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Is Charlotte Tap Water Safe to Drink?

Yes! Generally Safe to Drink*

LAST UPDATED: 7:47 pm, August 11, 2022

Table of Contents

Can You Drink Tap Water in Charlotte?

Yes, Charlotte's tap water is generally considered safe to drink as Charlotte has no active health based violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) that we are aware of. Other factors such as lead piping in a home, or low levels of pollutants on immunocompromised individuals, should also be considered, however. To find more recent info we might have, you can check out our boil water notice page, the city's water provider website, or Charlotte's local Twitter account.

According the EPA’s ECHO database, from April 30, 2019 to June 30, 2022, Charlotte's water utility, Charlotte Water, had 0 violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. For more details on the violations, please see our violation history section below. The last violation for Charlotte was resolved on Feb. 28, 2015. This assessment is based on the Charlotte Water water system, other water systems in the city may have different results.

While tap water that meets the EPA health guidelines generally won’t make you sick to your stomach, it can still contain regulated and unregulated contaminants present in trace amounts that could potentially cause health issues over the long-run. These trace contaminants may also impact immunocompromised and vulnerable individuals.

The EPA is reviewing if it’s current regulations around pollutant levels in tap water are strict enough, and the health dangers posed by unregulated pollutants, like PFAS.

Water Quality Report for Charlotte Tap Water

The most recent publicly available numbers for measured contaminant levels in Charlotte tap water are in its 2020 Water Quality Report. As you can see, there are levels which the EPA considers to be acceptable, but being below the maximum allowable level doesn’t necessarily mean the water is healthy.

Lead in tap water, for example, is currently allowed at up to 15ppb by the EPA, but it has set the ideal goal for lead at zero. This highlights how meeting EPA standards doesn’t necessarily mean local tap water is healthy.

EPA regulations continue to change as it evaluates the long term impacts of chemicals and updates drinking water acceptable levels. The rules around arsenic, as well as, lead and copper are currently being re-evaluated.

There are also a number of "emerging" contaminants that are not currently. For example, PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), for which the EPA has issued a health advisory. PFAS are called "forever chemicals" since they tend not to break down in the environment or the human body and can accumulate over time.

We recommend looking at the contaminants present in Charlotte's water quality reports, or getting your home's tap water tested to see if you should be filtering your water.

Charlotte Tap Water Safe Drinking Water Act Violation History - Prior 10 Years

Below is a ten year history of violations for the water system named Charlotte Water for Charlotte in North Carolina. For more details please see the "What do these Violations Mean?" section below.

From Dec. 1, 2014 to Feb. 28, 2015, Charlotte had 2 non-health based Safe Drinking Water Act violations with the violation category being Monitoring and Reporting, more specifically, the violation code was Monitoring and Reporting (DBP) which falls into the Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule rule code group, and the Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule rule code family for the following contaminant codes: Total Haloacetic Acids (HAA5), TTHM.

Is there Lead in Charlotte Water?

Based on the EPA’s ECHO Database, 90% of the samples taken from the Charlotte water system, Charlotte Water, between sample start date and sample end date, were at or below, 0.0 mg/L of lead in Charlotte water. This is 0% of the 0.015 mg/L action level. This means 10% of the samples taken from Charlotte contained more lead.

While Charlotte water testing may have found 0.0 mg/L of lead in its water, that does not mean your water source has the same amount. The amount of lead in water in a city can vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood, or even building to building. Many buildings, particularly older ones, have lead pipes or service lines which can be a source of contamination. To find out if your home has lead, we recommend getting you water tested.

No amount of lead in water is healthy, only less dangerous. As lead accumulates in our bodies over time, even exposure to relatively small amounts can have negative health effects. For more information, please check out our Lead FAQ page.

Are there PFAS in Charlotte Tap Water?

