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Is Winston-Salem Tap Water Safe to Drink?

Yes! Generally Safe to Drink*

LAST UPDATED: 11:42 am, May 28, 2021

Table of Contents

Can You Drink Tap Water in Winston-Salem?

Yes, tap water is drinkable.

Tap Safe includes data from many publicly available sources, including the WHO (World Health Organization), CDC (Center for Disease Control), and user submitted databases, but unfortunately there's not enough data about Winston-Salem.

To see user submitted ratings of the water quality for North Carolina, see the "User Submitted Ratings" box on this page.

Winston-Salem Tap Water

In Winston-Salem, NC there is a company that installs new home water filters. The Winston-Salem water treatment facility was built to meet the highest standards in North Carolina and nationally. All of the water that comes through the treatment plant is filtered to remove chlorine, lead, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), cysts, and other harmful chemicals. It also meets or exceeds the guidelines set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency for Safe Drinking Water.

I was surprised to learn that the water that came out of my refrigerator was not as clean as the filter on my kitchen faucet. According to the test results my family had, they were at “low risk” for VOCs. Unfortunately, our local water treatment plant does not filter out all of these contaminants. Only what is deemed “high risk” is sent for filtration? The rest is sent to the wastewater treatment facility.

I am not a big fan of the phrase “safe to drink” but we were fortunate enough to have a water filter system that worked well for us. With no additional cost, we can now drink from the tap and be confident that the water we are drinking is as clean as the bottle says it is. My wife’s test results were a little more concerning. She was positive our water had more than ten times the concentration of cysts as that found in bottled waters. We live off of a lake so, if she has a high-stress level from her job she knows it is not uncommon.

Winston-Salem Drinking Water

Have you ever noticed that in Winston-Salem, there are a lot of pharmaceuticals, a lot of really high-priced “branded” products, and a whole slew of drinking water companies dispensing the water that you drink? I’m not sure if it’s because the people in Winston-Salem are just naturally liberal or what, but it sure seems like the treatment of the water they sell is of poor quality. Especially, when you look at the treatment facilities in neighboring towns. You have to wonder what sort of sickens and what toxins are being pumped into the atmosphere. These people must not be allowed near children, let alone allow them to drink the water.

There was a recent report done in Winston-Salem by a group called “The Winston-Salem Water Quality Commission”. This group was made up of local residents and business owners that were really concerned about the health of their own family and the families of other local residents. The group gathered data on over two hundred cases of E.coli contamination of public water supplies in twenty-eight different municipalities within the county. That’s just within the county. They also looked at the cases of treatment centers within the counties in question.

It is unbelievable what the water treatment facilities put in their drinking liquid. They use chlorine, which is an industrial chemical, to kill bacteria and viruses that might infect your body when you consume the water. They put organic materials and minerals in it to help the process along. If these facilities do not treat their water properly, you could be putting yourself, and your loved ones, at risk for all sorts of illness.

Winston-Salem Water Quality

Every spring, Winston-Salem, North Carolina’s largest city, receives hundreds of thousands of tons of wastewater from industrial facilities and larger cities. Industrial effluent is contaminated with sulfates and sulfides due to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as sulfates from chemical plants, used in the processing and for hydraulic systems that cause sulfates to be released into the ground. Industrial waste in the form of stormwater runoff can also contain large amounts of bacteria, which are particularly dangerous to the community because of the prevalence of infectious diseases that may become airborne during periods of heavy rain or snowfall.

When it rains, stormwater slowly makes its way down the flat, rocky hills that make up this part of Winston-Salem’s landscape and travels through channels along the river that feeds the springs. It then begins to fill into manholes known as brown ponds, where it flows into the nearby sewer system before being taken into the city sewage treatment plant. The quality of the water in these manholes is usually poor; especially when compared to the quality of tap water. Nonetheless, most local government agencies perform testing on a monthly basis to determine whether or not the water in these manholes is safe to drink. Public safety is an issue in Winston-Salem, and the local Environmental Protection Agency requires all companies operating within city limits to test their stormwater for contamination.

Regardless of the quality of the water in your household, you should always buy your water from a reputable company that has been licensed by the North Carolina department of health. E.P.A. testing is the most reliable means of determining public safety, and it can confirm whether or not your water is safe to use. When you buy water that has been subjected to public testing, you will know that you are getting clean, clear, municipal water that is safe to drink.

Winston-Salem Water Treatment

Winston-Salem Water Treatment Plant is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It was established in the 1930s and serves as the largest water treatment facility in the state. There are four treatment centers that service the city of Winston-Salem, but only one is deemed to be the top priority by the public. This plant is operated by the WPA. The four treatment centers include Black River, Blue Ridge, Lowererry, and Cedar Lake.

