Lakeview Road is open! Charlotte Water (CLTWater) recently removed the closure and traffic measures along Statesville Road near Lakeview Road, as crews worked on a large water main opening along the roadway.
The work, related to the Water Transmission Mains Improvement & Repairs (WTMIR) Program, began Monday, July 24, and lasted a couple weeks. While traffic measures like detours and lane closures are sometimes frustrating, they are necessary for the safety of work crews and the public. In this case, the water main work happened parallel to other construction activities in the area. Thus, protecting people as well as the project was a priority.
Planning for any construction project while continuing to maintain access for nearby businesses, residents and motorists, can be complicated. It also takes a team effort. Before the project work begins, CLTWater collaborates closely with several different groups, such as state and city partners like NCDOT, CDOT, and other construction projects, to compare traffic plans and discuss ways to mitigate potential impacts as best as possible. This is all part of the important work CLTWater continues to do daily to provide clean, safe and reliable water across the Charlotte region.
Protecting and strengthening the CLTWater system is an important part of the daily work crews do. In the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, Charlotte Water designated millions of dollars towards the systemwide repairs and improvements, designed to update some of the oldest infrastructure throughout the system.
In 2015, CLTWater completed a Water Transmission Mains Assessment, which evaluated some high-risk pipe composition across the water system that could need replacement. Transmission mains are the highways of water distribution; they are large pipes that convey water from pump stations or treatment plants to the neighbor distribution water lines. Since 2019, additional assessments identified various improvements needed to optimize the function and resiliency of the existing water transmission system.
The WTMIR Program is a combination of various replacement and installation projects across the water system, grouped under an umbrella of work designed to improve the water system. The Program is broken down into Zone Areas throughout the CLTWater service area. Each Zone Area will consist of various design and construction projects, which may or may not occur simultaneously.
The importance of the WTMIR Program is to ensure water continues to flow to customers and reduces future emergency repairs that lead to unplanned water outages and traffic disruption.
Work has already been completed in several areas along Old Statesville Road, with upcoming work along Peachtree Rd, Oakdale Rd and other areas expected later this year.
Charlotte Water and its contractors have begun construction on the Clarke Creek Pump Station and Force Main Project. Wastewater generated from portions of Northeastern Mecklenburg County currently flows to the Water & Sewer Authority of Cabarrus County (WSACC). Due to an increase in development and demand in the area, it is necessary to build a new facility to divert a portion of the Clarke Creek Basin flow to the McDowell Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant instead.
Pumping a portion out of the Clarke Creek Basin will allow for new development to continue and will ensure ongoing, reliable service for CLTWater customers.
A Public Meeting was held on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library: North County Regional to discuss the project and answer questions. A copy of the presentation that was reviewed during this meeting can be reviewed below.
There is a manhole in my backyard. What does Charlotte Water (CLTWater) do to maintain pipes in my yard?
CLTWater maintains a large network of sanitary sewer or wastewater pipes. These are different from the storm drains along gutters. The wastewater pipes flow our communities’ wastewater from your homes and businesses to a wastewater treatment plant.
An easement agreement is a legal document that gives CLTWater the right to access, maintain, clear, repair, inspect, improve, renovate, and replace facilities (including pipes and manholes) on private property.
Below is an illustration of wastewater pipes under the streets and then through woods to collect wastewater and flow downstream to a wastewater treatment plant.
What is an Easement?
Permanent and temporary construction easements are needed to build and maintain water and sewer pipes. An easement agreement is a legal document that gives CLTWater the right to access, maintain, clear, repair, inspect, improve, renovate and replace facilities on a property. City representatives work with property owners to finalize the terms of the agreement, and compensation is determined through an appraisal.
The easement agreement is signed by both the City and the property owner and is recorded at the Mecklenburg Register of Deeds office. The agreement is accessible online on the Register of Deeds website.
NOTE: When purchasing a property, easements are not typically reported as part of a title search for the purchase of title insurance. The best way to determine if there are any easements is to survey the property.
What can a property owner do with their land within an easement?
Though the property owner still has ownership of the land, there are restrictions to what they can do within an easement. Any restricted items that are found within an easement during clearing activities will not be replaced at Charlotte Water’s expense.
