How Charlotte Water Prioritizes Leaks

You walk out your door and see a line of water trickling down the street. (great you think, another leak in Charlotte). So, you call 311 or send us a tweet to report the leak. Charlotte Water staff thank you for reporting it and say they will repair it. A few days pass by and the leak still hasn’t been fixed. You wonder, what is the deal?

This is a common occurrence around our city and we want to make sure you understand how and why we prioritize leaks the way we do, and that we have a triage scenario due to a large number of broken/leaking pipes in the city. For more information on why they break, check out this blog article on why pipes break.

Some leaks are taking longer than below estimates. You can check to see if a leak has already been reported. If the leak is getting worse or causing property damage let us know by calling 311 or 704-336-7600 and say or select ‘water emergency.’

Charlotte Water has three levels of leaks; minor, priority and emergency leaks.

Minor Leaks

  • are not a hazard to anyone
  • are not damaging property
  • are leaking slowly
  • the leak is small
  • the leak is not causing any loss of water pressure to surrounding customers
  • typical 8 week repair time

Minor Leak 2

Minor Leak 1
Examples of minor leaks

Priority Leaks

  • are a steady flow that causes attention, but is not causing any property damage
  • the leak is minor but could results in property damage if left unattended
  • surrounding customers have low water pressure
  • typical repair time of 2-3 days; a 5-day goal
  • some priority leaks may take longer due to the number of emergencies and other priority leaks that need to be repaired first
Priority Leak 2
priority leak examples

Emergency Leaks

  • when neighborhoods or businesses do not have water
  • property damage is occurring
  • it’s a hazard to the public
  • could cause major ice spots in the winter
  • a customer has no water pressure or flow
  • typical repair time 1-2 days

Emergency Leak 2

Emergency Leak 1
Emergency leak examples

Please, keep this in mind and know that we have staff working 24/7 on all infrastructure problems throughout our entire 8,000-mile system of sewer and water pipes. Our field staff are working on ways to mark leaks that have already been reported and are in our system. Please keep an eye out for either a flag or spray paint denoting that we have seen the leak.

So to summarize….

Leak Type Description Typical Repair Time
  • No hazard to anyone.
  • No property damage
  • Slow/Very small leak
  • Not causing any loss of water pressure
8 weeks
  • Steady flow that causes a lot of attention, but is not causing any property damage.
  • Leaks in the street that are minor but could result in further damage if left unattended.
  • The customer has low pressure or flow.
2-3 days; 5-day goal
  • Customers/Neighborhoods/Businesses without water
  • Doing property damage
  • Hazard to the public
  • Can cause major ice spots in winter
  • The customer has zero pressure or flow.
1-2 days

One thought on “How Charlotte Water Prioritizes Leaks”

  1. Great information! I assumed that “Priority” meant it was a high priority/fast response. Maybe you could have the technicians be more specific when talking to customers about repair time frames.

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