As far as the purification method is concerned, the method that is used here is chlorination by means of sodium hypochlorite. The other methods used here include the ultraviolet (UV) water purification system, the sub-micron filtration system, the activated carbon system, and the carbon adsorption system. These different methods are being used for the purpose of treating unwanted impurities from the water. While using any of these methods, there are chances of affecting the taste of water. It is for this reason that you are required to have a taste tester when you select your water.

As Winston Salem Water Treatment Plant is the major water treatment facility in the state, it receives a lot of criticism on a regular basis. The environmental group, Appalachian Environmental Foundation has filed several lawsuits against this water treatment plant for the polluted water that they are receiving. They have also filed a suit against the board for allowing chemical agents to be used in the water during the purification process. Apart from these, the public also points out that the prices of the water here are much higher than the prices in other places.

Winston-Salem Water Quality Report

Every three years, a Winston-Salem, NC water quality report is required by the North Carolina General Services Commission. This report is required for the purpose of determining whether the community’s water supply is up to the standards set by the state. These reports are widely used and required by counties, cities, and towns in North Carolina. The purpose of this study is to keep the public informed of the current condition of the water supply in the area.

There are some points that are covered in these reports. In the report, you will get to know about the types of contaminants that can be found in the water. The report also covers the effects that such contaminants have on aquatic life. In addition, the report explains how the various treatment methods work and how they help in getting rid of harmful elements in the water. Finally, it discusses the importance of protecting the environment from environmental pollution caused by water supplies.

Every water quality report differs from the other. This is because the purpose of each report differs. One of the major parts of the contents in a report is the list of contaminants in the area. This is where the best way to protect the people living around you from contaminated water is concerned. You will get to know that your local supply is free from any contaminants and can be trusted to give you crystal clear water every time.

Winston-Salem Water Supply

If you live in Winston-Salem, NC, and are concerned about the quality of your water supply, you’re not alone. Recent news stories have brought to light some of the worst water quality in North Carolina. It’s no wonder that the NC Department of Health and Human Services is urging residents to install a purifier in their homes if they want to be sure that their water is healthy. Since more than half of the world’s water comes from wells, Winston-Salem is also among the states with the highest concentration of unhealthy water supplies.

The state of North Carolina has had its share of water quality problems. Back in the 1970s, for example, state officials learned that city water was contaminated with VOCs or volatile organic compounds. VOCs are chemicals that evaporate into the ground and then float through the atmosphere. Scientists determined that these chemicals could be the cause of illnesses such as cancer and birth defects. At the time, the largest source of VOCs was an industrial waste.

The problem was that even if the wastewater treatment plant was treating the wastewater, VOCs still escaped into the air. So the Department of Health and Human Services has been working to find solutions to the VOC problem. They have, for example, developed an effective way to remove VOCs from the air by using granular media. The New England water treatment facility also removes VOCs from tap water, but because it is located in another state, there is a lack of federal regulations to make this necessary.

Winston-Salem Water Sources

As we know, Winston-Salem Water Sources is situated in the mountains of North Carolina. This area is a part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In fact, the name “Winston-Salem” comes from the waterfall that flows from Blue Ridge to Black Mountain. The water in these water sources has been tested and found to have no harmful effects on humans or wildlife. In fact, there have been no reports of animal illnesses that have been detected for the past hundred years.

The rainfall in this area usually lasts for more than six months a year. During summer, the waters in the Winston-Salem Water Sources become very dark and murky, which is attributed to the presence of iron and manganese minerals. The minerals cause an enhancement in the biological activity of microorganisms and plants thus producing healthy water.

If you would like to have easy access to the Winston-Salem Water Sources, then there are many ways by which you can do this. For one, there is a bridge just across the street from the water source. You can have your vehicle serviced at the nearby Norfolk Southern University, which has its industrial operations center just down the road from the waterfall. Other means of access include boats and kayaks, four-wheel drives, dirt bikes, and all other small motorized vehicles.

Is Winston-Salem Tap Water Safe to Drink? Tap water & safety quality

The estimated price of bottled water

$1.95 in USD (1.5-liter)


Winston-Salem tap water
  • Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility 5% Very Low
  • Water Pollution 5% Very Low
  • Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility 95% Very High
  • Water Quality 95% Very High

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

Related FAQS


Country Club Annex

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: 69
  • Data available: 2012-2017
  • Data Source: Groundwater
  • Total: 5

Contaminants That Exceed Guidelines

  • Bromodichloromethane
  • Chloroform
  • Dibromochloromethane
  • Nitrate
  • Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)†

Other Detected Contaminants


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.

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