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Is Durham Tap Water Safe to Drink?

Yes! Generally Safe to Drink*

LAST UPDATED: 7:47 pm, July 30, 2022

Table of Contents

Can You Drink Tap Water in Durham?

Yes, Durham's tap water is generally considered safe to drink as Durham 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 or the city's water provider website.

According the EPA’s ECHO database, from April 30, 2019 to June 30, 2022, Durham's water utility, City of Durham, had 2 non-health-based violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. For more details on the violations, please see our violation history section below. The last violation for Durham was resolved on June 30, 2018. This assessment is based on the City of Durham 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 Durham Tap Water

The most recent publicly available numbers for measured contaminant levels in Durham 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 Durham's water quality reports, or getting your home's tap water tested to see if you should be filtering your water.

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

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

For the compliance period beginning July 1, 2021, Durham had 1 non-health based Safe Drinking Water Act violation with the violation category being Other Violation, more specifically, the violation code was Consumer Confidence Report Complete Failure to Report which falls into the Other rule code group, and the Consumer Confidence Rule rule code family for the following contaminant code: Consumer Confidence Rule.

For the compliance period beginning July 1, 2020, Durham had 1 non-health based Safe Drinking Water Act violation with the violation category being Other Violation, more specifically, the violation code was Consumer Confidence Report Complete Failure to Report which falls into the Other rule code group, and the Consumer Confidence Rule rule code family for the following contaminant code: Consumer Confidence Rule.

From June 1, 2018 to June 30, 2018, Durham had 1 non-health based Safe Drinking Water Act violation with the violation category being Monitoring and Reporting, more specifically, the violation code was Monitoring, Turbidity (Enhanced SWTR) which falls into the Microbials rule code group, and the Surface Water Treatment Rules rule code family for the following contaminant code: Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule.

From Sept. 1, 2015 to Sept. 30, 2015, Durham had 1 non-health based Safe Drinking Water Act violation with the violation category being Monitoring and Reporting, more specifically, the violation code was Monitoring, Repeat Minor (TCR) which falls into the Microbials rule code group, and the Total Coliform Rules rule code family for the following contaminant code: Coliform (TCR).

Is there Lead in Durham Water?

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

While Durham 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 Durham 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 - Morrisville AASF #1 - near Durham 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 Durham 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.

Durham 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
07/01/2021 - Resolved No Other Violation (Other) Consumer Confidence Report Complete Failure to Report (71) Consumer Confidence Rule (420) Consumer Confidence Rule (7000) Other (400) Consumer Confidence Rule (420)
07/01/2020 - Resolved No Other Violation (Other) Consumer Confidence Report Complete Failure to Report (71) Consumer Confidence Rule (420) Consumer Confidence Rule (7000) Other (400) Consumer Confidence Rule (420)
06/01/2018 - 06/30/2018 Resolved No Monitoring and Reporting (MR) Monitoring, Turbidity (Enhanced SWTR) (38) Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (122) Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (0300) Microbials (100) Surface Water Treatment Rules (120)
09/01/2015 - 09/30/2015 Resolved No Monitoring and Reporting (MR) Monitoring, Repeat Minor (TCR) (26) Total Coliform Rule (110) Coliform (TCR) (3100) Microbials (100) Total Coliform Rules (110)

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.
show details
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
show details
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
show details
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
show details
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.

Durham Water - Frequently Asked Questions

The public is welcome to attend regularly scheduled meetings of Durham’s City Council, where Water Management and other City issues are discussed.
To contact customer service for the Durham water provider, City of Durham, please use the information below.
DURHAM, NC, 27701
Already have an account?

Existing customers can login to their City of Durham account to pay their Durham water bill by clicking here.

Want to create a new account?