Currently, testing tap water for PFAS isn’t mandated on a national level. We do have a list of military bases where there have been suspected or confirmed leaks. There appears to be at least one military base - Charlotte Douglas International Airport - near Charlotte with suspected leaks.

With many potential sources of PFAS in tap water across the US, the best information we currently have about which cities have PFAS in their water is this ewg map, which you can check to see if Charlotte has been evaluated for yet.

Our stance is better safe than sorry, and that it makes sense to try to purify the tap water just in case.

Charlotte SDWA Violation History Table - Prior 10 Years

Compliance Period Status Health-Based? Category Code Code Rule Code Contaminant Code Rule Group Code Rule Family Code
12/01/2014 - 02/28/2015 Resolved No Monitoring and Reporting (MR) Monitoring and Reporting (DBP) (27) Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (220) Total Haloacetic Acids (HAA5) (2456) Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (200) Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (220)
12/01/2014 - 02/28/2015 Resolved No Monitoring and Reporting (MR) Monitoring and Reporting (DBP) (27) Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (220) TTHM (2950) Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (200) Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (220)

What do these Violations Mean?

Safe Drinking Water Act Violations categories split into two groups, health based, and non-health based. Generally, health based violations are more serious, though non-health based violations can also be cause for concern.

Health Based Violations

  1. Maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) - maximum allowed contaminant level was exceeded.
  2. Maximum residual disinfectant levels (MRDLs) - maximum allowed disinfectant level was exceeded.
  3. Other violations (Other) - the exact required process to reduce the amounts of contaminants in drinking water was not followed.

Non-Health Based Violations

  1. Monitoring and reporting violations (MR, MON) - failure to conduct the required regular monitoring of drinking water quality, and/or to submit monitoring results on time.
  2. Public notice violations (Other) - failure to immediately alert consumers if there is a serious problem with their drinking water that may pose a risk to public health.
  3. Other violations (Other) - miscellaneous violations, such as failure to issue annual consumer confidence reports or maintain required records.

SDWA Table Key

Field Description
Compliance Period Dates of the compliance period.
Status Current status of the violation.
  • Resolved - The violation has at least one resolving enforcement action. In SDWIS, this indicates that either the system has returned to compliance from the violation, the rule that was violated was no longer applicable, or no further action was needed.
  • Archived - The violation is not Resolved, but is more than five years past its compliance period end date. In keeping with the Enforcement Response Policy, the violation no longer contributes to the public water system's overall compliance status. Unresolved violations are also marked as Archived when a system ceases operations (becomes inactive).
  • Addressed - The violation is not Resolved or Archived, and is addressed by one or more formal enforcement actions.
  • Unaddressed - The violation is not Resolved or Archived, and has not been addressed by formal enforcement.
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Health-Based? Whether the violation is health based.
Category Code
The category of violation that is reported.
  • TT - Treatment Technique Violation
  • MRDL - Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level
  • Other - Other Violation
  • MCL - Maximum Contaminant Level Violation
  • MR - Monitoring and Reporting
  • MON - Monitoring Violation
  • RPT - Reporting Violation
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Code A full description of violation codes can be accessed in the SDWA_REF_CODE_VALUES (CSV) table.
Contaminant Code A code value that represents a contaminant for which a public water system has incurred a violation of a primary drinking water regulation.
Rule Code Code for a National Drinking Water rule.
  • 110 - Total Coliform Rule
  • 121 - Surface Water Treatment Rule
  • 122 - Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule
  • 123 - Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule
  • 130 - Filter Backwash Rule
  • 140 - Ground Water Rule
  • 210 - Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 220 - Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 230 - Total Trihalomethanes
  • 310 - Volatile Organic Chemicals
  • 331 - Nitrates
  • 332 - Arsenic
  • 333 - Inorganic Chemicals
  • 320 - Synthetic Organic Chemicals
  • 340 - Radionuclides
  • 350 - Lead and Copper Rule
  • 410 - Public Notice Rule
  • 420 - Consumer Confidence Rule
  • 430 - Miscellaneous
  • 500 - Not Regulated
  • 111 - Revised Total Coliform Rule
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Rule Group Code Code that uniquely identifies a rule group.
  • 120 - Surface Water Treatment Rules
  • 130 - Filter Backwash Rule
  • 140 - Groundwater Rule
  • 210 - Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 220 - Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 230 - Total Trihalomethanes
  • 310 - Volatile Organic Chemicals
  • 320 - Synthetic Organic Chemicals
  • 330 - Inorganic Chemicals
  • 340 - Radionuclides
  • 350 - Lead and Copper Rule
  • 400 - Other
  • 500 - Not Regulated
  • 110 - Total Coliform Rules
  • 410 - Public Notice Rule
  • 420 - Consumer Confidence Rule
  • 430 - Miscellaneous
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Rule Family Code Code for rule family.
  • 100 - Microbials
  • 200 - Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
  • 300 - Chemicals
  • 400 - Other
  • 500 - Not Regulated
show details

