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Energy & Environment

Annual Report Says Charlotte Water Makes The Grade

The annual drinking water quality report is out from Charlotte Water, and it shows there’s nothing to worry about here.

It definitely won't make the kind of headlines coming from Flint, Mich., Charlotte Water director Barry Gullet said Monday.

"There’s a lot of negative publicity about drinking water from other places across the country and we want to be sure that our customers know that the water here in Charlotte Mecklenburg is great and they should feel very comfortable in using it and drinking it," Gullet said during a tour of the Charlotte Water testing lab off Billy Graham Parkway.

Flint's troubles were related to old lead pipes.  That's not a problem here: Most of the system's 4,200 miles of pipes are relatively new, added as the region grew in recent decades.  And although aging infrastructure is a challenge, Gullet said Charlotte Water spends about $10 million a year on repair and replacement.

He points that out because he's hearing more concerns from customers.

Credit David Boraks / WFAE
Charlotte Water director Barry Gullet talked to reporters Monday.

Charlotte's water comes from Mountain Island Lake and Lake Norman, along the Catawba River. It's tested constantly, Gullet said

"We do water quality testing at multiple points through the system," he said. "We start by sampling and testing what we call the raw water. It's the untreated water that we take out of the lakes."

More than 150,000 tests last year showed Charlotte’s Water meets state and federal standards for 150 potential contaminants, including bacteria and chemicals.

Last August, that testing flagged the only major incident of 2015. Bromide used for air pollution control at Duke Energy power plants found its way into local lakes. Duke eventually changed its process, and the system returned to normal. And despite the contamination, Charlotte’s water still met EPA standards, Gullet says.

The 2015 report is being sent this month to all of Charlotte Water’s 843,000 customers. It's also available, along with test results and other water quality data, on the utility's website at charlottewater.org