If you want to pay your City of Durham 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 Durham 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 Durham 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 Durham means you will often need to put the water in your name with City of Durham. 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 Durham means you will likely need to take your name off of the water bill with City of Durham. 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

Is Durham Tap Water Safe to Drink? Tap water & safety quality

The estimated price of bottled water

$2.19 in USD (1.5-liter)


Durham tap water
  • Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility 15% Very Low
  • Water Pollution 40% Moderate
  • Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility 85% Very High
  • Water Quality 60% High

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

Related FAQS

Durham 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 Durham's Water. If you would like to see the original version of the report, please click here.




City of Durham Department of

Water Management

And when you turned on your tap,

we delivered!


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Dedicated to Service

Managing Durham’s Drinking Water 2020 Water Quality Testing Results Protecting Your Water from Contaminants Improving Your Water System Conserving Our Water Resources

Background photo:

Little River Reservoir dam




2020. What a year! Durham and the Department of Water Management (DWM) faced a number of challenges during the year. Along with the rest of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic created serious issues for the City and DWM. Some departmental services were modified or reduced as some staff were sent home to work or placed on rotating schedules designed to minimize contact and risk of exposure. Non-critical services were suspended, and other routine tasks were rescheduled. While vaccinations are now available and infections are declining, the battle is not over.

In early March 2020, the City of Durham became a victim of a malware attack that affected the City’s computer systems. Fortunately, our water treatment facilities and delivery systems were not impaired by the malware attack and we continued to provide safe drinking water to our customers, 24/7/365.

And when you turned on your tap, we delivered!

We delivered safe drinking water to hospitals and other medical facilities so that they could treat critically ill patients. And with residents working – and in many cases teaching – from home, delivery of safe water was increasingly important.

Despite these challenges, Durham’s water quality was not impacted. There were zero water quality violations in 2020.

We also completed several major capital projects in 2020. The Brown and Williams water treatment plants expansion and upgrades were mostly finished. And in September, our Laboratory Services and Industrial Waste Control teams moved into the Compliance Services Building. Learn more about the LEED-Silver home of our state-certified water and wastewater lab on page 8.

Our Water Efficiency team continued to provide virtual water use assessments while also winning their fifth consecutive national EPA WaterSense® Award for Excellence in Education and Outreach.

While most of us want to put 2020 in our collective rearview mirrors, the events of 2020 reinforced what I already knew – we have a resilient and remarkable staff. As you read this report, keep in mind that City of Durham Department of Water Management employees are here for you – dedicated

to service.

Don Greeley

Director, Department of Water Management


The Department of Water Management, guided by the City’s and Department’s strategic plans, Don Greeley

provides Durham residents and businesses with cost-effective water and wastewater services Director,that meetDepartmentcustomers’ expectationsof Water Managementand all regulatory requirements.

Learn more at




Drinking water – both tap and bottled

  • comes from rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells.

As this water travels over land or through the ground, minerals and other materials naturally dissolve into it. As it moves through our environment, water can also pick up substances that are the result of animal or human activity.

Source water may contain:

  • Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria.
  • Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals.
  • Pesticides and herbicides from agriculture or urban run-off.
  • Organic chemicals from industrial processes or run-off.
  • Radioactive contaminants that can occur naturally.

The EPA regulates the amount of certain substances in your tap water. This is to ensure that tap water is safe to drink.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration establishes limits for contaminants in bottled water to protect public health.



Lake Michie

Little River Reservoir

Jordan Lake

Teer Quarry

Four Sources Ensure Reliable Drinking Water

Durham residents and businesses use, on average, about 25.9 million gallons of water a day (MGD). We’re fortunate to have two high-quality surface water sources to meet that demand: Lake Michie, built in 1926, and Little River Reservoir, built in 1988.

Thirsty? Drink Durham tap water instead of bottled varieties.

City tap water:

  • Meets all federal and state quality standards
  • Reduces environmental impact (no discarded plastic bottles)
  • Saves you money


A lab coordinator at work in the new Compliance Services Building

City water managers use modelling to determine the amount of water that can be taken from the two lakes. Accounting for the extreme drought conditions of 2007-2008 and a 20% safety factor, these two sources safely yield 27.9 MGD. Plans are being developed to tap two additional water sources – Jordan Lake and Teer Quarry – to meet demand now and in the future.