For more clarification please visit the EPA's data dictionary.

Charlotte Water - Frequently Asked Questions

To contact customer service for the Charlotte water provider, Charlotte Water, please use the information below.
Already have an account?

Existing customers can login to their Charlotte Water account to pay their Charlotte water bill by clicking here.

Want to create a new account?

If you want to pay your Charlotte Water bill online and haven't made an account yet, you can create an account online. Please click here to create your account to pay your Charlotte water bill.

Want to pay without an account?

If you don't want to make an account, or can't remember your account, you can make a one-time payment towards your Charlotte water bill without creating an account using a one time payment portal with your account number and credit or debit card. Click here to make a one time payment.

Starting Your Service

Moving to a new house or apartment in Charlotte means you will often need to put the water in your name with Charlotte Water. In order to put the water in your name, please click the link to the start service form below. Start service requests for water bills typically take two business days.

Start Service Form

Want to create a new account?

Leaving your house or apartment in Charlotte means you will likely need to take your name off of the water bill with Charlotte Water. In order to take your name off the water bill, please click the link to the stop service form below. Stop service for water bills requests typically take two business days.

Stop Service Form

The estimated price of bottled water

$2.4 in USD (1.5-liter)


Charlotte tap water
  • Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility 17% Very Low
  • Water Pollution 33% Low
  • Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility 83% Very High
  • Water Quality 67% High

The above data is comprised of subjective, user submitted opinions about the water quality and pollution in Charlotte, measured on a scale from 0% (lowest) to 100% (highest).

Related FAQS

Charlotte Water Quality Report (Consumer Confidence Report)

The EPA mandates that towns and cities consistently monitor and test their tap water. They must report their findings in an annual Consumer Confidence Report. Below is the most recent water quality report from Charlotte's Water. If you would like to see the original version of the report, please click here.

Caring During COVID

Dear Neighbor,

Charlotte Water strives to be a trusted, responsible community partner that places the health and wellness of its customers above everything else.

In the year of the pandemic, you focused on taking care of you and your family. We remained on the job every single day, taking care of your water system and your water.

• There was no interruption of service, and we minimized planned disruptions to help ensure our neighbors had access to the health, wellness, and hygiene benefits of clean water.

• We fully supported and embraced the Governor’s order that prevented utilities from shutting off service to customers who were experiencing financial hardship.

• For our customers encountering financial hardships, we mobilized a dedicated Customer Care Team and strengthened our relationships with local non-profit service providers to find equitable solutions for them.

• We reallocated dozens of our employees from their typical duties

to make thousands of phone calls to customers who had fallen behind on payments to let them know about our new Payment Assistance Program.

If you or a neighbor are struggling during this hard time, let us know so we can help. Contact our Customer Care Team at 311 to discuss programs we have in place that have already helped hundreds of families in and around Charlotte get back on their feet.


Angela D. Charles


In the year of the pandemic, you focused on taking care of you and your family.

