Commissioners decide on a fix for the Dukeville water issue

Zinc orthophospate the key to stopping lead and copper contamination

Commissioners approve plan to fix water in Dukeville area

ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Commissioners in Rowan County have decided on a plan that they hope will fix the issue of lead and copper found in some samples of drinking water in the Dukeville community off Long Ferry Road.

“The good folks of Dukeville Road have certainly lived with a lot of frustration and uncertainty over the past few years,” said Rowan County Commission Chairman Greg Edds. “The combined work of County Manager Aaron Church, teams of engineers, Salisbury City Manager Lane Bailey, Mayor Karen Alexander and Jim Behmer and his team from SRU has created a long-term solution to address this water quality issue. We are extremely grateful to the citizens for their patience as we have worked to address this complex and technical issue.”

“Your water may contain lead and copper,” said a letter sent to homeowners in June. Testing of samples in the Northeast Rowan County Water System (NEWS) found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in some homes and buildings. The letter pointed out that lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children.

The county did the testing after 162 meters were connected to serve 450 people on to the new water line that was placed in the area to replace the well water that residents had been using.

On Monday afternoon commissioners decided to go with a plan for Salisbury-Rowan Utilities to switch from using a polyphosphate blend at their water treatment facility to using the chemical compound zinc orthophosphate. More zinc orthophosphate will then be added at a new chemical booster station at the entry point to system. The zinc orthophosphate would prevent lead and copper from getting into the drinking water, according to representatives from engineering firm Hazen and Sawyer.

Zinc orthophosphate is described as “an effective corrosion inhibitor developed specifically for use in potable industrial water systems.”

Commissioners also approved a bid of $742,900 for Dellinger, Inc. to build the chemical booster station at 1375 Long Ferry Road.

NCDEQ has given Rowan County until June 12 to gain compliance, or face penalties for being in violation due to the lead and copper issue.

The county is continuing to ask NEWS customers to run faucets for several minutes before use, clean the water aerators in their faucets and only cook with cold water.

County Manager Aaron Church also says customers should continue to use the Brita filters that mailed out in January. The county is offering a $72.00 credit on customer’s water bills if they return a water sample following the enclosed instructions and using the pre-paid delivery packet.

For more information on the Lead and Copper Testing Program, and other information about the current situation, customers can visit the website at For additional information, please contact County Manager Aaron Church at 704-216-8180.

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