Wednesday Update: Long Creek Wastewater Spill

Long Creek Golf Course SSO 2018 (58)
Crews removing debris after wastewater is contained behind barrier

Bypass Operations

Battling additional storms and adverse weather, crews worked through the night Tuesday to set up bypass pumping operations around the break. Two temporary pipes are set up (a 10-inch and 6-inch in diameter) to capture wastewater from the end of the broken pipe and pump it across the land to the nearest manhole redirecting the waste around the break. Bypass pumping allows staff to replace the pipe without interrupting service to customers or discharging additional wastewater into the nearby stream.


Today, crews are building a proper access road from Oakdale Dr. so that heavy equipment and materials can maneuver near the break site without risk of damage. This is the first step in constructing the repair to the broken 30-inch wastewater pipe. Repairs could take days if not weeks to complete. Not only does the wastewater pipe need to be replaced but the stream banks will need to be restored and revegetated.

Historical Spills

The Long Creek spill is the largest spill Charlotte Water has recorded at 15.4 million gallons. Charlotte Water suspects the break occurred during the very heavy storm the night of April 15-16.

The next two largest spills occurred October 25, 2017 on Mallard Creek (4.8 million gallons) and May 22, 2003 on McAlpine Creek (4.752 million gallons). All three of these spills were caused by heavy storms eroding creek banks causing pipe collapse.

Wastewater Spills in General

Most spills are significantly smaller in volume; in 2017, the average spill was a little over 650 gallons. Charlotte Water has worked for more than a decade to drive down the number of wastewater spills each year. In 2017, Charlotte Water collected and treated 99.9995% of the community’s wastewater but still experienced 189 wastewater spills. Nearly half of all spills are caused by grease and disposable wipes.