months in the parts of the water distribution system that are the farthest distance from the treatment plants, where the water has been in the pipes for the longest amount of time.

It is a constant challenge our staff face. State certified operators continuously monitor water quality to determine the amount of chlorine necessary to inhibit bacteria growth, while limiting the formation of DBP. Staff uses various methods to ensure that your water is disinfected and THM/HAA5 levels are tested throughout the distribution system. Reducing organic carbon prior to disinfection can significantly decrease the level of DBP. Once water has reached the distribution system reducing water age is the best method to reduce DBP numbers, and this is done by flushing water through the pipes via the hydrants.

Results from the 2018 Consumer Confidence Report show that on average DBP were well below the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) prescribed by the EPA.

DPBChart2018

For the full 2018 Consumer confidence Report visit our website.