Category Archives: Employee Spotlights

Water Week Spotlight: Letitia Harvey, Service Dispatcher

Drinking Water Week continues as we spotlight one of our “behind-the-scenes” staff members, Letitia Harvey, a Service Dispatcher. Letitia and her team play a critical role in communicating with staff across multiple divisions to ensure water is always there when you need it. We sat down with Letitia and discussed more about her important role with Charlotte Water.

Taken by Cam Coley, employee City of Charlotte, Charlotte Water

For Dispatchers each day is different, because new and unique situations arise every day! At the beginning of her shift, Letitia receives a debriefing from the previous shift on any incidents or updates she needs to be aware of going into her day. She then logs into a variety of internal systems needed to perform her job throughout the day.

Dispatchers also have to use a two-way radio and phone to quickly communicate with crews and senior water technicians who are working out in the field. Dispatchers have to be very organized and in control of their devices at all times.

Letitia has worked for Charlotte Water as a Dispatcher for a little over two years, and received the Field Operations “Employee of the Year” award in 2020. Last year during the pandemic, Letitia and her team made the best of their situation, as they were not able to work from home. They really exemplified the theme of “there when you need it” because they had to take on additional responsibilities as needed while they were working in the office during the pandemic. The dispatch team has eight staff members, including their supervisor, Fred Moody, who always works with the team and helps out where needed.

Letitia also gave a shout out to Scott Clark, Chief of Operations, who never missed a day during the pandemic. Letitia shared that Scott reported to work every day with an optimistic outlook on safety pertaining to the pandemic, and he provided the Dispatch team with additional resources and support as needed. His presence was an added comfort during very trying times coping with the Pandemic, and they appreciated that they were “not alone” during the uncertain times. This example really solidifies the theme of “there when you need it.” Letitia shared how staff members work together in unity, no matter what curve ball is thrown in their path; they are “always there when you need us.”

Taken by Cam Coley, employee City of Charlotte, Charlotte Water

Her favorite part about her job is problem solving. It is very rewarding being able to assist customers, who are many times in a panic when they call in about an issue or outage with their water. It is a good feeling knowing that you have the resources to help customers and make them feel at ease knowing that we can address and help the situation.

One rewarding experience that Letitia shared, was one Sunday, when calls go directly to Dispatch instead of coming through 311 first, there was a customer who was out of water for a prolonged period of time that day. The customer’s outage time had been extended, so they took a pitcher of water out to her so that the customer would have enough water to get through the remainder of the outage.

As a dispatcher, your day pretty much never stops; on a typical day they receive over a hundred calls. But for Letitia, that is a good thing. She thrives when she is busy and getting the job done. Her least favorite part about her job is the down time when things slow down, and the calls and emails take a pause. However, this is a good opportunity to catch up on any emails, which have to be monitored very closely.

Emails are another very critical part of a Dispatcher’s role, as many issues and requests come through email in addition to the many calls they receive. Everyone has a variety of issues that are coming in via email, and they must be prioritized accordingly. Letitia is also responsible for monitoring camera surveillance for Zone 2, monitoring the gates to control who enters their Zone. She also monitors the SCADA system which monitors when the treatment plants do their testing, and when they hear an alarm at the lift station.

Letitia enjoys staying busy, but also knows that self care is very important. She had the clever idea of creating a “Zen zone” at her desk, to take small breaks as needed to reset during the day.

Letitia’s “Zen zone” at her desk and her Employee of the Year Award

Thank you Letitia for sharing with us more information about your role, and thank you for all that you and your team do for our community to keep water there when you need it!

Continue to follow along this week as we will share more “day in the life” stories of our staff members during National Drinking Water Week!





Water Week Spotlight: Justin Sherrill, Water Treatment Plant Operator

As most residents are ending their day and heading off to bed, Justin Sherrill, a Water Treatment Plant Operator at the Franklin Water Treatment Plant, is just beginning his day. Justin works the third shift at the plant, which begins at 10:00pm and ends at 6:00am. He takes some time after the end of his shift to show us around the plant, and give us a glimpse into a typical “day in the life” of a Water Treatment Plant Operator.

On a typical day, Justin begins his shift by receiving information from the prior shift; operators from the preceding shift debrief him on anything he needs to be aware of going into his shift for the night. There are three operators working during each shift, and there must be at least two operators on site at all times.

After receiving his assignments for his shift, Justin will do a walkthrough, where he will walk around to check the grounds, inspecting the treatment plant and making sure everything appears to be in order. As shift supervisor he must make sure that everything is in compliance with the required guidelines for his shift – tanks need to be filled to certain levels, putting out enough water into the system, making sure the water quality is where it needs to be, etc.

A story that Justin shared with us occurred back in early March. There was a large water main break that occurred during the early morning hours, and the treatment plant operators, Justin included, were some of the first to realize and identify that there was a problem due to the amount of water they were losing at the plant – it was an unusually high amount for that time of the day.

The first shift typically deals with the highest demands, as residents are more active and getting ready for their day during this time. The night shift helps to prep the morning shift, and also handles the paperwork and reporting out of how many chemicals were used and how much water was pumped out. This information must also be reported on a monthly basis.

Justin’s favorite part about his job is training other staff members and being able to share his knowledge and what he has learned along the way. Justin takes pride in knowing how important his role is, and enjoys sharing that information with others. Here, he takes the time to walk us through the steps of the water treatment process at the plant.

