Local News

Cary to Check New Homes for Reclaimed Water

Posted July 26, 2007

— Town crews will test household drinking water at all new homes, officials said Thursday, after finding two homes where treated wastewater was piped into the drinking water lines instead of into sprinkler systems.

About 450 homes in Cary used "reclaimed" water, or partially treated wastewater, for irrigation systems. Officials discovered this week that the lines at two of those homes were inadvertently switched, sending drinking water to the sprinklers and reclaimed water to the household faucets.

Both families have been moved to hotels while the town flushes their water lines and ensures the water is safe to drink. Officials said the families should be back in their homes by the weekend.

The mix-up prompted officials to adopt a policy calling for water at all new homes with reclaimed-water irrigation systems to be tested before a certificate of occupancy is issued. The tests would help ensure that no cross connection between the two water systems exists, officials said.

“By going to the house and sampling the water from the tap, we will be able to be absolutely certain that the water serving the house is potable water,” Cary Town Manager Bill Coleman said in a statement. “This additional step in our permitting process should give everyone increased confidence that the water they drink is safe, reliable and of the highest quality.”

Officials are still trying to determine how the water lines in the two homes got switched. In both cases, the switch occurred after inspectors had certified that the two types of water systems had been properly separated and marked.

One house has been occupied since December, and the other since March.

“We regret the concern and inconvenience this has caused our two families, and we’ve appreciated their support and cooperation as we’ve worked through this difficult and unprecedented issue,” Coleman said.


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  • scal Jul 27, 2007

    Maybe Inspections should check the number of beer cans left on job sites. Maybe someone smoked too much dope when they ran the water lines. Honest mistake.

  • Vietnam Vet Jul 26, 2007

    You know...you'd think that testing of the water would have already been something that they do especially where non potable water is being used in conjunction with potable water in a subdivision.

  • GWALLY Jul 26, 2007

    ...dukey water in two towns now!!!!! Cary and Durham !!!!

  • Adelinthe Jul 26, 2007

    "About 450 homes in Cary used "reclaimed" water..."


    "Nice to see Cary getting the triangle such great press."


    I think they also made the news when their sewage treatment plant on Holly Springs Road burst into Swift Creek and contaminated everything downstream, especially Lake Wheeler (which still has problems from this occasionally) and Lake Benson.

    Normal though, Cary cwapping on their neighbors. LOL

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • PackWillEat Jul 26, 2007

    Well what gets me about the whole thing is that treated wastewater/ "reclaimed" water, or partially treated wastewater, what ever you like to call it has to be piped in a pinkish/purple piping. Be it pvc/hdpe it has to be a different color then treated H20, same as gas is yellow/hdpe pipe. So it would take a moron to mess up the attachment process. So are they using the spec piping or are they just morons???

  • pinklady-1 Jul 26, 2007


  • applejuice Jul 26, 2007

    i think for most people, ignorance is bliss when it comes to drinking water and when the term "wastewater" is used, it makes it national news. i use a house and faucet filter and change them regularly but i'm sure its not doing as much as i think it is.

  • Waterrox Jul 26, 2007

    applejuice... Wasn't trying to burst your bubble, just explain some of the processes of drinking water. Ideally, the reclaimed water should not be ingested. It is high quality water, cleaner than unfiltered river water! However, it just isn't a "tasty" thought to people that they drank 100% reclaimed wastewater.

    I guess the thought of the wastewater effluent being diluted in rivers and then retreated in a water treatment plant makes people more comfortable.

    Although, many cities in the West (i.e., Denver, San Diego, Phoenix) drink "from toilet to tap" That is, their drinking water is the wastewater effluent.

    As long as there are not heavy metals or abundant amounts of bacteria in your water, you should be just fine and dandy.

  • speedy Jul 26, 2007

    I'll drink the water for a couple months too if I can get in on some lawsuits! It's treated, for crying out loud. It's not hog lagoon being spread on fields. It's probably as good on any given day as most older municipal systems in this country.

  • applejuice Jul 26, 2007

    well waterrox, consider my bubble burst then - even though my post clearly states it isn't the inspectors fault if they marked it correctly then someone came behind and switched it, you still decided to "burst my bubble". If everyone drinks dookie water then why is this news?