All posts by Erin McNeely

Charlotte Water Advisory Committee

How was the Advisory Committee created?

The Advisory Committee was formed in June 1991. The agreement that formed the group was signed by Mayor Sue Myrick and Board of County Commissioners Chairperson T. Rodney Autrey. ​

The agreement requires that three members will be appointed by the County Commission, three by City Council and one by the Charlotte city mayor. With the exception of the town representative, the members of the Committee must be actively involved in one of the following categories: real estate developer, water and/or sewer contractor, civil engineer specializing in water/sewer construction, financial expert and neighborhood leader. This composition of skill sets was suggested by a 13-member citizen committee that reviewed Utilities policies from April to November 1990, which recommended the five-member Community Facilities Committee be transitioned to seven members with these characteristics. 

When are the Advisory Committee meetings?

Advisory Committee Meetings are typically on the third Thursday of each month between 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. at 4222 Westmont Drive (Conference Room C), Charlotte NC 28217.​

What are the Advisory Committee duties?

To review and make recommendations on the following: all capital improvement programs for water and sewer facilities and changes to such programs; proposed changes in the method for determining water and sewer charges; proposed changes in policy for extending water and sewer services. 

What are the Advisory Commitee memeber’s time requirements?

Members commit approximately 1.5 hours per month. Members are appointed to three-year terms and may be appointed to one additional term to coincide right after the first term.

Who appoints the Advisory Committee?

There are seven members (one appointed by Mayor of Charlotte; three by Charlotte City Council; three by Mecklenburg County Commissioners).​

Who is on the Advisory Committee?

Leslie Jones is the Chairperson and Frank McMahan is the Vice Chairman.  

Other members are:

  • Barbara Bleiweis
  • Gordon Miller
  • Grayson Rountree
  • Bill Cornett
  • Dan Melvin

How do I apply for Advisory Committee?

Applications for City Boards and Commissions are available here.

Advisory Meeting Minutes

February 2023

January 2023

November 2022

October 2022

September 2022

July 2022

June 2022

May 2022

April 2022

March 2022

The History of Charlotte Water

In 1899, Charlotte City Council purchased Charlotte Water Works Company to provide drinking water and fire protection for the City of Charlotte. 

In 1972, the City and County consolidated efforts to provide a single water & wastewater service. This department began with 72,000 customers and 2,300 miles of pipe to maintain. It provided 48 million gallons of drinking water and treated 40 million gallons of wastewater. 

During the 1980s Charlotte Water began serving all of Mecklenburg County. Over the decades, infrastructure has grown to keep pace with the community. The technology was used to switch from septic storage to state-of-the-art wastewater treatment and using chemicals like chlorine, fluoride, and ultra-violet rays to improve water quality.

History Timeline

1870 – City Council identified a need for a water supply system. 

1876 – Charlotte constructs sewer service under Trade Street.

1881 – First water supply company established called ‘Charlotte Water Company’.

1899 – 50,000-gallon standpipe (a pressure regulator) in Dilworth was built for fire protection. The City of Charlotte purchased the water and wastewater system. 

1900 – 5 million gallons a day filter plant and pumping station on Irwin Creek (less than a mile east from present Vest Water Treatment location on Beatties Ford Road).

1903 – The Original Catawba River Pump Station was opened to provide fire protection and drinking water. The pump station was impounded and flooded by Duke Power in 1920 to create Mt. Island Lake.

1903 – The first wastewater septic/treatment plants were built on property now known as Revolution Park & Freedom Park. 

1905 – First water treatment plant built.

1911 – Irwin Creek water supply failed due to a severe water shortage. Trains temporarily brought in water. Utility Department built a new water intake facility on the Catawba River. According to “Water Rates and By-laws of Charlotte Water Works,” the deposit to receive water was $1.50. The monthly rate was $.55 for 1,500 gallons or less. In 1911 customers were located in the ‘four wards,’ Dilworth, Brevard Street, and East Sixteenth.

1917 – 60 million gallon reservoir built (steam and electricity used for operation) to store water.

1920 – The population of Charlotte was 46,538.

1922 – Mt. Island Lake created by Duke Power and a new raw water intake facility built on the lake. Vest Water Treatment Plant built (On Beatties Ford Rd).

1923 – Charlotte abandoned septic tanks within the city limits.

