2,146 systems serving 7,352,522 people
  This drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by water utilities in North Carolina, provided to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. It is part of EWG's national database that includes 47,667 drinking water utilities and 20 million test results from 45 states and the District of Columbia. Water utilities nationwide detected more than 300 pollutants between 2004 and 2009. More than half of these chemicals are unregulated, legal in any amount. Despite this widespread contamination, the federal government invests few resources in protecting rivers, reservoirs, and groundwater from pollution in the first place. The information below summarizes drinking water quality for this state.

Water Utilities
Population Served
Detected Chemicals
Exceed health guidelines*
Exceed Legal Limits*
Unregulated chemicals detected
* Water utilities are noted as exceeding the legal limit if any test is above the maximum contaminant level (MCL). Most MCLs are based on annual averages so exceeding the MCL for one test does not necessarily indicate that the system is out of compliance.

  62 Contaminants Exceeding Health Based Limits

Contaminants detected in North Carolina drinking water above health guidelines, according to an Environmental Working Group analysis of data obtained from state water authorities

Number of Systems
At Any Level Above Health Limits At Any Level Above Health Limits
Bromodichloromethane 7,012,709 7,012,709 1,135 1,135
Total haloacetic acids (HAAs) 7,009,081 6,954,251 1,125 1,099
Dichloroacetic acid 6,873,073 6,873,073 946 946
Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) 7,153,943 6,872,592 1,457 927
Dibromochloromethane 6,815,782 6,802,832 1,034 1,021
Chloroform 7,041,992 6,640,829 1,310 773
Lead (total) 5,981,432 5,981,432 1,226 1,226
Bromoform 3,273,682 3,273,682 512 512
Trichloroacetic acid 6,724,929 3,041,471 837 332
Combined Radium (-226 & -228) 2,184,881 2,184,881 348 348

  Sources of North Carolina Drinking Water Contaminants

The contaminants identified in North Carolina drinking water come from a wide variety of sources, including agriculture, industry, water treatment plants, and polluted storm runoff from urban areas.

112 Total Contaminants Detected (2004 - 2009)
33 Agricultural Pollutants
(pesticides, fertilizer, factory farms)

Arsenic (total), Cyanide, Nitrate & nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrite, Selenium (total), Endrin, Lindane, Methoxychlor, Toxaphene, Dalapon, Simazine, Picloram, Dinoseb, Metolachlor, Atrazine, Alachlor (Lasso), Heptachlor epoxide, Dieldrin, 2,4-D, 2,4,5-TP (Silvex), Bromomethane, Aldrin, 1,3-Dichloropropene, Dicamba, 1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP), Ethylene dibromide (EDB), Chlordane, o-Dichlorobenzene, p-Dichlorobenzene, 1,2-Dichloropropane, Monochlorobenzene (Chlorobenzene), Ethylbenzene

27 Sprawl and Urban Pollutants
(road runoff, lawn pesticides, human waste)

Nitrate, Copper, Nitrate & nitrite, Lead (total), Arsenic (total), Tetrachloroethylene, Nitrite, Xylenes (total), Dalapon, Cadmium (total), Antimony (total), Mercury (total inorganic), Dichloromethane (methylene chloride), Cyanide, Benzene, Trichlorofluoromethane, p-Dichlorobenzene, Di(2-Ethylhexyl) adipate, 2,4-D, Naphthalene, Chlordane, Benzo[a]pyrene, Lindane, n-Propylbenzene, 2,4,5-TP (Silvex), tert-Butylbenzene, sec-Butylbenzene

76 Industrial Pollutants

Bromide, Arsenic (total), Chlorite, Barium (total), Cadmium (total), Chromium (total), Cyanide, Lead (total), Manganese, Mercury (total inorganic), Nitrate & nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrite, Selenium (total), Antimony (total), Beryllium (total), Thallium (total), Lindane, p-Isopropyltoluene, Di(2-Ethylhexyl) adipate, Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Hexachlorocyclopentadiene, Chloromethane, Dichlorodifluoromethane, Chloroethane, Trichlorofluoromethane, Hexachlorobutadiene, Naphthalene, Pentachlorophenol, 1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene, cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene, Total polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), Dibromomethane, 1,1-Dichloropropene, 1,2,3-Trichloropropane, 2,2-Dichloropropane, 1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene, 1,2,3-Trichlorobenzene, n-Butylbenzene, 1,3,5-Trimethylbenzene, tert-Butylbenzene, sec-Butylbenzene, Bromochloromethane, Ethylene dibromide (EDB), Xylenes (total), Dichloromethane (methylene chloride), o-Chlorotoluene, p-Dichlorobenzene, Vinyl chloride, 1,1-Dichloroethylene, 1,1-Dichloroethane, trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene, 1,2-Dichloroethane, 1,1,1-Trichloroethane, Carbon tetrachloride, 1,2-Dichloropropane, Trichloroethylene, 1,1,1,2-Tetrachloroethane, Tetrachloroethylene, 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane, Monochlorobenzene (Chlorobenzene), Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Isopropylbenzene, Styrene, n-Propylbenzene, Alpha particle activity (excl radon and uranium), Alpha particle activity (incl. radon & uranium), Combined Radium (-226 & -228), Radium-226, Radium-228, Tritium, Strontium-90, Combined Uranium (pCi/L), Gross beta particle activity (pCi/L)

