Is Charlotte Tap Water Safe to Drink?


Is Charlotte Tap Water Safe to Drink?

If you live in Charlotte, North Carolina, you may be wondering if the tap water is safe to drink. The answer is yes!

The tap water in Charlotte, North Carolina is safe to drink. The city has its own water treatment plant that purifies drinking water for the city’s residents and visitors. The water is regularly tested and meets all federal and state standards. Several contaminants were detected in the water at concentrations that are below standards.

In this article, we discuss the Charlotte public water supply system including how they treat the water. We review the city’s water quality, its overall safety, and specific contaminants that are in their tap water.

Continue reading to learn more about Charlotte’s tap water and your health.

Related articles:
Is Pittsburgh Tap Water Safe to Drink?

Is Charlotte Tap Water Safe to DrinkCharlotte NC Water Supply System

Charlotte Water is the local public utility that manages the city’s water. They conduct routine sampling as required by the EPA under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The results of these tests are available to the public.

Does Charlotte tap water have PFAS in it?

Charlotte tested its water supply for PFAS compounds in 2019. They tested two water sources:

  1. N05-EP for Dukes WTP
  2. F01-EP for Franklin WTP

The water sample collected at the Franklin water treatment plant had the following PFAS chemicals in it:

  1. Perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA): 2.4 parts per trillion (ppt)
  2. Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS): 2.2 ppt

The EPA has not established a national drinking water standard for PFAS compounds. They recently announced interim, updated drinking water health advisories for two of these chemicals:

  • PFOA = 0.004 ppt (interim updated health advisory)
  • PFOS = 0.02 ppt (interim updated health advisory)
  • GenX chemicals = 10 ppt (final health advisory)
  • PFBS = 2,000 ppt (final health advisory)

The concentration of PFOS (2.2 ppt) in Charlotte’s water supply is above the EPA’s interim health advisory of 0.02 ppt.

Read my article about how to remove PFAS from drinking water.

Does Charlotte tap water have lead in it?

Charlotte’s tap water does not have lead in it. The city has a corrosion control program to prevent lead and copper from leaching from old pipes into the water. The most recent lead sampling result was non-detect (i.e., 0).

Does Charlotte tap water have organic compounds in it?

Charlotte’s tap water does not have any organic compounds in it. The city tests for VOCs and SVOCs annually to ensure that the water meets state and federal standards. The most recent organic compound sampling results were all non-detect (i.e., 0).

Does Charlotte tap water have heavy metals in it?

Charlotte’s tap water has concentrations of chromium at a level of 0.0668 ppb. The city sampled two locations for heavy metals in 2019. They tested two water sources:

  1. N05-EP for Dukes WTP
  2. F01-EP for Franklin WTP

The water sample from the Dukes water treatment plant had 0.2 ppb of chromium in it. The EPA set the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for chromium at 100 ppb. The MCL is the national drinking water standard – any amount of chromium below this level is considered safe.

Does Charlotte tap water have disinfection byproducts in it?

Charlotte’s tap water has several disinfection byproducts (DBPs) in it. They tested their water in 2019 for DBPs from two locations – the Dukes WTP and the Franklin WTP.

The Dukes water treatment plant sample had the following DBPs in it:

  • Bromochloroacetic acid – 3.7 ppb
  • Bromodichloroacetic acid – 1.4 ppb
  • Dichloroacetic acid – 10 ppb
  • 9 Trichloroacetic acid – 4.6 ppb
  • Total HAA5 – 14.6 ppb

The Franklin water treatment plant sample had the following DBPs in it:

  • Bromochloroacetic acid – 2.1 ppb
  • Bromodichloroacetic acid – 1.0 ppb
  • Dichloroacetic acid – 6.3 ppb
  • 9 Trichloroacetic acid – 3.9 ppb
  • Total HAA5 – 10.2 ppb

The MCL for HAA5 is 60 parts per billion (ppb) and for TTHM is 80 ppb. All samples for DPBs were below these drinking water limits.

Read my article about removing trihalomethanes from water using activated carbon.

Charlotte’s Water Supply System

Charlotte NC Water Treatment Plant
Charlotte has three water treatment plants to purify their drinking water.