1. Nothing permanent may be stored or built on top of the easement. This includes but is not limited to slabs, walls, fill, permanent sheds, pools, gazebos and medium-large size trees.
2. Fences are allowed across an easement if a 12-foot access gate is provided. Gates shall be dual-locked to allow access by the property owner and the City.
3. Charlotte Water has a ‘Landscaping/Planting Guidelines’ document that can help a property owner decide what to plant within an easement. Certain plants and trees are restricted, as follows: + No trees are allowed within a permanent easement. + Plants with an invasive root system are not allowed. + Gardens, crops, shrubbery and ornamental trees with shallow roots are acceptable within an easement but not directly over the pipe.
4. Installing a concrete/asphalt driveway partially over the easement is possible but with the following restrictions: + The property owner will be responsible for any damage caused to the pipe. Care should be taken in compacting the excavated area to avoid damage to the pipe. + The property owner will call 811 have utilities located before digging inside easement. + A driveway must be shallow (not to exceed 1 foot and shouldn’t cover any existing access points or manholes).
5. Irrigation systems are not permitted within water and sewer easements. Charlotte Water is not responsible for the repair of any irrigation systems installed within a permanent easement.
What happens to an easement during construction?
Easements are cleared of trees, shrubs, structures, and debris in preparation for construction activities. Existing fences located in the easements are removed and temporary fences are installed during construction.
What happens in an easement after a construction project?
Typically, crews will re-grade, fertilize and seed easements after construction. Once restored, property owners can make plans to replace landscaping. Charlotte Water is not responsible for replacing custom landscaping within an easement. Charlotte Water will also repair and replace pavement that was damaged during construction.
Who can I contact if I have an easement question?
Prior to any digging or construction, Call 811 to locate any underground utilities (NC 811, Call Before You Dig) or 800.632.4949. For water and sewer questions within Mecklenburg County, please call the Charlotte Water Assets Hotline at 704.336.1265 or email email@example.com. Please include the address or parcel ID of the property. For storm water or drainage easements, please call 311 for assistance. To identify water or sewer easements on your property, email firstname.lastname@example.org with a location (address/parcel ID), details of the request and your contact information. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Easement information is available on the Storm Water Easement webpage.
How does CLTWater clear the easement?
Tree roots can penetrate wastewater pipes, blocking the flow of wastewater, and eventually causing an overflow. CLTWater periodically clears permanent easements of trees and debris to prevent overflows. Debris will be turned into mulch or transported off-site. When possible, trees on the edge of permanent easements are preserved. Property owners may see activity for several days until crews are able to access easements from another location.
What is a Road right-of-way?
A Road right-of-way is a portion of property near the road that is owned by the property owner and available for the city to use for street maintenance or utilities work.
How can I find out what is under my property?
Before you start digging along your property borders — or ANYWHERE NEAR public utilities located on or around your property — pick up the phone and dial N.C. One Callnumber at 1-800-632-4949.
Who do I contact if I have an easement question?
You can contact a Charlotte Water representative at email@example.com.
Transcript for Permanent Easements and Your Property Video
There may be more under your property than you know.
If you own a property or are considering buying, the best way to find utility easements is to have the property surveyed. You can also call 311 or 704 336 7600 and ask to speak to Charlotte Water staff about your property. You may be required to sign a confidentiality agreement to receive information. If your property has an easement, then there are restrictions you need to follow. Permanent structures, irrigation systems, trees and other things that may damage or restrict access to the pipe are not permitted within easements, any restricted items found in the easement will not be replaced or repaired by Charlotte Water. If you have a question about an existing easement, please call or email Charlotte Water first. You can expect to see Charlotte Water crews clearing the easement occasionally. Crews may access your property to repair the pipe and eventually replace the pipe. When possible, Charlotte Water will provide advance notice of activities on your property. Charlotte Water staff is dedicated to providing safe drinking water and wastewater services to our community. To learn more please visit CharlotteWater.org.
In the latest move to modernize Charlotte’s infrastructure, Charlotte Water will be updating your water meters with a newer, advanced water meter reading system. This project will take about seven years to completely roll out to all Charlotte residents accordingly to current projections.
