Chapel Hill, North Carolina
What is the Water Quality in Chapel Hill, North Carolina?
Compared to other US cities, Chapel Hill water quality ranks in the lower-middle range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 16 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.
- Chloroform is at very high levels: 39x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at extremely high levels: 138x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at extremely high levels: 229x health guidelines.
- These are both byproducts of the chlorine treatment process most water supplies go through.
- PFOA is at extremely high levels: 1,071x health guidelines.
Let’s look closer at what’s in Chapel Hill water.
What’s in Chapel Hill water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
- Chlorate – Potential effect: Harm to the thyroid
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 16 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
10 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does Chapel Hill have Lead contamination?
No, Chapel Hill does not currently have lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected from 2017 through 2019 showed concentrations of 0.0 parts per billion (ppb).
The legal limit for lead is 15 parts per billion. Being well-below this level is a good thing.
- Concentrations between 3.8 ppb and 15 ppb put a formula-fed baby at risk of elevated blood lead levels. Read more about the symptoms of Lead in water.
There is no safe level of lead for humans.
- The good news is that 99.99% of the lead can be removed.
See the What Can You Do? section below to learn how to filter out contaminants.
Where does Chapel Hill’s water come from?
Chapel Hill’s water comes from the Little Creek watershed.
8 of the 9 assessed water sources in the Little Creek watershed are in Impaired condition. These include:
- Bolin Creek
- Booker Creek – Multiple sections
- Little Creek
- New Hope Creek
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. One section of Bolin Creek is in Good condition (near Hogan Lake).
Whether a water source is in Impaired or Good condition refers to the quality of three uses:
- Aquatic Life
- Fish and Shellfish Consumption
Learn more from How’s My Waterway
See below for what you can do to improve Chapel Hill’s water.
What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in Chapel Hill can be surprising.
But there are things you can do in your home to clean up your water.
To Remove Lead and Other Contaminants In Your Home:
There is one solution that beats Brita, PUR, and expensive whole house systems.
- It costs less per gallon.
- Needs fewer filter changes.
- And it doesn’t make your water taste weird.
- Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out at least 90% of contaminants in your drinking water.
- This includes: Chloroform, Haloacetic acids, and PFOA.
- Berkey filters can also remove up to 99.99% of any Lead in Chapel Hill water.
- Brita can filter 11 contaminants and Lead depending on the filter.
- Note: We may receive a commission if you decide to purchase filters through links on this page.
- To filter out 14 of the 16 contaminants in your whole house, consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your home.
- These are more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but can be more effective.
- They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
- Benzopyrene – carcinogen
- Haloacetic acids
- Hexavalent chromium
- Total trihalomethanes – byproduct of chlorination*
- Trichloroacetic acid
*Chlorination is an effective method of disinfecting/treating drinking water. You can then use a water filter to reduce the effects of chlorination byproducts to get the safest, cleanest water possible.
In Your Community:
Contact your local government officials and put pressure on them to invest in cleaner waterways and upgraded city water filtration and treatment.
Go to: https://www.townofchapelhill.org/ to find contact information for your local officials.