Jordan Lake has provided as-needed water for the City via the Town of Cary’s water system since 2002, when we obtained an allocation of approximately 10 MGD. Following the drought of 2007-2008, the City pursued an additional 6.5 MGD allocation to meet projected water demand through 2060. The N.C. Environmental Management Commission granted the request in 2017. The City is collaborating with neighboring water agencies to bring water directly from Jordan Lake into our system.

Teer Quarry first provided emergency supplemental water for the City during the height of the drought in 2007-2008. The City purchased the abandoned quarry in 2004 and is in the planning stage to build permanent facilities that will allow the quarry to refill from a number of sources during high flow conditions and provide a reliable emergency water source.

Two Treatment Plants Provide Clean, Safe Drinking Water

Water moves from Durham’s two supply lakes to its two City treatment plants – Williams and Brown – by gravity flow, hydropower, and electric power. On-site reservoirs at each plant hold a two- to three-day supply of water that helps even out the pumping strategy.

In 2020, Durham’s two plants provided 25.9 MGD of water to more than 301,000 customers. Williams Water Treatment Plant on Hillandale Road, completed in 1917, has been upgraded a number of times and has a capacity of 22 MGD. Brown Water Treatment Plant on Infinity Road, completed in 1977, has a capacity of 42 MGD. Major renovations begun in 2017 were contractually completed in early 2021.

Both plants use conventional water treatment processes. The initial treatment step is coagulation, which involves the rapid mixing of caustic and ferric sulfate into the untreated source water. Next, the water flows into chambers, where gentle mixing allows dirt and other impurities to stick together, or flocculate. Heavy floc particles are formed, settle, and are removed in sedimentation basins. Chlorine is added to the settled water as a disinfectant. The water then flows through

sand and anthracite filters to remove any remaining particles. Phosphate (which keeps pipes from corroding) and fluoride (for dental health) are then added. In the final step, chloramines are added as a disinfectant.

The City of Durham has added fluoride to its drinking water since 1957 to promote dental health. Until recently, state regulations required a target concentration of 1.0 mg/l for fluoride. However, in 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Centers for Disease Control determined that dental health could be maintained with lower levels of fluoride. Based on this, N.C. regulators have allowed water systems to decrease their fluoride target levels to 0.7 mg/l. The City changed dosage levels for fluoride immediately upon receiving approval. Testimony from public health experts supports the continued addition of fluoride to drinking water as an ongoing safeguard for dental health.




The City (Public Water System ID # 03-32-010) routinely monitors more than 150 contaminants in your drinking water, in accordance with federal and state laws. In 2020, the City performed 30,181 tests on Durham’s drinking water. The table below lists all the regulated drinking water contaminants that were detected during testing conducted from January 1 to December 31, 2020. It shows that all substances were found to be at least 30% below the regulatory threshold in 2020. Note: EPA and the state require water providers to monitor for certain contaminants less than once per year because the concentrations of those contaminants are not expected to vary significantly from year to year. Thus, some of the data, while representative of water quality, is more than one year old.


Substance and



Max. Level

Ideal Goal







Potential Source(s) of Substance



Unit of Measurement





and Range













Monitored at the Treatment Plants









2.0 average




Water additive to control microbes



mg/L (as Cl2)










Disinfectant to control microbes















< 0.10*




Naturally occurring mineral; added to




promote dental health










0.22 average




Runoff from fertilizer use; leaching from septic



mg/L (as Nitrogen)


tanks, sewage; erosion of natural deposits









0.09 max




Soil runoff














Turbidity, % of monthly





Soil runoff



samples ≤ 0.3 NTU











Total Organic Carbon, mg/L

Average removal
















Results show the range of TOC in





Naturally present in the environment



both source and treated water.

6.60 (4.75-10.74)




Durham’s processes remove









more than the required 50%.