He points to the first step, which is pumping in the raw water (untreated water) from the reservoir. Once it is pumped in, it flows to the next steps of coagulation and flocculation. During coagulation, liquid aluminum sulfate (alum) is added to the raw water. When alum is mixed with the water, it causes the small particles of dirt in the water to coagulate (aka, stick together). During flocculation, large paddles in the tanks stir the alum and water mixture which causes the particles to stick together, which then forms larger and heavier particles called floc.

Flocculation basin

From there, the water and floc particles flow to the sedimentation basins where the heavy floc particles then settle at the bottom of the basin.

Sedimentation basins

After that, the water flows through a filter, which removes any remaining particles in the water. After the water has been filtered, very small amounts of fluoride and chlorine are added to the water. The fluoride is added to help protect our teeth, and the chlorine is added to kill any germs or contaminants, and to help keep the water disinfected while it travels through miles and miles of pipes to reach customers.

Water filters

Next, Justin will grab some water samples from the lab, where they test each of the water filters every four hours. Samples from the Franklin Water Treatment Plant are also sent to our lab analysts at the Environmental services facility once a week for testing of taste, odor, and metals.

Justin testing the chlorine level of the water sample

Thank you to Justin for showing us around and sharing more information about your role with Charlotte Water! We greatly appreciate our Water Treatment Plan Operators who help to keep clean drinking water flowing to our customers.

Continue to follow along this week as we will share more “day in the life” stories of our staff members during National Drinking Water Week!





Engineers Week Spotlight: Nathan Hampton’s Insights on Hydraulic Modeling

In honor of Engineers Week, we asked one of our very own engineers to share their experiences and insights on their work as an engineer. This article is written by Nathan Hampton, a Senior Engineer here at Charlotte Water. Nathan shares information about the critical work of virtually testing our pipes before they are installed in the ground.

Charlotte Water maintains over 8,000 miles of pipe – enough to travel to Alaska and back! With so much growth in Charlotte, that number is only going to increase. It’s no secret that the future is unpredictable, so how do we know when new water and wastewater pipes need to be installed or replaced? How do we know if the pipes will be the correct size to keep up with the city’s growth? That’s where our Charlotte Water Engineers come in. Engineers create a computer model to virtually “test out” the pipe before building the real thing! This testing ensures there will be enough capacity in the pipes now and years into the future.

Crew installing a 72-inch water pipe to serve south and western portion of Mecklenburg County.

Water and sewer models have been used by utilities ever since the computer was invented to apply flow calculations to water pipe networks and wastewater collection systems. These models predict when and where the system will run out of room for flow and where existing pipes can be replaced. The models predict and test for the normal day-to-day flow and for the worst-case scenarios when the pipe is really put to the test.

Of course, a model is only as good as the data that goes into it. Months of wastewater flow and level data, water pressure data, pipe roughness characteristics, hydrant flow testing data, pipe diameters, slopes, valve locations and positions, (and so much more!) must be collected and validated at the start of creating a system model. In cases where a system model already exists, the same data must be updated to best represent the current system and calibrate to rigorous modeling standards before being deemed worthy to use for analysis.

CLTWater Engineers reviewing the design of an upcoming project.

Utilities continuously invest in keeping healthy, ready-to-use models to aid in system analysis. Equally as important as the data that goes into the model are the engineers who use it. Model users must take care to base their modeling results on sound assumptions and quality data.

So the next time you think about the pipe in your neighborhood, you can also think about how it existed as a virtual pipe in a model before becoming the real thing. For more information about Charlotte Water’s water and wastewater system computer models, contact the Engineering Planning department by visiting

Black History Month Spotlight: Angela Charles

In honor of Black History Month, we recognize our Charlotte Water Director, Angela Charles, who is the first African-American woman to serve as our Director. Angela has been a City of Charlotte employee since 1988 and served as the chief of operations and division manager for Charlotte Water before stepping into her role as Director in January 2018. She transitioned to the dual role of Assistant City Manager and General Services Interim Director in July 2019, before returning to her passion of serving as the Charlotte Water Director in October 2020.

“Angela is a valuable leader in Charlotte Water. She has been instrumental in affecting change and improving processes for nearly 1 million customers throughout Charlotte and Mecklenburg County,” said City Manager Marcus D. Jones.

As director, Angela is responsible for the countywide water treatment and distribution, wastewater treatment and collection, utilities planning, and most recently the city’s storm water system along with management activities. She leads a staff of approximately 1,200 with an operating budget of over $546 million, and a five-year Community Investment Program budget of approximately $2.46 billion. Charlotte Water maintains more than 11,000 miles of water, sewer and storm water pipelines, with nearly 300,000 active water connections countywide.

Angela holds a Master of Public Administration degree from UNC Charlotte and a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University. She was the 2017 chair of the North Carolina American Water Works Association and North Carolina Water Environment Association (NC AWWA-WEA) and is a Grade A water distribution operator. Angela has received many water industry awards, including the prestigious Warren G. Fuller Award and the Arthur Sidney Bedell Award.

Charlotte Water Directors, from left to right: Doug Bean, Barry Gullet, Joe Stowe, and Angela Charles (photo taken in 2019)