Category Archives: Water Quality

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 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


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.


For the full 2018 Consumer confidence Report visit our website.

Lake Management for Aquatic Weeds – Hydrilla

Charlotte Water owns and operates two drinking water intakes as the water supply for our community; one at Lake Norman and another at Mountain Island Lake. Aquatic weeds can pose a nuisance to water suppliers at their drinking water intakes by clogging pumps or as a biological contaminant that must be treated. There are a variety of ways to manage aquatic weeds. Complete eradication is often impossible but suppression is achievable.


Hydrilla is a non-native aquatic plant that forms nearly impenetrable mats of stems and leaves at the surface of the water. Like many non-native species, Hydrilla crowds out other vegetation and grows rapidly. It was introduced in the U.S. decades ago as an aquarium plant but has taken over many water reservoirs nationally through accidental release. Its growing season is spring and summer; it is dormant mid-fall through the winter.


Though Hydrilla in local waterways has been managed for many years, annual biological controls have not been adequate to keep up with this season’s growth of the aquatic weed. Particular coves on Lake Norman are overwhelmed with the aquatic weed.


Biological – Grass Carp

The typical method of managing Hydrilla in Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake has been to stock coves with the Grass Carp fish. Periodically, tens of thousands of Grass Carp are released so that they may digest Hydrilla and keep the aquatic weed suppressed. The last batch of carp was released into Lake Norman in May 2018 in partnership with the Lake Norman Marine Commission, Duke Energy, Charlotte Water, and the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in consultation with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

Chemical – Aquatic Herbicide

Specially formulated herbicides designed for application in water may also reduce the Hydrilla infestation. For herbicide application to be most effective, it must occur during the growing season (spring, summer) and by a licensed pesticide applicator.

Physical – Machinery Dredging

Machine dredging of the lake bottom is possible, but Hydrilla grows to depths of approximately 10 feet. Due to the cost and likely subsequent erosion, the use of heavy equipment to dredge or rake Hydrilla is not suggested. Also, mechanical control of Hydrilla only provides temporary relief and likely spreads the weeds to other areas of the lake through the release of plant fragments.


At this time, Charlotte Water, Duke Energy, the Lake Norman Marine Commission, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services, and NC Department of Environmental Quality are relying on increased biological methods to suppress the weed. The group plans on releasing additional Grass Carp fish in the spring.

This method takes time but can be effective. In addition, the growing season for Hydrilla ends in the early fall, and the weed will go dormant.

We are encouraging residents to give the Grass Carp fish the time they need to ingest the weed.

In order to determine the number of Grass Carp fish that will be released in the spring, researchers at NC State will be surveying Lake Norman in the next couple of months to get an accurate acreage of Hydrilla.


Can I apply an herbicide in waters adjacent to my property? 

If residents plan on applying an herbicide please contact a qualified, licensed aquatic applicator to apply an herbicide approved by the EPA for use in aquatic settings. Please note that stakeholders from Charlotte Water, Duke Energy, the Lake Norman Marine Commission, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services, and NC Department of Environmental Quality do not advise property owners use this method.

What steps will be taken to protect the community from any negative impacts of applying the herbicide?

If property owners use herbicides, Charlotte Water is requiring all applications of herbicide be applied at least one quarter mile away from drinking water supply intakes. The herbicide used should be approved for use in aquatic situations to protect aquatic life in the area.