Blue Thumb, October 2011



The quality, reliability and sustainability of our water and wastewater services are a critical part of our community’s quality of life.


As stewards of the community’s water resources, we take our responsibilities seriously.


Our goal is that if you could choose your water utility, you would select OWASA. We want to be your "utility of choice" because of what we add to your quality of life on a daily basis in terms of health, public safety, support of our local economy, and environmental protection.


Quality and Reliability


We made an organizational commitment several years ago to becoming a national leader in drinking water quality.


OWASA was recognized for this work in May, 2011 when we received the "Excellence in Water Treatment Award" from the national Partnership for Safe Water. By some estimates, there are over 5,000 water utilities in the U.S. OWASA is the ninth to receive this award.


Above: Plant Operator Jaime Barajas, a member of the award-winning team at our Jones Ferry Road Water Treatment Plant, gets a water sample as part of our testing program.


A key measure of water system reliability is the frequency of breaks in our water pipes. OWASA maintains over 400 miles of water lines and for the last five years, we have averaged 8.2 breaks per 100 miles of water lines. According to a study by the American Water Works Association, this places OWASA in the top quartile in the U.S. for this measure.


Our Mason Farm Wastewater Treatment Plant has surpassed all of the standards for treated wastewater quality since January, 2009.


To view a monthly "dashboard" of our performance indicators, please click here.

The Value of Water Conservation


A key part of our ability to sustain an adequate water supply is that since 2002, OWASA customers in all categories have reduced drinking water consumption by 25%.


The University now uses highly treated reclaimed water from our Mason Farm Wastewater Treatment Plant instead of drinking water in cooling towers and for irrigation and toilet flushing at certain facilities.


Our reclaimed water system will meet about 12% of the community’s overall water demand in the coming year and the University continues to pay all costs of receiving reclaimed water service.


A 50-year perspective



Our Cane Creek, University Lake and Quarry Reservoir supplies will meet our needs under most circumstances for the next 50 years. We expect the Jordan Lake supply to meet future needs during droughts.


Assuming we retain and access our Jordan Lake allocation by working with our neighbors such as Durham, Cary and Chatham County, our customers will not have to fund major investments in new water supply sources or treatment capacity.


Sustaining our Infrastructure



Recent engineering studies have confirmed that our system is in good shape, and we have a well-informed capital program and financial plan to keep it that way.


We plan to stay ahead of the curve by reinvesting what’s needed (about $10-13 million annually) to sustain our water and wastewater systems.


We thank you for your continuing commitment to conserving our drinking water supplies.


We also appreciate your understanding of the need to sustainably operate, maintain and fund the water and sewer system infrastructure that helps maintain our community’s public health, safety, economic vitality, and environment.

How You Can Help People In Need: Taste of Hope


We invite you to help customers in need pay their water and sewer bills by signing up as a monthly donor in our Taste of Hope Customer Assistance Program.


The Inter-Faith Council for Social Service (IFC) uses Taste of Hope donations to help local families pay their OWASA bills as part of the IFC’s overall crisis intervention services.


Unfortunately, the need far exceeds the funds available. To sign up as a donor or increase your monthly donation, please contact us at 919-537-4343 or, or click here.

 You can simply have your monthly bill rounded up to the next dollar, or you can add any whole dollar amount to your monthly bill as a donation.


You can also support the Taste of Hope program by giving directly to the IFC at 110 West Main Street, Carrboro, NC 27510.


We cannot use normal revenues to assist customers in need, so we rely on donations to help local families.


Questions or comments?


We welcome your feedback and questions at any time. Your feedback is critically important in our work to continuously improve our services.