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2019 Tests Found No Worries With Unregulated Chemicals in Charlotte's Water

Drinking water in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County got good grades again in 2019.
David Boraks
Drinking water in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County got good grades again in 2019.

Drinking water in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County met federal standards again in 2019, and regular testing also found no problems with unregulated chemicals. 

Charlotte Water mailed out its annual drinking water quality report this week. It summarizes the results of 250,000 tests during the year for more than 150 potential contaminants regulated by the state and federal governments. None of the substances found in the water - from bacteria to chemicals - reached dangerous levels. 

Charlotte Water also has begun testing for 740 other potential contaminants that aren't regulated. Those include industrial chemicals such as GenX, which has been found in some eastern North Carolina water supplies. No GenX was detected here, but trace amounts of 26 other contaminants were found. None were at worrisome levels, said Charlotte Water spokeswoman Louise Bhavnani. 

"The tests found that there is not a lot of contaminants in our water that we need to be concerned about. The few items that we actually did get positives on were very, very, very low levels. Nothing that would concern us," Bhavnani said.

Bhavnani said Charlotte Water will continue testing for those chemicals to make sure the situation hasn't changed.

Lead was found in just one Mecklenburg household last year. Charlotte Water says it came from household plumbing. 

And some of the most dangerous drinking water contaminants weren't found at all, according to the report, including the tiny parasites cryptosporidium and giardia that can cause disease.

The federal Safe Drinking Water Act requires public systems to publish annual reports for customers.  Charlotte's water comes from Mountain Island Lake and Lake Norman along the Catawba River.

You can find the report online at CharlotteWater.org

David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.