1.87 (0.97-3.09)








Alpha emitters, pCi/L

None detected




Erosion of natural deposits



Samples collected and analyzed



(no range)



February 2017
















Beta/photon emitters, pCi/L

None detected




Decay of natural and man-made deposits



Samples collected and analyzed

(no range)



February 2017









Monitored at the Customer’s Tap








Copper, mg/L





Corrosion of household plumbing systems



EPA-required triennial sampling



(90th percentile)



conducted July-September 2019
















Lead, mg/L





Corrosion of household plumbing systems



EPA-required triennial sampling



(90th percentile)



conducted July-September 2019
















Monitored in the Distribution System








Total Coliform Bacteria



5% of









Naturally present in the environment



(presence or absence)








are positive










Note: The MCL is









exceeded if a routine





Fecal Coliform or E. coli




sample and repeat








sample are total coliform

Human and animal fecal waste



(presence or absence)






positive, and one is also

















fecal coliform or E. coli


























*Fluoride not added during the period














Durham samples and tests drinking water from selected, state-approved locations across the City every quarter to ensure disinfection byproducts remain within acceptable levels. This table shows test results from 2020.

Stage 2 Disinfection Byproduct Compliance —

Based on Locational Running Annual Average (LRAA)

Five Haloacetic Acids

Average Level

Total Trihalomethanes

Average Level

Byproduct of drinking


Byproduct of drinking


water disinfection

water disinfection

and Range

and Range

MCL – 60 µg/L

MCL – 80 µg/L



MCLG – 0 µg/L

MCLG – 0 µg/L





27.0 (7-41)


43.3 (32-51)


30.0 (19-40)


37.8 (26-51)


35.5 (29-41)





35.3 (27-40)





35.8 (29-39)





26.5 (20-36)





33.5 (25-42)





35.0 (28-43)





37.3 (30-42)





28.5 (20-38)





36.0 (29-40)


47.0 (32-59)


33.5 (25-39)





24.8 (8-39)





37.5 (31-42)




No violations this period.


Parameter and Unit of




pH, standard units (range)


Alkalinity, mg/L


Calcium, mg/L


Chloride, mg/L


Conductivity, micromhos/cm


Hardness - Calculated, mg/L


Hardness - EDTA, mg/L


Orthophosphate, mg/L (as PO4)


Potassium, mg/L


Sodium, mg/L


Sulfate, mg/L


Total Solids, mg/L


Zinc, mg/L



  • less than

μg/L micrograms per liter, or parts per billion

AL Action Level, concentration of a contaminant, which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements that a water system must follow. Action Levels are reported at the 90th percentile for homes at greatest risk.

LRAA Locational Running Annual Average, average of sample analytical results for samples taken at a particular monitoring location during the previous four calendar quarters under the Stage 2 Disinfection Byproducts Rule

MCL Maximum Contaminant Level, highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. NOTE: MCLs are set at very stringent levels. To understand the possible health effects described for many regulated constituents, a person would have to drink two liters of water every day for a lifetime at the MCL level to have a one-in-a-million chance of experiencing the described health effect.

MCLG Maximum Contaminant Level Goal, level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health

mg/L milligrams per liter, or parts per million

MRDL Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level, highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water

MRDLG Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal, level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health

N/A not applicable ND not detected NR not regulated

NTU Nephelometric Turbidity Units, measure of the clarity or cloudiness in water

pCi/L picocuries per liter, measure of the radioactivity in water

  1. Treatment Technique, required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water



What EPA Wants You to Know About Water and Contaminants

Drinking water, including bottled water, can be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily mean that the water could be a health risk. Get more information about contaminants and potential health effects by calling the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno- compromised people, such as those with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, people who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly people, and infants, can be particularly at

risk for infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/CDC guidelines on the best ways to reduce the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial organisms are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.

No Cryptosporidium in Durham’s

Drinking Water

Cryptosporidium (Crypto), a microbial parasite that comes from animal waste, occurs naturally in rivers and lakes but can cause fever, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms when swallowed.

