City of Burlington issues a “Boil Water” notice

City of Burlington Issues Boil Water Notice due to isolated presence of e. coli/fecal coliform in water distribution system.  

 Burlington, NC – During routine sampling on July 14, 2021, E.coli/Fecal coliform bacteria were found at a specific location in the City of Burlington water system. The positive sample came from an outdoor spigot of a residence. Samples taken within the water system immediately upstream and downstream of the spigot showed no bacteria present suggesting that this is an isolated incident.  


E.coli/fecal coliform bacteria can cause illness and are a particular concern for people with weakened immune systems. Even though, the presence of the bacteria does not appear to be widespread, due to Federal and State regulations and out of an abundance of caution, City of Burlington water customers should boil their drinking water until further notice. City of Burlington water customers include Town of Elon, Town of Gibsonville, Town of Whitsett, Town of Haw River, Town of Ossipee, Village of Alamance, and parts of the City of Greensboro.  The City of Greensboro has isolated and tested their water system and is not under a Boil Water Notice. Surrounding municipalities not listed here (including Graham and Mebane) are not affected by  the Boil Water notice. 


The City of Burlington has increased its bacteriological sampling throughout the city water system. The water mains are being flushed in the affected area. Every effort is being made to resolve this issue. Upon the North Carolina Division of Water Quality (NC DEQ) approval, the City of Burlington will inform residents when tests show no bacteria and you no longer need to boil your water. We anticipate resolving the problem within 2 days. 


Bacterial contamination can occur due to a break in the distribution system (City or residential pipes) or a failure in the water treatment process. It can also happen when increased run-off enters the drinking water source (for example, following heavy rains). Whenever this occurs the State of North Carolina advises impacted residents to boil all water used for human consumption (including drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation) or use bottled water. Vigorous boiling for one (1) minute should kill any disease-causing organisms that may be present in the water. 


General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by bacteria and other disease-causing organisms are available from the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.  Residents can also contact the City of Burlington’s Customer Service Line at 336-222-5100 or 336-222-500. You may also monitor the City’s website at