1927 – Charlotte begins construction of two new plants on the current Sugar Creek and Irwin Creek locations. Sugar Creek (located at Park and Tyvola Road) and Irwin Creek (located on Billy Graham Parkway) wastewater treatment plants were actually miles outside of the city limits when first operated.

These plants had the capacity to treat 6 million gallons a day with a flow of 3 million gallons a day in the late 1920s.  The facilities were implemented to protect the environment and water providers downstream.

1929 – The Literary Digest proclaims “Engines Run on Sewage Gas…the first American city to obtain power upon a plant-operating scale from sewage sludge gas falls to Charlotte…the savings in power cost should pay for an engine installation within three years.”

1948 – An Industrial Waste Ordinance was adopted to provide treatment of industrial wastes that would otherwise be discharged into creeks.

1949 – Charlotte’s first use of fluoride as a dental health experiment project.  The natural level of fluoride in the water was .05 – .10 parts per million (ppm).  The experiment prescribed the dosage of 1.05 ppm.  This level was maintained for a month.

1950 –Charlotte population 134,042 served by 36,000 water meters.

1959 – Franklin Water Treatment Plant (5200 Brookshire Blvd) built.  It provided 12 million gallons of drinking water a day.  It now provides over 100 million gallons of drinking water a day.

1960 – Charlotte population is 201,564.

1963 – Cowan’s Ford Dam and Lake Norman created by Duke Power.

1966 – McAlpine Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant built and serving the southern part of Mecklenburg County.

1970 – Water use was 33.8 million gallons a day, served via 1,091 miles of water pipe, 82,478 meters, and 3,234 hydrants.

1972 – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department (CMUD) formed as a division of the City of Charlotte from existing City and County departments.

1979 – McDowell and Mallard Creek Wastewater Treatment plants built to serve the Huntersville area and University area respectively.

1984 – Agreement with six surrounding towns in Mecklenburg County to provide water and wastewater services.

1990 – 100,000th customer and 4,000 miles of pipe.

1996 – Operation of Irwin Creek Plant (along with Vest Water Plant) put up for competitive bid.  The city developed a winning bid, beating 7 international private companies by more than 20%.

1998 – North Mecklenburg Water Treatment Plant completed. Later named Lee Dukes Water Treatment Plant.

2003 – Automated meters in use in North Mecklenburg.  Radio signals send the customer’s water usage to a computer.

2015 – Name changed to Charlotte Water (CLTWater).

Engineering Week: The Many Hats of Our Engineers

CLTWater & CDM Smith staff visiting Raleigh’s Thermal hydrosis process (THP), currently under construction

We have a lot of engineering jobs at Charlotte Water, but did you know that not all of them are the same? There are many different types of engineers that work in various divisions across our department. This article features a Q&A with three different engineers within Charlotte Water who share a glimpse of the work they do for us and our community.

Muriel Steele running samples in Irwin Creek’s lab

Muriel Steele, Wastewater Process Engineer

Q: Provide us with an overview of the work you do – a brief “day-in-the-life”

A: I provide technical support for the wastewater treatment plants with projects like planning and review of engineering studies, evaluation of new equipment or processes, and troubleshooting operational issues. No two days are alike. Recently I have been working on polymer trials to select the best products for each plant’s thickening and dewatering operations, creating a timeline for a recurring issue at one of our plants to better identify the root cause, working with IT to develop interactive dashboards to summarize our collection system sampling data in a useful manner, and writing plans to pilot a new technology at one of our WWTPs.

Q: Tell us about your background, education, and career path – what inspired you to become an engineer?

A: I originally wanted to study architecture because I thought it would combine two of my favorite high school subjects: art and math. Signing up for my first semester of classes, I learned that I had already taken all the required math classes for an architecture degree while I was in high school. I was shocked and panicked! I quickly changed course to what I thought would be the closest thing that required more math: civil engineering. As I progressed through the curriculum, I figured out that water interested me far more than buildings, so I took all the water and environmental classes my college offered and worked in a water lab as an undergraduate. After finishing my BS in Civil Engineering, I went to graduate school for Environmental Engineering where I focused on water and wastewater processes. After graduating I worked as a consulting engineer supporting utilities across the southeast, the US, and even internationally. But after my first project with Charlotte Water, I knew I wanted to work here and have a more active role in supporting our public infrastructure and protecting the local environment.