Controlling and minimizing development and animal activities in our watershed reduces the occurrence of Crypto in source water. The water treatment process of filtration, sedimentation, and disinfection typically removes it.

The City began monthly testing for Crypto in fall 2006 (as per Long Term Two Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule, LT2SWTR) and has never found the parasite in any monitoring event.

What the City Wants You to Know About Lead and Drinking Water

There is no detectable lead in drinking water leaving Durham’s two water treatment plants. We have an ongoing program to replace our older water mains and we add a corrosion inhibitor to the drinking water. We also diligently monitor water quality to ensure appropriate levels of corrosion inhibitor are maintained.

Elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children.

Lead enters drinking water primarily due to the corrosion of materials containing lead used in older household plumbing and service lines that are not managed carefully.

Any resident with concerns about lead in their drinking water can have their water tested and can take steps to minimize exposure, such as flushing tap water for 30 seconds to two minutes before using it for drinking or cooking. Call Durham One Call at (919) 560-1200 to request a water sample testing kit.

Want more information on lead and drinking water?

  • Call EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline, (800) 426-4791
  • Visit EPA’s website,
  • Visit the City’s website,


  • One part per trillion is equivalent to one grain of sand in an Olympic-size
    swimming pool.

PFAS: What You Should Know

PFAS has been a hot topic in the news, both nationally and here in North Carolina. What are PFAS? Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances are a group of more than 4,000 man-made chemicals that have been used in manufacturing since the 1930s. You can find them in shampoo, paint, fast-food packaging, stain repellent, nonstick cookware, and firefighting foam. They’re slow to break down, which is why some experts call them “forever” chemicals. They can be found in surface water, groundwater, and in the air.

Water Management staff take PFAS very seriously and have been carefully tracking national and state research on them. Since 2018, we have tested for these substances in both of our source waters - Lake Michie and Little River Reservoir - and our tap water. Of the 39 different PFAS compounds tested, we have detected only very low concentrations (single parts per trillion) in our water supply.

Currently, there is no adopted federal standard set for these chemicals, however EPA announced a health advisory goal of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for the combined levels of the two PFAS compounds most commonly found in the environment - PFOS and PFOA. Our testing has measured these compounds in our drinking water in the range of 6.4 to 12.7 ppt. This is from five to ten times lower than the 2016 EPA health advisory goal.

Assessing Water Source Vulnerability

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Public Water Supply Section, through its Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP), periodically assesses all drinking water sources in the state — wells and surface water intakes — to determine their susceptibility to potential contaminant sources (PCS).

PCSs include animal operations, septage disposal sites, old landfill sites, underground storage tanks, and activities that could negatively impact water sources in Durham, Person, and Orange counties — the watersheds of Lake Michie and Little River Reservoir. The susceptibility rating is determined by combining a “Contaminant Rating,” which is based on the number and locations of PCSs within the testing area, and “Inherent Vulnerability Rating,” based on geologic, surface water, and watershed features and conditions.

A susceptibility rating of “higher” indicates the system’s potential to become contaminated by PCSs in the tested area, not the quality of the water. These findings help water managers identify areas and activities that may require monitoring or action.

The table below shows the latest assessment results.





















Little River








View the full report at

To obtain a printed copy:

  • Mail your request to: Source Water Assessment Program – Report Request, 1634 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1634
  • OR email your request to

Please include the system name (City of Durham), PWSID (03-32-010) and your name, mailing address, and phone number.

Questions? Contact DEQ’s Source Water Assessment staff at (919) 707-9098.




In 2020, Water Management closed out multi-year capital construction projects that included updating the Williams and Brown water treatment plants. We also constructed a new home for the department’s state-certified water and wastewater Lab and the Industrial Waste Control divisions.

Both had had been housed in the South Durham Wastewater Reclamation Facility since the late 1980s. In 2010, it became clear that the HVAC equipment couldn’t keep up with the demands of sophisticated laboratory equipment, and periodic basement workspace flooding created challenges for staff. These issues and the need for increased sample security compelled the department to explore options.