The city of Charlotte has its own water supply system. The system includes three water treatment plants, several reservoirs, and a network of 4,200 miles of pipes.

The water treatment plants purify the water before it is distributed to homes and businesses. The city’s water is regularly tested and meets all federal and state standards.

Here is a snapshot of the Charlotte public water system:

  • provides over 107 million gallons of water to approximately 1 million people every day
  • maintains more than 4,200 miles of water mains
  • serves more than 285,000 customers
  • performs more than 200,000 water quality tests every year

Where does Charlotte get its drinking water

Charlotte gets its water from two main sources, the Catawba River and Mountain Island Lake. These water sources are part of the Catawba-Wateree River Basin.

This basin provides water for more than 1.5 million people in the Charlotte area.

In 2006, Charlotte Water withdrew nearly 420 million gallons of water to meet the city’s water and energy needs.

Treatment plants in Charlotte

The Charlotte water utility operates three water treatment plants. Collectively, they treat an average of 110 million gallons a day for 750,000 people in Mecklenburg County.

Every day, on average, 108 million gallons of water is removed from the Lee S. Dukes, Franklin or Vest Water Treatment facilities. The water is subjected to a series of steps to guarantee that it is safe, clean, and ready to be delivered via 4,200 miles of water mains to the public.

Charlotte has three water treatment plants.

  1. Franklin Water Treatment Plant – Located at 5200 Brookshire Blvd. This plant provides over 100 million gallons of drinking water a day.
  2. Lee Dukes Water Treatment Plant – Located at 7980 Babe Stillwell Farm Rd. This plant treats about 18 million gallons a day.
  3. Vest Water Treatment Plant – This historic facility is located at 820 Beatties Ford Rd. It can be manually operated, which is ideal in an emergency.

Treatment technologies used in Charlotte

Treated water towers in Charlotte
Charlotte has a network of water towers to store treated tap water.

Charlotte’s water treatment plants use a variety of processes to make sure the tap water is safe.

The raw water is treated in three steps:

  1. Coagulation and flocculation – aluminum sulfate (alum) is used to help dirt and other particles clump together so they can be more easily removed from the water.
  2. Settling – the water is allowed to sit so the heavier particles (called sediment) can settle to the bottom.
  3. Filtration – the water is passed through filters made of sand and carbon to remove smaller particles.

Following treatment, the water is further processed as follows:

  1. Chlorination. After the water is treated, chlorine is added for disinfection to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present in the drinking water. Chlorine is used to prevent bacterial contamination and keep the water safe between the treatment plant and the end users.
  2. Fluoridation. Fluoride is also added to help prevent tooth decay. Charlotte Water maintains the fluoride concentration at approximately 0.7 milligrams per liter ss recommended by the American Dental Association.
  3. Corrosion control. The pH of the treated water is adjusted to between 8.0 to 9.2 using lime. This is done to boost the alkalinity and pH of the drinking water to provide optimal corrosion control in the water distribution system.​​ Corrosion control is necessary to prevent lead and copper from leaching into drinking water from household plumbing.

Treated water is pumped to a network of water towers located throughout the city. From there, it flows by gravity through water mains to customers’ homes and businesses. Towers help distribute treated water to customers, provide storage for fire protection, and maintain pressure for the distribution system.

Charlotte Water Quality

On whole, Charlotte has high quality tap water. The water is safe to drink and meets or exceeds all state and federal drinking water regulations. However, there are a few things to be aware of:

Lead: Older homes and buildings may have lead pipes or solder in the plumbing that can leach into the drinking water. Charlotte Water adds corrosion control chemicals to the treated water

Does Charlotte tap water taste good?

Taste is a very subjective topic, but many people say that Charlotte’s tap water tastes great. The water is chlorinated, so it tends to smell like a swimming pool. This is the case with most public water supplies.

Water is considered hard if it measures more than 125 parts per million or 7.5 grains per gallon of trace minerals. Charlotte’s tap water has a hardness measure of 30 parts per million, or 1.8 grains per gallon, which is considered soft.

Is Charlotte water hard or soft?

Charlotte’s water is soft. The average testing results shows the water hardness is 30 parts per million, or grains per gallon.