We remained on the job every single day, taking care of your water system and your water.

2020 gave our community so many things to worry about.

Water quality was not one of them.

Water Quality Testing

Our top priority is making sure that the water you use to wash your hands, bathe your children, and prepare healthy meals meets all state and federal drinking water standards.

Our scientists and water quality professionals perform more than 195,000 tests per year on your drinking water to assure its safety.

2020’s Notable Detected Impurities



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Our Commitment

Charlotte Water employees are trusted experts, performing the many complicated tasks required to deliver high quality, clean drinking water to our families and neighbors 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Why Are You Getting This?

Every year, North Carolina requires each drinking water supplier to publish a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). Find ours at, along with results from our water quality testing. The report in your hands summarizes the detailed and fairly technical information published in the CCR, along with information about how we served our community last year during the pandemic.

2020: Another year with zero water quality violations.

Results of Pride in Our Work

Every Charlotte Water employee is committed to performing their duties with excellence and in line with industry best practices. Our hard work pays off when we consistently deliver a high quality product to your home at a dramatically lower cost than bottled water.

Cost of Water

per Hundred Gallons

Bottled Water

Tap Water



According to public health experts at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, drinking water – and even bottled water – may reasonably be expected to contain very small amounts of impurities. It is important to note that the water is still safe even when tests reveal the presence of impurities that are below key levels.



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contaminants we test for



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performed in 2020




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No Concern


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No Concern


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No Concern

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2020 Drinking Water Quality Report – Published May 2021 –


Charlotte Water

EWG's drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by the water utility and provided to the Environmental Working Group by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, as well as information from the U.S. EPA Enforcement and Compliance History database (ECHO). For the latest quarter assessed by the U.S. EPA (January 2019 - March 2019), tap water provided by this water utility was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.

Utility details

  • Serves: 833579
  • Data available: 2012-2017
  • Data Source: Surface water
  • Total: 16

Contaminants That Exceed Guidelines

  • Bromodichloromethane
  • Bromoform
  • Chloroform
  • Chromium (hexavalent)
  • Dibromochloromethane
  • Dichloroacetic acid
  • Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)
  • Trichloroacetic acid

Other Detected Contaminants

  • Chlorite
  • Dibromoacetic acid
  • Fluoride
  • Haloacetic acids (HAA5)
  • Monobromoacetic acid
  • Strontium
  • Thallium
  • Vanadium


Always take extra precautions, the water may be safe to drink when it leaves the sewage treatment plant but it may pick up pollutants during its way to your tap. We advise that you ask locals or hotel staff about the water quality. Also, note that different cities have different water mineral contents.

Sources and Resources

Water is the source of life and having access to clean, healthy tap water is as much of a right as any. For those living in, considering moving to, or traveling to Charlotte, NC, you might be wondering what the quality is of the tap water. Like many modern American metropolises, there are some contaminants you should always be mindful of, but, in general, the water in Charlotte is considered safe and enjoyable.

History of water pollution in Charlotte

Water quality has not always been the focal point of the infrastructure within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg county area. During the 1950s, factories would routinely dump waste into the surrounding waterways, leading to a drastic reduction in the fish population; likewise, sewage mismanagement led to high bacteria counts in area streams.

This contamination compelled the creation of the Mecklenburg County Department of Environmental protection in 1970 and in 1993 acquired a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, allowing improvements in point-source pollution. These measures, in addition to other stormwater and surface water management policies and ordinances, have drastically improved the water quality of streams in the Charlotte area.

How’s the tap water?

While water quality after use is always a concern, tap water quality is of even greater concern. The city of Charlotte performs extensive testing to ensure that the tap water it provides meets and exceeds regulatory standards. At present, the city performs a variety of testing, such as for lead, copper, chlorine, and E. Coli and other coliform bacteria. This testing revealed no contamination that exceeds the regulatory limits imposed on safe, drinking water.