The solution was the construction of a new Compliance Services Building (pictured) on adjacent City property. It features public areas with a training room and administrative offices and secure areas for staff offices and laboratory testing areas, which require security credentials for access. A separate entry allows lab staff to receive and process samples from water and wastewater sites and internal customers submitting distribution samples. The lab and work spaces were designed to accommodate expansion.

The new building features geothermal wells for heating and cooling, reclaimed water for toilet flushing, and drought tolerant landscaping. Windows and skylights brighten work spaces and reduce energy costs. These features enabled the building to qualify for Silver LEED certification. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a green building rating program of the U.S. Green Building Council that works to transform how buildings are designed, constructed, and operated to improve sustainability.



Ensuring that Durham’s water supplies are sufficient well into the future is a top priority, and the City takes specific steps to empower residents to make wise water use decisions to extend the life of our water supplies.

Our Water Efficiency Program focuses on working with water customers to reduce water demand and maximize efficiency. The Department of Water Management continues to be a proud EPA WaterSense® Partner, and in 2020, Durham was once again recognized by the EPA for our commitment to protecting the environment through water efficiency and was awarded a WaterSense Excellence Award — our fifth consecutive national award.

Customer awareness, adoption of water efficient fixtures and devices, and programmatic incentives all play a part in inspiring water efficiency. Two popular initiatives that help our customers to improve their water efficiency are:

  • Toilet Rebate Program - Toilets, on average, still account for nearly a quarter of the total water used in homes. Standard toilets use at least 1.6 gallons per flush. WaterSense labeled toilets use at least 20% less than standard ones and can save the average family approximately 13,000 gallons of water every year. Residential customers can receive rebates up to $100 for each standard toilet they replace with a WaterSense toilet.
  • Save Water Kits - Customers can pick up our Save Water Kits for $3 from the Cashiering counter at City Hall and receive WaterSense
    showerheads, faucet aerators for the kitchen and bath, and other useful items.

For more information on all of our water efficiency programs visit





toilet rebates issued


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annual savings

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saving of more than


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Notice Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

Persons who require assistance should call (919) 560-4197, TTY (919) 560-1200, or email no later than 48 hours before the event.

Are you interested in how decisions about Durham’s water system or other City issues are made?

The public is welcome to attend regularly scheduled meetings of Durham’s City Council, where Water Management and other City issues are discussed.

Council meetings are held the first

and third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Council chambers on the first floor of City Hall. City Council members also hold regular work sessions to prepare for Council meetings. These sessions occur on Thursdays — two weeks prior to each regular Council meeting – at 1 p.m. in the Council’s Committee Room on the second floor of City Hall.

City Hall is located in downtown Durham at 101 City Hall Plaza.

Visit the City’s website at to confirm meeting times, locations, and agendas.

Department of Water Management (DWM)

City of Durham

101 City Hall Plaza

Durham, NC 27701

Durham samples and tests drinking water from locations across the City every week to ensure it meets all federal and state standards.


Water quality

(919) 560-4362

Water conservation and tours

(919) 560-4381

General DWM inquiries

(919) 560-4381

Billing (Durham One Call)

(919) 560-1200

To report a water main break or sewer overflow or backup, call Durham One Call at (919) 560-1200.

Versión en español disponible en línea en

/DurhamWater /DurhamWater


City of Durham

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: 265472
  • Data available: 2012-2017
  • Data Source: Surface water
  • Total: 17

Contaminants That Exceed Guidelines

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

Other Detected Contaminants

  • Bromoform
  • Chlorate
  • Chromium (hexavalent)
  • Dalapon
  • Dibromoacetic acid
  • Fluoride
  • Haloacetic acids (HAA5)
  • Monobromoacetic acid
  • Nitrate
  • Strontium
  • 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

Durham Tap Water

If you are ever in Durham, NC then you will want to try Durham Tap Water. It is said that Durham is the home of the Durham Mountains which has made it a favorite place to visit for many years. There are some really beautiful trails that you can walk along and discover some very old towns and beautiful places to explore. Many of the older citizens of the town enjoy telling their stories about the history of their town, you may learn some history about this place as well when you visit the Durham library that has one of the largest collections of civil war documents available anywhere.

