While the treatment process varies slightly at our two water treatment facilities (WTFs), the basic steps are similar.
The Disinfection Method
PWC uses the disinfection method chloramination, which uses both ammonia and chlorine. Ammonia is added to the water at a carefully controlled level, and the chlorine and ammonia react chemically to produce chloramines. This method inactivates the COVID-19 virus, as well as other coronaviruses. Chloraminated drinking water is perfectly safe for drinking, cooking, bathing and other daily water uses. There are, however, two groups of people who need to take special care with chloraminated water: customers who use drinking water for kidney dialysis machines and fish owners. For more information on chloramination, including special precautions these special groups should take, contact PWC.
As an extra measure of safety, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) requires all water systems using chloramination to suspend the addition of ammonia for a one-month period each year. We do this each March to ensure control of any biological growth that may have occurred in the water distribution system.
The Treatment Process
PWC operations and maintenance staff at our facilities are committed to providing safe, high quality drinking water for our customers. When raw water enters the facility, ferric sulfate is added, causing small particles to adhere to one another. This makes the particles heavy enough to settle out of the water in a sedimentation basin. The water is then filtered through sand and anthracite to remove remaining fine particles. Ammonia and chlorine are added to kill harmful bacteria, protozoans, and viruses. Lime or caustic soda and a corrosion inhibitor are added to minimize the potential for dissolving the lead solder used on copper piping in older household plumbing. Fluoride is added as an aid in preventing tooth decay. Both facilities also add powdered activated carbon to reduce substances that produce unpleasant tastes and odors. Treated water proceeds through a series of pumps and storage facilities before being delivered to your home.
Where Does Your Water Come From?
All of the water treated by PWC is “surface water.” The water processed at our P.O. Hoffer Water Treatment Facility comes from the Cape Fear River. Water processed at our Glenville Lake Facility comes from the Cape Fear River, Big Cross Creek, and the Little Cross Creek WaterShed, which contains four bodies of water used for water storage – Bonnie Doone Lake, Kornbow Lake, Mintz Pond, and Glenville Lake. Both of our treatment facilities provide water to our general distribution system, so the water you drink is a blend of water we process from all sources.