Q: How long have you been working for Charlotte Water?

A: Coming up on 4 years

Q: What is the most interesting story or thing you’ve seen on the job?

A: The weird things we find in the barscreens/headworks/preliminary treatment at our plants (money, 2x4s, even shopping carts on some of the larger lines)! My favorite was when an operator (at a plant I worked at in SC, not at Charlotte Water) found a diamond ring in the bar screen and proposed to his girlfriend with it!

Also, the aquatic wildlife we see around our outfalls reminds me that we are doing it for more than just the humans in the community. There are a couple of huge soft shell turtles that like to hang around Irwin that are awesome.

Q: What do you love the most about your job?

A: The thing I love most about my job is working with a diverse group people, with different backgrounds and experience, all working to provide a service to our community and the natural environment. I feel like the work we do every day really is for the greater good.

Jason Bromirski, Senior Engineer with Field Operations

Q: Provide us with an overview of the work you do – a brief “day-in-the-life

A: I was lucky enough to be hired by Angela as a Senior Engineer in Field Operations back in 2016. At that time my group was only a handful of personnel doing physical condition assessments of our “Critical Assets” (aerials, force mains, and other exposed sewer lines), acoustic inspections of sewer lines with our SL-RATs units, and sewer point repairs.

Since then, most front line condition assessments of the collection system, and a number of field and engineering support activities have been consolidated into my group. With over 40 employees, my Strategic Operations Support Group performs CCTV surveys in ~1 million linear feet (LF) of sewer mains and now laterals annually, acoustic blockage detection in ~2 million LF of sewer annually, rehabilitates or replaces components of both the collection and distribution system with two large construction crews, completes nearly 1,100 Critical Asset inspections annually, maintains and responds to over 400 SmartCover level sensors that prevent sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs), conducts drone flights for aerial investigations of our assets, manages nine contracts for condition assessment and rehabilitation, and acts as liaisons to other Charlotte Water divisions, City departments, agencies, contractors, and most importantly the public.

Sardis Road Diversion Box

Q: Tell us about your background, education, and career path – what inspired you to become an engineer?

A: I grew up in Spartanburg, SC, moved to Charlotte and attended UNCC. At the time I wanted to pursue a career in GIS, and began interning with Charlotte Water in the middle of my junior year. After graduation, I decided to take a different approach and focus on my passion for construction. Early on I was encouraged by Dennis Gwaltney to apply for one of his open construction inspection positions. He decided to hire me on, and immediately he and Chuck Bliss assigned me to a number of large diameter water and sewer projects. The complexity and the challenge of large scale CIP jobs sparked further interest in me, and as priorities of the department changed, I worked on numerous rehab and replacement projects as well. After a year overseas, I moved to California for two years and worked as a resident engineer and project manager for a small consulting firm. We specialized in federally funded streetscapes, underground utilities, signalization, and bridge projects in municipalities all over northern California. It was interesting to see the different practices and focus in that part of the country. During that time I continued working on and completed my masters in construction management which prepared me for my current position at Charlotte Water.

Q: How long have you been working for Charlotte Water?

A: 18 years

Q: What is the most interesting story or thing you’ve seen on the job?

A: The most interesting thing I encounter routinely on the job is getting to go where likely very few people go. My team and Field Operations in general gets to work in the busiest streets and also the most quiet corners of the county. It can be an eerie feeling when you stand in the middle of our major thoroughfares at rush hour and there is no traffic because the road is shut down due to a repair. It can also be completely calm and peaceful in a flood plain or outfall easement that has not been turned into a greenway yet. With all the development that has occurred in Mecklenburg County, there are some places that are still quite remote.

Q: What do you love the most about your job?

A: The thing I love most about my job is I am positioned to interact with so many people from so many different backgrounds and disciplines and I always learn something new. That allows me to exchange ideas and listen to needs and solve problems, but also to demo new technology. I have always had wonderful supervisors and managers at Charlotte Water, and this gives me the freedom to pursue new and varied approaches to existing and emerging problems encountered at all levels.

