What's in Your Drinking Water and is it Safe?

NORTH CAROLINA -- First, there was the raw sewage spill in the Haw River. Then, there was the coal ash spill in the Dan River.

As we hear more about sewage and coal ash spills in our state, we wanted to know about our drinking water. How clean is it?

There are no guarantees that it's 100% safe.

All of our water in the Triad comes from water treatment plants that follow strict EPA standards. Lab techs test the water for 30 different contaminants more than 700 times per day before it's released from the plant.

But did you know, many contaminants are allowed at very low levels? And researchers are still investigating if those contaminants pose a risk to us. Steve Drew with Greensboro Water Resources says the EPA recognizes there's a certain amount of risk. They're just not sure at what level.

"We have to meet every single EPA and state regulation before we can put the water out to the public and that's the assurance the public is that it will meet all EPA and state regulations," said Resources Drinking Water Manager Barry Parsons.

Sylvia Stanback has worked for years to get Greensboro to stop adding chloramine, a combination of chlorine and ammonia. She doesn't believe there's been enough research to prove it's safe. "We don't know what kind of byproducts are going to be emitted from the natural water. That hasn't been tested. And how those byproducts affect our drinking water."

There is no evidence Greensboro's water has a dangerous level of contaminants. They've passed every EPA test.

But they acknowledge that no matter where you live, research has not ruled out all the risks.

As for the chances of a spill like what happened in the Dan or Haw Rivers happening in Greensboro, water officials say it's not possible because there aren't any companies discharging into the streams that lead to our drinking water.


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