Water is considered hard if it has more than 125 ppm or 7.5 grains per gallon of calcium and magnesium.

Does Charlotte add fluoride to its water?

Charlotte adds fluoride to its water to help prevent tooth decay. The fluoride concentration is maintained at approximately 0.7 mg/L as recommended by the American Dental Association.

The level of fluoride in Charlotte’s water is well within the EPA’s Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level (SMCL) of 2.0 mg/L.

Does Charlotte add chlorine to its water?

Charlotte disinfects its drinking water with chlorine. Chlorine is added to the water at the treatment plant to prevent bacterial contamination and keep the water safe between the treatment plant and customer’s homes.

Does Charlotte tap water make good beer?

Water hardness, pH and trace mineral concentrations are important water quality parameters that influence the taste and quality of beer. Sulfates, sodium, and chloride also have an effect on the overall taste of beer. Charlotte’s tap water typically averages less than 10 mg/L sulfate, less than 5 mg/L sodium and chloride of less than 8 mg/L.

Many home brewers add minerals to their water to enhance the taste of their favorite beer.

Awards for Charlotte’s water

Charlotte’s water ranks for several key metrics, including:

  • Satisfaction with Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility – 39th
  • Increase/Decrease in Number of Water Quality Violations – 12th
  • Share of Homes Lacking Plumbing or Kitchen Facilities – 7th
  • Share of Homes with Sewage Disposal Breakdowns in Last 3 Months – 15th

Charlotte NC Tap Water Costs

The average water and sewer bill for Charlotte residential customers is $72.88 per month. This cost is based on 5,236 gallons of water being used.

Fees for Charlotte water

Residential customers in Charlotte pay the following fees for their tap water:

Water Usage

  • Tier 1 (1-4 Ccf ): $1.78/Ccf
  • Tier 2 (5-8 Ccf): $2.30/Ccf
  • Tier 3 (9-16 Ccf): $5.32/Ccf
  • Tier 4 (Over 16 Ccf): $10.08/Ccf

Sewer Usage

  • $5.46 Per Ccf of Water Used (up to 16 Ccf)

Fixed Fees

  • Water: $5.30/month
  • Sewer: $5.30/month

FAQs

Do I need to filter my tap water?

Tap water in Charlotte meets the EPA’s rules for quality, so you do not need to filter your water unless you have a personal preference.

What is the number one water pollutant in Charlotte?

The water pollutant that is most often detected in Charlotte’s public water is haloacetic acids. Haloacetic acids are disinfection byproducts that are formed when chlorine reacts with organic material in the raw water. The average concentration of haloacetic acids in Charlotte’s water was 24.8 ppb.

Should I test my water in Charlotte?

The Charlotte water utility tests the water annually for over 100 different contaminants. You can view the results of these tests on the City of Charlotte website. You do not need to test your water unless you have a specific reason to do so. In general, Charlotte’s tap water is safe to drink.

Read my article about how to test your water for PFAS.

Is Charlotte still under a boil water advisory?

Charlotte had a boil water advisory in October of 2021 due to a break in a 36-inch, concrete water main. The advisory has been lifted and citizens were notified that it is safe to drink the water.

Can I drink tap water in Charlotte NC

Charlotte’s tap water is safe to drink. The water meets all state and federal drinking water standards.

Final Take on Charlotte NC Tap Water

The Charlotte tap water is safe to drink. The city has its own water supply for all of its residential and commercial customers.

The city has 3 treatment plants that purify drinking water. These facilities use coagulation and flocculation following by settling and filtration to treat the raw water. This water is further treated using chlorination and fluoridation. They also adjust the pH for corrosion control to prevent copper and lead from leaching out of the water pipes.

The water is regularly tested and meets all federal and state standards. The water does have detectable concentrations of some PFAS compounds, chromium, and disinfection byproducts.

Chief Guru

Richard Boch is a chemical engineer responsible for designing water filtration systems for industrial and residential customers. He has more than 20 years of experience with ion exchange, activated carbon, and reverse osmosis. Richard's expertise has made him a go-to source for municipalities and businesses looking to improve their water quality. When he's not working, Richard enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children. You can also follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Recent Posts