The tap water that comes from Durham has some purifying qualities that make it safe for drinking. Other than that, all the other benefits of this Durham tap water are what makes it so beneficial. You get minerals, trace elements, vitamins, proteins, and much more that will benefit your body in a number of ways.

It can help you fight off cancer cells as it contains a high concentration of antioxidants. You can also expect to find vitamins in the water such as vitamin C, vitamin D, and beta carotene. There are also trace elements that are present in this type of water such as copper, magnesium, and selenium. You should try to drink the water as often as possible because it is full of nutrients and you will be able to get all of these nutrients no matter where you live or work. You can check out some sample coupons for local restaurants or get a free bottle of this Durham Water at a local spa or wellness center.

Durham Water

“Progressive Water Services, Inc. is a family-owned, local company in Durham, North Carolina.” We offer the Triangle and the greater Charlotte area an unbeatable combination of quality and value. We serve all brands of drinking water purification equipment. We’re an authorized RainSoft certified service provider and the only full-service, nationwide rainsoft certified dealer in the Triangle.

Our technicians are factory certified and skilled at providing quality service. They are available to take calls regarding the setup or maintenance of units. You may also send us a water sample for testing. Our experienced team will work with you to determine the appropriate maintenance steps to take based on specific data from your water sample. The only company to offer annual certification programs recognized by the Better Business Bureau. In addition to annual training, we provide the latest in equipment and product testing and inspection services backed by a full 100% money-back guarantee.

Stop wasting time and money with low-quality water purification systems. Invest in a full-service provider to give you peace of mind knowing your drinking water is clean and safe. Our friendly and knowledgeable service crew will answer your questions and make sure that you’re using the most effective purification system for your needs. Why settle for less when you can have the confidence and peace of mind that comes from having your drinking water tested and trusted.

Durham Safe Water

The question of if is Durham water is safe to drink has been at the forefront of much controversy. Since Raleigh recently experienced a large sewage outbreak that contaminated the city’s drinking water, it has become a serious topic. Many people are wondering if the water they are drinking is safe to drink and how they should react to the situation. There have also been questions as to what role the government should play in helping clean up the mess left behind by the sewage spill. Those who live in the area have been calling for different solutions to clean up the mess and make the area safer for everyone. One solution that is being used is using water purification devices.

These devices were actually invented in Durham during the industrial Revolution. In those days, factories dotted the area and most of them had no running water whatsoever. Manufacturers came up with a solution to this problem by developing the first public water purification system in the United States. They needed something that could clean the water and remove all of the dangerous elements that were in the water. With the invention of the chlorination process, they were able to create what we know today as the public water treatment system.

If you are concerned about the water that you are drinking, then you should consider getting a purification system. You will not only be doing your part to help the environment, but you will also be making yourself and your family healthier. The amount of contaminants that can be found in the water supply is disturbing. For every gallon of water that you are consuming, 10 pounds of toxic chemicals end up in the groundwater. This is why it is so important that you have a purification system installed in your home. Once you have one, you can stop worrying about what is in your water and start focusing on making the world a better place.

Durham Drinking Water

Have you ever driven through Durham, North Carolina, and wondered where the drinking water came from? If so, it may interest you to know that the Duke University Center for Environmental Assessment has recently conducted a study showing where the tap water comes from in Durham. This is not your typical tap water study, because they use state-of-the-art instruments to detect contaminants, including heavy metals like lead and aluminum. They found more than two hundred different contaminants in the drinking water of Durham.

