Local News

City of Durham Violated Water Reporting Standards

Posted March 9, 2007 5:31 p.m. EST


— The City of Durham violated state reporting standards when it failed to report water test results from its two water plants in 2006, the city announced Friday.

All public water providers are required to conduct a test each year for VOCs or Volatile Organic Chemicals, which is then reported to the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources.

VOCs are a class of carbon chemicals that evaporate or vaporize and typically are found in water sources located near heavily developed areas. Because Durham’s water supply watersheds are not near heavily developed areas, the risk of exposure to VOCs is minimal, city officials said.

Tests conducted yearly since 1988 for the contaminants have consistently been below the maximum contaminant level, or non-detectable, according to the city.

Durham's Water Management Department recently conducted the test for 2007. The results show VOC levels consistent with tests conducted since 2004, meaning there were no violations of water quality standards, city officials said.

Those results have been forwarded to the state. The state requires that cities provide public notification of the 2006 violation within 12 months to customers. When Durham officials failed to do that, they received "Notices of Violation" from the state.

“Though the recent test shows low levels of VOCs consistent with past tests, I am disappointed that our staff missed this important deadline,” City Manager Patrick Baker said in a news release. “While staff did properly collect the 2006 sample, it was not tested and forwarded to the state in a timely manner. I have instructed the staff to conduct an extensive review of the current procedures to ensure that all state compliance deadlines are met in the future.”