UNC campus gets tap water from the Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA). OWASA’s water supply originates as rainfall within the Cane Creek and University Lake watersheds. Read more at OWASA’s Drinking Water page and use the following resources for information about campus water quality.

Water Safety News

OWASA customers may notice chlorine taste and odor in March and early April due to annual change in disinfection

March 14, 2018

Starting in March, OWASA will temporarily use chlorine instead of chloramines to disinfect our drinking water.

Categories: Water Safety

OWASA Distributes Annual Water Quality Report Card

June 23, 2017

OWASA continued to meet or surpass all Federal and State standards for drinking water quality in 2016.

Categories: Water Safety

Orange County Agencies Seek Feedback on Response to the Water Interruption Incident on February 3rd and 4th

June 16, 2017

Dear Carolina community, UNC-CH has partnered with Orange County, the Towns of Carrboro and Chapel Hill, and Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA), to seek feedback on the Water Supply Emergency of Feb 3-4, 2017. This endeavor has been undertaken to improve our community resiliency and response to emergencies. We…

Categories: Water Safety

Additional Resources

Lead in Campus Drinking Water

Lead in campus drinking water is attributed to three sources: Lead pipe, lead solder and leaded brass fittings. Lead pipe and lead solder were banned in 1986 by amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act, promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). Also, the USEPA Lead and Copper Rule requires public water utilities (OWASA) to include corrosion control in their water treatment protocol sufficient to prevent lead leaching from pipes, solder or fittings. The rule requires OWASA to test a representative sample of buildings periodically, to prove they are in compliance. OWASA has passed all Lead and Copper Rule tests.

In 2007, UNC performed a campus-wide inspection for lead piping and found none. OWASA states that there are no lead service lines in their territory. Therefore, the only sources are lead solder and lead-containing brass fittings. UNC has experienced elevated lead levels in drinking water due to the brass fittings, specifically; newer fittings installed during recent renovations and in newly constructed buildings. Typically the problem disappears within six months of normal use. However, UNC has developed a flushing protocol upon the completion of renovations or new construction to reduce the levels below the National Primary Drinking Water Standard before the areas or buildings are occupied.