This is a surprising finding and one that Duke University welcomes. “We know that people living in the Triangle area have a higher concentration of some contaminants than people living elsewhere in the United States. The reason is that the chemicals that are most commonly found in runoff from the southern parts of the Triangle River basin Leach into the local rivers, streams, and lakes, and then into the groundwater supply of the area. ” There are many reasons why the waters of Durham are considered to be unhealthy, but no one yet knows why or how they are entering the drinking water.

This study may be good news, however. It means that more attention is being paid to preserving the environment and protecting public health. Most people realize that they need to stop washing their hands before drinking, but they don’t realize that they need to protect the clean water supply that we all have from contamination. Most cities and counties have limits on the amount of water that can be used or released for drinking, but those guidelines don’t apply to the groundwater supply. You need to make sure that you have access to clean water at all times if you want to stay healthy and safe.

Durham Water Treatment

If you are looking for water purification in Durham, North Carolina, there are a variety of options available to you. This area has one of the best public water treatment systems in the country, so you can relax knowing that your water is safe and clean. The city of Durham was named after an American Revolutionary War hero and engineer who served time in prison for his role in fighting in the war. Today, he is also the county’s largest planner.

There are several treatment centers around the city. One of them is located at Durham Medical Center in the heart of downtown Durham. Here, you can get a free health examination and have your blood tested for diseases. Once you have received a clean bill of health, you can fill out an online application for a drinking water filter system and start enjoying the amazing benefits of water purification. You can save money by choosing a system that gives you both filters for your faucet and pitcher, so you can take advantage of both in one unit.

Another water treatment center is at Hodge Associates in Raleigh. This facility serves all of the areas of Durham including its downtown area. Here, you will find a large water treatment facility that serves all of the city’s public water lines. The Hodge Center is also North Carolina’s first certified solar water heater, so you can also feel environmentally friendly while enjoying your tap water.

Durham Water Contaminants

The Durham government recently announced that they have been testing thousands of homes for possible contaminants and will be releasing the information soon. They found that more than two hundred different contaminants were found in the city’s water supply. These range from naturally occurring things like arsenic and copper to chemicals used in industrial processes. Many people are concerned about this because they believe that the levels of these toxins are too high to be safe for human consumption.

There are many homes across the county that use the Durham municipal water supply. The Triangle is the area that has been affected the most because so many homes there have such high levels of toxins and contaminants in them. Many people have had to move their homes because they cannot afford to pay the amounts of money it costs to treat the water on a continuous basis.

There are some people who live in the rural areas that do not use the city’s water supply and still suffer from horrible health problems. The reason for this is because they consume such large amounts of water on a daily basis. This is not helpful to them at all, and they need to find something that can help them to detoxify their bodies. It is unknown if the toxins found in the water were contained before the city began testing the water, or if it was discovered during an investigation. Either way, the results are alarming and everyone needs to do something to clean up the contaminated water.

Durham Water Quality

Durham is the tenth-largest city in the state of North Carolina and is a beautiful place to live. Durham is also the county seat of Wake County and is located on the eastern shore of the Raleigh Channel. In terms of both population and area, Durham ranks fourth among cities in the state of North Carolina. This means that it is one of the most populous cities in the state, but it is also one of the areas where you will find the best water quality. In this article, we’ll take a look at some interesting facts about the water quality in Durham and how you can determine if it is good enough for you and your family to bathe in.

Durham is fortunate to have an incredibly high number of lakes, many of which are trout dependent, as well as several lakes with bodies of water that are considered babbling. This means that when you are looking at your water quality in Durham, you should look at the trout, the ducks, and any other wildlife that may be in the area as well. In fact, many local groups and organizations have been formed just to ensure that any wildlife that is able to survive in the area gets the habitat that they need.

If you are looking for a healthy body of water for a backyard pool or for a professional fishing lake, you will find that Durham makes a great choice. Although many people are of the opinion that Durham is among the most polluted of cities in the United States, the water is actually considered to be of excellent quality. Of course, this does not mean that you should ignore the environment when you are trying to bathe in water. However, you will find that there are plenty of reasons to enjoy the environment as well.

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