Grease in Pipes Continues to Cause Sewer Spills

The FY16 Wastewater report has been released. The report summarizes activities taken by the department to successfully collect and treat the community’s wastewater before recycling it to the environment. Wastewater treatment plants treated over 30 billion gallons of wastewater during FY16.

Wastewater flows through 4,244 miles of pipes to treatment plants.

On occasion, blockages of grease, tree roots, disposable wipes, and other debris cause wastewater to back up and overflow the pipes. Last year, there were 224 sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) in the service area, an increase of 47 spills compared to the previous year, though the five-year moving average continues to decline noting sustainable progress in cleaning and replacing pipes.

We invest more than $10M a year replacing or inserting a new lining in older pipes to reduce SSOs. We are also installing relief sewers to increase system capacity.

In the past 3 years, Charlotte Water completed the following system improvements:

  • 153,120 ft. or 29 miles of sewer pipe replaced and rehabilitated
  • 486 manholes replaced and rehabilitated
  • 4,361,280 ft. or 826 miles sewer pipe treated with root control herbicide
  • 18,765,120 ft. or 3,554 miles of sewer pipe cleaned
  • 1,452,000 ft. or 419 miles of sewer easement cleared

All five wastewater treatment plants earned Peak Performance Awards from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) for the calendar year ending 2015. NACWA Peak Performance Awards recognize wastewater treatment professionals throughout the nation for protecting the environment and public health through outstanding treatment and discharge regulatory compliance.

Click here for the full report.