Jason Bromirski working on Westinghouse Blvd in 2017

Clark Sanders, Electrical Engineer at McAlpine Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant

Q: Provide us with an overview of the work you do – a brief “day-in-the-life”

A: This morning started with trying to determine if some power distribution equipment that a project team originally installed as a temporary installation was acceptable as a permanent solution. Several emails, phone calls, and meetings with plant personnel generated a recommendation for that project’s management team.  In between those calls, I continued to update a document I created to try and help clarify what power interruptions would happen across the plant when our Delivery 2 switchgear is updated in a few months. That was interrupted by an unexpected meeting to provide input on another projects issue with duct bank routing.

Next on the agenda for the day was coordinating some work at Delivery 1 with Duke Power and plant operations. After lunch I started investigating a sensor issue at our generators that led to tracing wiring and then to the PLC program, to be investigated on another day. The remaining afternoon was taken up with continuing discussions with an integrator on various projects coming up. Those included a PLC upgrade for our generators, new communications for the mixers being replaced at our fermenter, and modification to our plant SCADA network to free up some IP addresses and improve the way we utilize our power monitoring equipment.

Upgrading mixers at the fermenter to ethernet comms

Q: Tell us about your background, education, and career path – what inspired you to become an engineer?

A: I have always enjoyed working on cars and computers when I was younger, and my first journey to college at UNC Chapel Hill was for a degree in Computer Programming. It was somewhat disappointing because, at the time, UNC’s programming was basically a glorified math class. That led to a slight change of course into the US Marine Corps as an Aviation Electronics Technician. That was a lot more interesting so after completing my enlistment, I attended the other UNC at Charlotte to obtain my Electrical Engineering degree.

As an Engineer, I have traveled to Europe, Nova Scotia, Mexico, and across the US several times. I have designed and installed controls for glass plants, tire plants, chemical plants, high speed conversion lines, grid tie battery storage systems, and the most fun, a battery test system in the Tesla plant. Its been a career that has let me travel and see wide variety of manufacturing processes.

Replacing a failed drive at the sand filters

Q: How long have you been working for Charlotte Water?

A: Three years.

Q: What is the most interesting story or thing you’ve seen on the job?

I have seen a lot of complex manufacturing processes, but wastewater treatment seems to be a complex living process and not at all what I expected.

Q: What do you love the most about your job?

A: The opportunity to continue to learn and the people I work with.

Engineering Week: Collaborative Eco-Solutions for Water & Greenway Customers

Charlotte and Mecklenburg County keep growing and growing, and because of that, more water pipes are needed to serve these growing areas. One particular area is the eastern part of Charlotte. Amy Vershel, Senior Engineering Project Manager, shares the details of this collaborative project to support the growth in our community.

Amy Vershel standing next to her Charlotte Water truck
Amy Vershel, Senior Engineering Project Manger with CLTWater

Charlotte Water (CLTWater) needed to add drinking water pipes from Idlewild Road (at East W.T. Harris Boulevard) along W.T. Harris Boulevard, Hickory Grove Road, Highland Avenue, and Plott Road to a water storage tank off of Plaza Road Extension. This project is needed to maintain water quality and reliable service for current and future customers.

During the design phase, dense housing development, other existing underground utilities, and NCDOT pavement restrictions within the proposed pipe alignment required that a portion of the alignment cross the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation (MCPR) Reedy Creek Nature Preserve, a 1000-acre forested habitat and biodiversity center. At the same time, MCPR was engaging Nature Preserve stakeholders in an 18-month planning process to design a greenway in this same corridor.

Water pipe construction along the greenway
Taken by project team for City of Charlotte, Charlotte Water

To avoid significant impacts to critical woodland habitat within the Nature Preserve, the team worked together to find solutions that helped align the new pipe under the greenway trail.

The goal was to avoid large trees and rock outcroppings. Seems simple, right? Not exactly. This required changes in how the water pipe was designed and installed. Some of the changes required weighing the needs of the water system project compared to minimizing impact to the Nature Preserve.

Regular meetings, field walks, alignment tweaks, and special provisions successfully mitigated impacts to both the water system and wildlife habitat. This phase of the project will be in service by the end of 2023. Exemplary collaboration and innovative thinking enabled our interagency team to deliver an enhanced public utility and recreation resource that will build equity, ecological resilience, and community to the residents of Charlotte.

Water pipe construction along the greenway
Photo taken by inspector Brody Boone

Fast Facts

Pipe: 31,300-foot long, 36-inch diameter water transmission main

Cost: $55 million

Duration 36+ months

For more information, please visit our project website :