Water Quality & Treatment

Everyone expects to turn on their tap and have clean, safe drinking water flow out. To make this happen requires the 24/7/365 commitment of water operations staff to ensure that an adequate supply of drinking water - in full compliance with all local, state and federal regulatory requirements - is delivered to Durham’s customers every day. Another major public safety aspect of the system is maintaining adequate fire flow for fire suppression.

The staff of the Water Supply and Treatment Division operates the city’s 2 water treatment facilities and the Lake Michie and Little River Lake pumping stations. Durham has 2 main sources of raw water supply: Lake Michie, which was completed in 1926, and Little River Reservoir, which was completed in 1987.
Lake Michie
These 2 lakes have a combined safe yield of 37 million gallons per day (MGD). Lake water is delivered to the either of the city’s treatment plants using a combination of gravity flow and electric and hydro-powered pumping for efficiency purposes. The staff also utilizes time of day pumping to keep electric costs as low as possible.

The Williams Water Treatment Plant (WTP) was constructed in 1917 and has a current capacity of 22 MGD. The Brown WTP was completed in 1979 and has a current capacity of 30 MGD. The annual daily average water production of the facilities combined was approximately 28.2 MGD for 2010, with a peak daily production of 38.84 MGD on July 29, 2011.

Drink Tap

The American Water Works Association's Drink Tap website is a dedicated resource to improve public health, protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance our quality of life.