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UPDATE – Charlotte Water Responds to Wastewater Spill in Mallard Creek

Charlotte Water is actively repairing a 36” wastewater main that was broken by a tree after Monday evening’s storms. Staff estimates that 4.7 million gallons entered Mallard Creek just east of the intersection of N. Tryon St. and E. Mallard Creek Church Rd. where the break in the pipe was found Tuesday morning.

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View of fallen tree across Mallard Creek. White discharge of wastewater can be seen in foreground.

The break was discovered when staff at the Mallard Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant observed unusually low levels of wastewater flow entering the plant and worked quickly to determine the cause of the low flows. Field crews found the broken pipe just after noon on Tuesday and began notifying downstream residents, mobilizing resources to control the spill and design a repair. Bypass pumping was put in place and the spill ceased by 8:15 pm Tuesday.

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Broken pipe can be seen at left side of creek bank

“We detected the problem quickly, unfortunately it took us a few hours to find the spill location along Mallard Creek and control the discharge from the broken pipe,” says Deputy Director Ron Hargrove. “We have to estimate that the spill probably started during the storm or soon thereafter.”

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The wastewater is currently being fed by bypass pumps back to the wastewater treatment plant, so the spill is contained at this time. Crews from Storm Water Services have assisted Charlotte Water and contractors with removing debris from the creek. Representatives from NC Department of Environmental Quality have been on site to observe operations. Charlotte Water staff has been monitoring work and bypass pumps around the clock. Charlotte Water estimates work to repair the 36” wastewater main will continue for the next 48-72 hours.

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Pumps and temporary lines will carry wastewater from the end of the broken pipe overland to a nearby wastewater pipe so it can flow to the wastewater treatment plant during the repair

Charlotte Water maintains more than 4,300 miles of wastewater collection pipes across Mecklenburg County. Residents can report odors, unusual looking creeks or overflowing manholes by calling 311 anytime of day.