“Charlotte Water isn’t changing how we measure water, just how we are reading your meter. We are focusing on providing a better service to our customers and making our operations more efficient,” the project manager for the new advanced water meter project, Jeffrey Jones, wants you to know.
Currently, residents get monthly updates with their water bill about their water usage. The new transmitter on the water meter will send updates to the cloud every 15 minutes. Residents will be able to see these updates online.
With these updates, residents can spot leaks and adjust usage accordingly. You won’t have to wait until you get your water bill to find out that a toilet upstairs has been running all month. Or that your child is taking hour-long showers. The new updates won’t allow residents to see where the extra water usage is coming from, just when it is. It will be up to residents to determine the source of their higher bills but the extra data will help people to identify problems earlier.
This data will also allow Charlotte Water to anticipate and identify leaks and issues on our end, giving us needed information to better serve customers. We can reallocate resources away from driving meter routes and instead focus on meeting the needs of our customers.
Track your water usage
You will see a read-out like the ones below. The first graph shows an apartment complex’s usage when there is a leak. The second graph shows the same apartment complex’s usage after the leak was fixed. As you can see in the second graph, water usage drops off in the middle of the night when most people are asleep. When water usage is still high during these periods, that indicates a leak. You will have access to graphs like this for your own home.
Currently, these advanced water meters are only used for a few commercial clients. Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, Bank of America Stadium, Frito-Lay, Lance, and SouthPark Mall all use the new advanced water meters. Pilots are planned for residential customers, also.
Advanced Meter Infrastructure allows Charlotte Water to create a better experience for Charlotte Water customers. Having greater access to consolidated data allows Charlotte Water to better prepare for droughts, usage surges, changes in water pressure and temperature, etc. It also will help us to spot leaks in the infrastructure more quickly and expedite repairs.
One project of many to update our infrastructure
This is only the latest step in modernizing our water infrastructure. Before more recent technology was released, Charlotte Water employees had to manually read each water meter. In 2003, the city started a project to replace the water meters with more modern water meters that allow a car to drive by and pick up the readings using radio signals. This saved the city lots of time and money.
However, this isn’t a perfect system. For the signal to be picked up, the car must be close to the meter. Every month, 1800 meters are missed in this process. This means that employees manually read those meters. These meters are missed due to equipment malfunction (like batteries dying) or damage.
As our population continues to grow, those missed readings cause increased burdens on the city’s resources. Also, those transmitters are starting to wear so it is time for many of them to be replaced in the next 5+ years. With this modern technology, Charlotte Water will be able to see digitized readings of usage, and the older water meter reading route will end. This will save the city time and resources that could be better utilized elsewhere.
Residential pilot in Davidson
In the coming months, Charlotte Water is piloting these water meters in the new Davidson Point neighborhood. This location was chosen because the surrounding water meter routes were full due to the growth in the area. Rather than completely redoing the water meter routes, they were a practical choice for a pilot.
This is all part of phase one of a three-phase launch of these advanced water meters throughout the city. Also, during phase one, we will be working with consultants who launch similar installations around the world to determine changing business needs and communications. This will help us prepare to answer the public’s questions and communicate well about expectations.
During phase two, Charlotte Water will be installing these meters in 10,000 buildings. They will be selecting 1-2 areas of the city that include a mix of different customers: single-family homes, apartments, and commercial. This beta release will allow Charlotte Water to start training its employees on the new equipment. After the beta release, they will take a break for a year to evaluate what worked, what didn’t, and what changes need to be made to replace the rest of the meters.
Phase three is the big launch. Charlotte Water will be replacing all water meters that are over five years old throughout the city. Meters that are less than five years old can be reprogrammed to work with the new system. This requires replacing 270,000 of 310,000 meters in the Charlotte metro area. This will take about five years to complete with 300 meters being replaced per day. All the transmitters will be replaced to work with the new system.
More information will be released with each phase. Keep an eye on the city website for more information as the project continues. This is one of several projects that the city is working on to update our infrastructure and support our continued growth. Charlotte continues to prove itself as an up-and-coming city that continues to grow as people see our incredible city.