A river runs through it: annual water quality report is released

Published 12:10 am Thursday, June 29, 2023

SALISBURY — Every year, Salisbury-Rowan Utilities (SRU) releases its annual drinking water quality report to share with the public where their water comes from, what it consists of, and how it compares to agency standards. This month, SRU put out a report that acted as a “snapshot” of what water quality was like from Jan. 1, 2022 to Dec. 31, 2022.

SRU tests the water located on the Rowan, Davie, Davidson County line at the confluence of the South Yadkin and Yadkin rivers. SRU provides water to East Spencer, China Grove and northeast Rowan County. The Environmental Protection Agency, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, the Public Water Supply Section, and the Source Water Assessment Program are the organizations that conduct the assessments as well as regulate and enforce the rules themselves.

The EPA points out that it is normal for either tap or bottled water to have some trace amounts of contaminants in it, but that does not mean it will lead to significant health problems. The assessments are made in order to figure out how much of the local water supply comes into contact with potential contaminant sources. According to Kalah Simpson, the utility environmental compliance coordinator for SRU, only things that have a positive result go on the report. When it came to testing for inorganic chemicals, pesticides and improperly dumped chemicals, everything came out negative.

“We did a lot of tests to make sure your drinking water is clean and safe. The report is a summary of everything that we have found and what we checked for that had any non-zero value,” Simpson said.

SRU did not commit any major contaminant violations, but did receive a notice for the removal of total organic carbon. While total organic carbon has no health effects, having a higher amount of it can lead to the development of harmful byproducts in water. Between November 2022 and January 2023, SRU did not meet the required average removal ratio of 1.00, but rather one of 0.99 “due to unusually high levels of organic carbon in source water from the Yadkin River.” This infraction was not considered too serious and Simpson says that SRU’s response was appropriate and timely.

Even though the water is safe, Simpson said there are still multiple ways to prevent further contamination like having people volunteer their time, dispose of harmful chemicals properly and not overuse lawn and garden fertilizers or pesticides.

“Nitrate can come from fertilizer so applying too much fertilizer to your yard and then it rains and the fertilizer runs off and makes its way to our water systems, that’s definitely something that people can reduce their use of.”

The full report can be viewed at www.salisburync.gov/waterreport.