Category Archives: Repairs and Spills

Charlotte Water Responds to Wastewater Overflow in Mallard Creek

October 24, 2017 – Charlotte Water (CLTWater) crews responded to a broken wastewater pipe east of E. Mallard Creek Church Road, downstream of Kirk Farm Field Park on October 24th. Crews are working to estimate gallons that may have reached Mallard Creek.

CLTWater staff at the Mallard Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant observed lower than normal amounts of wastewater coming into the plant. Staff began checking manholes and pipes upstream to look for a cause of the lower flows. A broken pipe was discovered upstream of the plant in Mallard Creek. A fallen tree across the pipe has caused a 36” wastewater pipe to break, possibly due to Monday evening’s storm.

Charlotte Water is currently notifying downstream residents, mobilizing crews and resources to control the spill, and make repairs.

Updates will follow with details as they are available.

Mallard Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is located in the Yadkin-PeeDee River basin.

Sugar Creek WWTP Discharge of Highly Treated Wastewater

The Sugar Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant (near Fairview and Park road intersection) experienced an electrical outage in the afternoon of Tuesday October 17, 2017, and for approximately 12 minutes discharged highly treated wastewater to Little Sugar Creek that had not completed the normal treatment process. It is estimated 39,800 gallons was discharged from the final disinfection process over the 12 minute period. This is approximately 0.3% of the total flow of 11.1 million gallons of wastewater treated on that day. All NPDES treatment permit requirements were met for the day.

This water was completely treated (steps 1 through 4 below) with the exception of the final polishing step of ultraviolet disinfection (step 5 below) during the 12 minute power outage. No impacts to the stream were observed and none are expected.

Wastewater Treatment Process

  1. Primary Treatment – Solid particles & objects are captured by screens, grit chambers, and primary clarifiers.
  2. Aeration/Secondary Treatment – Wastewater is aerated to support growth of microorganisms that remove harmful pollutants.
  3. Clarification – Solids and microorganisms settle out in large basins.
  4. Advanced Treatment – Wastewater flows through granular filters to remove fine particles.
  5. UV Disinfection – Water is disinfected to remove any remaining pathogens, and then the treated water is released into creeks.

Kings Branch Wastewater Spill Update

At 7:20 a.m. on Friday, July 14, Charlotte Water received a call reporting a Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) near 700 Farmhurst Drive. Charlotte Water crews responded to discover an active spill of wastewater discharging into Kings Branch, a tributary of Sugar Creek. The wastewater appeared to be escaping from a 21” sanitary sewer pipe that had separated at a joint. Between 9:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., crews worked to assess the pipe failure and gain access for heavy equipment. Access to this particular stretch of Kings Branch was hindered by a ¼ mile thick streamside zone of trees, vines, underbrush and dense bamboo.

Dense bamboo vegetation along Kings Branch

In order to control wastewater spills, crews must set up pumps and hoses to collect the wastewater coming to the break area, bypass the break in the pipe and send the wastewater to a nearby manhole so that the wastewater can continue to flow to the treatment plant. Bypass pumps arrived at approximately 2:15 p.m. At 6:20 p.m. the bypass operation was completely set up and wastewater was no longer spilling into the creek.

Bypass pumps and hoses redirecting wastewater into a nearby manhole

Spill Volume & Location
Charlotte Water estimates that approximately 201,850 gallons of wastewater entered Kings Branch. It was first reported that the total would be close to 180,000 gallons but revised the spill volume once the spill was contained. Spill volume is based on the duration of the spill, the diameter of the pipe and the fullness of the pipe. Kings Branch is located near Archdale Drive and South Boulevard. The creek flows from the break point about 3 miles before it meets with Sugar Creek just south of I-485. Sugar Creek flows from that point through South Carolina about 8 miles where it meets with the Catawba River.

Nearby residents were notified of the event through social media posts to NextDoor, door hangers and media notification. Downstream water supply operators and other stakeholders were notified of the spill via email. Union County (NC), Lancaster County (SC) Water and Sewer District, Lugoff-Elgin Water Authority, Duke Energy, Camden (SC) experienced no impacts to their water supply. The media reported that the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control issued No Swim Advisories at some Catawba River access points until sampling tests could confirm any impact.

Charlotte Water crews have monitored the bypass operation 24 hours a day to ensure no secondary spills occur. A contractor has been gathering the necessary materials and equipment to make the repair as well as improving site access. Repair construction is expected to begin Friday, July 21.

Improving site access to begin repair