In some areas of North Carolina, there are concerns from contamination from such compounds as PFAS, coal ash and 1,4-Dioxane. These chemicals are either considered carcinogenic or potentially carcinogenic. While management of these compounds continues to be an issue elsewhere in North Carolina, testing of tap water in Charlotte, even for unregulated compounds such as PFAS, reveals no contamination that exceeds federal regulations. Given the relatively large population serviced by the Charlotte water supply, ensuring safe drinking water is of the utmost concern.

Potential contamination

Given that drinking water regulations and guidelines are human-determined, oversight, outside influences and lag-times in the application or adjustment of regulations can and do affect the drinking water quality. From a legal standpoint, the water in Charlotte passes the regulatory standards set for various contaminants and pollutants. From a health standard, there is still measurable contamination from a variety of compounds that has potential implications for different consumers.

There are 7 contaminants of note whose presence indicates the potential for health concerns, most of which have no legal limit for water quality testing. Bromodichloromethane levels are over 3 times the state and national average. Bromodichloromethane, a byproduct of the application of chlorine to disinfect drinking water, is of concern because of its potential effects on pregnancy and as a potential carcinogen.

Bromoform, another byproduct of chlorine application, is also well above the recommended levels, with a measurement of 12.7 parts per billion (ppb) versus the recommended 5 ppb. Chloroform has also been found. Chloroform is another byproduct of chlorine application. Fortunately, however, it has been found to be 5 ppb over the 1 ppb recommended levels, substantially less than the 18 ppb found on average throughout North Carolina.

Dibromochloromethane, dichloroacetic acid and trichloroacetic acid are other compounds that are the byproducts of chlorine application, with levels that range from over 20 times the recommended level with dibromochloromethane to .004 ppb over the recommended level with trichloroacetic acid. These compounds also have been linked to cancer and pregnancy defects.

Hexavalent chromium, although also without a legal testing limit, has also been found above recommended levels, with slightly over 3 times the recommended level of .002 ppb. Given the potency of this potential carcinogen, its higher levels may be of some concern.

Measures to assure the quality of tap water

Given the importance of tap water and the incentive of citizens and officials alike to ensure quality tap water, the elevated levels of some compounds may be of concern to some individuals. Immune-compromised individuals, such as those undergoing chemotherapy or who recently received an organ transplant, may be vulnerable to the trace presence of the above listed contaminants as well as trace measures of infectious pathogens such as Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants.

Given these concerns, the city of Charlotte does take great strides to ensure quality drinking water with multiple testing at its 3 drinking water treatment plants. Likewise, the Catawba river, the water source of the city of Charlotte, has long been considered a quality drinking water source that has minimal contamination before treatment.

Although the city can treat the drinking water at its treatment facilities, it cannot ensure the drinking water quality once delivered to individual homes. Routinely inspecting plumbing and ensuring that code-compliant materials are used is the best option to prevent exposure to lead or excess levels of copper or iron from rusting or corroding pipes.

Further, to ensure that excess mineral levels or unregulated contaminants are absent from drinking water, there are a variety of water filters that are recommended to purify drinking water. Ion exchange activated carbon and reverse osmosis filters have been shown to remove all or greatly reduce levels of the above listed contaminants as well as excess concentrations of elements and minerals such as chlorine, fluorine and thallium, with reverse osmosis being the most effective option.

Ideally, drinking water would always be of the utmost quality. Unfortunately, changing regulations, outdated regulations, or insufficient regulations can allow excessive contaminant levels that can cause health problems among those who drink tap water.

Fortunately, with the exception of 7 currently unregulated contaminants, most of which are considered the byproducts of chlorine disinfection, the drinking water of Charlotte meets or exceeds the regulatory limits set for various contaminants. For those who want to ensure that their water always meets personal standards, for health or preference, there are a variety of filters that will remove any residual contaminants from the treatment process. Whether you live in, visit, or wish to move to Charlotte, that’s something that you can drink to.

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