21 Water Treatment and Distribution Byproducts
(pipes and fixtures, treatment chemicals and byproducts)

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), Total haloacetic acids (HAAs), Chloroform, Bromodichloromethane, Dibromochloromethane, Dichloroacetic acid, Trichloroacetic acid, Bromoform, Dibromoacetic acid, Monochloroacetic acid, Monobromoacetic acid, Chlorite, Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Cadmium (total), Chloromethane, Bromate, Vinyl chloride, Dibromomethane, Bromochloromethane, Benzo[a]pyrene, Chloroethane

22 Naturally Occurring
(naturally present but increased for lands denuded by sprawl, agriculture, or industrial development)

Nitrate, Copper, Nitrate & nitrite, Barium (total), Lead (total), Arsenic (total), Manganese, Radium-228, Radium-226, Alpha particle activity (excl radon and uranium), Combined Radium (-226 & -228), Gross beta particle activity (pCi/L), Combined Uranium (pCi/L), Chromium (total), Alpha particle activity (incl. radon & uranium), Selenium (total), Nitrite, Radon, Bromide, Mercury (total inorganic), Chloromethane, Cyanide

35 Unregulated Contaminants
EPA has not established a maximum legal limit in tapwater for these contaminants

Bromide, Lead (total), p-Isopropyltoluene, Metolachlor, Dieldrin, Chloromethane, Dichlorodifluoromethane, Bromomethane, Chloroethane, Trichlorofluoromethane, Hexachlorobutadiene, Naphthalene, Aldrin, Dibromomethane, 1,1-Dichloropropene, 1,3-Dichloropropene, 1,2,3-Trichloropropane, 2,2-Dichloropropane, 1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene, 1,2,3-Trichlorobenzene, n-Butylbenzene, 1,3,5-Trimethylbenzene, tert-Butylbenzene, sec-Butylbenzene, Bromochloromethane, Dicamba, o-Chlorotoluene, 1,1-Dichloroethane, 1,1,1,2-Tetrachloroethane, 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane, Isopropylbenzene, n-Propylbenzene, Radon, Tritium, Strontium-90

  Testing Summary for North Carolina

The federal government has set standards for some of the pollutants found in tap water supplies.

Contaminants reported as tested by water suppliers in North Carolina 135
  Contaminants tested due to federal law: 85
  Contaminants tested in addition to those required by federal law: 50
  Violation Summary for North Carolina

Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency includes the following violations of federal standards in North Carolina since 2004.

Violation Type Number of Violations
Failure to monitor regularly 19,062
Monitoring and Reporting Disinfection Byproduct Rule 2,384
Public Notification Violation for National Primary Drinking Water Regulations 2,098
Other Non-National Primary Drinking Water Regulations Potential Health Risks 1,617
Over maximum contaminant level, Average 1,450
Failure to monitor, Routine Major (Coliform bacteria) 1,160
Failure to report information to the public or state agency in the Consumer Confidence Report 1,017
Inadequate reporting of information to the public 678
Follow-up and Routine Tap Sampling 560
Failure to monitor, Routine Minor (Coliform bacteria) 234
Maximum contaminant level, Monthly (Coliform bacteria) 169
Initial Tap Sampling for Lead and Copper 152
Public Education 89
Optimal Corrosion Control Treatment Study Recommendation 79
Failure to monitor, Repeat Major (Coliform bacteria) 69
Over maximum contaminant level, Single Sample 26
Treatment Technique Precursor Removal 22
Maximum contaminant level, Acute (Coliform bacteria) 12
Failure to monitor, Repeat Minor (Coliform bacteria) 12
Excess Turbidity at 0.3 NTU 7
Treatment Technique (Surface Water Treatment Rule) 7
Excess Turbidity at 1 NTU 4
Non-Acute maximum residual disinfectant level 3
Monitoring & Reporting of Filter Profile/Comprehensive Performance Evaluations Failure 2
Failure to monitor or report, Routine/Repeat (Indicators of microbial or virus contamination) 2
Filter Turbidity Reporting 2
Acute maximum residual disinfectant level 2

Sources : EWG (Environmental Working Group)