Category Archives: Wastewater

Downed Tree Causes Large Wastewater Spill on Long Creek

March 15, 2022 – Charlotte Water crews responded to a broken 30-inch wastewater pipe. A fallen tree eroded the creek bank causing the 30-inch wastewater pipe to collapse. An estimated 484,075 gallons reached Long Creek. Crews quickly set up a barrier to contain the spill and temporary above-ground pipes to pump the community’s wastewater around the broken pipe.

This spill does not affect drinking water.

How You Can Help

This spill was caused by weather and creek bank erosion but most spills are caused by blockages. You can help reduce blockages and spills.

  • Toss in the trash: paper towels, wipes, hair, cotton swabs, feminine products, dental floss, coffee grounds, and excess food.
  • Toss in the toilet: only toilet paper.
  • Kitchen sink: soap suds, small amounts of foods from plate, and liquids (no fats, oils, or grease).
  • Take to a full-service recycling center: used and expired oils and grease.

Suspect A Sewage Spill? Call 311 or 704-336-7600.

Charlotte Water rapid response crews operate 24 hours-a-day.

Charlotte Water crews maintain more than 4,475 miles of wastewater pipe. Charges from monthly water bills fund preventative maintenance, emergency response, and the safe daily delivery of more than 91 million gallons of wastewater to treatment plants, where wastewater is treated to high water quality standards.

But it says "flushable."

So, you’ve run out of toilet paper and resorted to only using wipes. But it’s okay because you are using “flushable” wipes, right? Nope!

Unfortunately, the word “flushable” doesn’t mean what you think it means…

Flushable wipes do not break down

Toilet paper is specifically made to break down as it travels to the wastewater treatment plant and is the only paper product that should be flushed down the toilet. This means that your wastewater can Flow Free to your local wastewater treatment plant.

Here are some other items that are technically “flushable”:

Technically anything is flushable, but that doesn’t mean you are going to flush your ring or iPhone down the toilet. The same should be said for wipes.

All of the above items, including wipes, do not break down as they travel from your home to our wastewater treatment plant. They get caught up with roots, grease and other items that don’t belong in the sewer and cause blockages. The blockage may happen in your home which could cause sewage to back up into your home (blech) or the blockage can happen farther down the line and cause a sanitary sewer overflow in your neighborhood or stream.

This doesn’t even include the cost of blockages at lift stations. Clogs in pumps and valves lead to higher run times, increased power costs and increased maintenance trips. Crews also have to pull the pumps apart to clear the blockage, and on rare occasions, wipes can even damage the pumping equipment, causing even higher costs to ratepayers.

Overflows are more than inconvenient and nasty. They are also expensive.

Responding to and cleaning up an overflow costs the utility an average of $5,000!

The photo above shows actual wipes that got caught in our lift station and had to be removed by hand. Yuck!

The take home:

Toilet paper is specifically made to break down as it travels to the wastewater treatment plant and is the only paper product that should be flushed down the toilet. This means that your wastewater can Flow Free to your local wastewater treatment plant.

To learn more about how to protect your pipes, visit our website.

Heavy Rains Overwhelm Wastewater System

**updated 9/18/2018 4:25 p.m. with estimated spill volumes

Charlotte, NC, September 17, 2018 — On Sunday, September 16, as Tropical Depression Florence moved through the Charlotte metro area, Charlotte Water rapid response crews responded to multiple locations for sanitary sewer overflows (SSO). Heavy rains inundated the sanitary sewer system in eight locations causing wastewater to escape the sanitary sewer collection system.

Below is the current list of rain caused wastewater spills on September 16th with possibly 1,000 or more gallons reaching surface waters:

  • 3624 Huckleberry Rd – Estimated spill volume: 163,200 gallons to McMullen Creek
  • 1026 Montford Dr – Estimated spill volume: 240,000 gallons to Little Hope Creek
  • 3203 Keegan Way – Estimated spill volume: 500,000 gallons to Four Mile Creek
  • 1215 Andover Rd – Estimated spill volume: 225,000 gallons to Briar Creek
  • 2010 Bay St – Estimated spill volume: 115,200 gallons to Briar Creek
  • 8200 Tonawanda Dr – Estimated spill volume: 105,600 gallons to Six Mile Creek
  • 9235 Feldbank Dr – Estimated spill volume: 96,000 gallons to McIntyre Creek
  • 426 Lorna St. – Estimated spill volume: 105,600 gallons to Briar Creek

Charlotte Water’s five main wastewater treatment plants received record amounts of flow Sunday. The underground sanitary sewer pipe network is not designed to handle storm water, yet the runoff and flooding from historic rains inevitably infiltrated the wastewater pipe network. Overflow basins at the five plants that are able to capture and later treat several million gallons of rainwater infiltration quickly filled. But, throughout the storm all plants operated well and no spills occurred at any Charlotte Water plant.

“Though we did have some spills, Charlotte Water’s system overall performed exceptionally well” said Charlotte Water spokesman Jennifer Frost. “The quick decisions and experience by our plant operators and rapid response crews was really on display yesterday. The plants handled hundreds of millions more gallons of extra flow; more than 5 times the usual day’s volumes. The plants didn’t flood, and they didn’t spill. They treated the historic flow without compromising water quality standards.”

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For more than a century, Charlotte Water has been the largest water and wastewater service provider in the Carolinas. Operated by the City of Charlotte, the utility treats more than 106 million gallons of water daily for approximately one million residents and visitors from Davidson to Pineville. Charlotte Water works 24 hours a day to provide clean water, maintain more than 8,600 miles of pipe, and treat the community’s wastewater. |Facebook |Twitter | Blog | YouTube |Media Kit


Celebrating Environmental Excellence

Charlotte Water regulates the discharge of pollutants that enter into our municipal sewer system. We monitor 58 industrial partners who are required to obtain wastewater permits which contain limits based on the pollutants discharged from the facility.

On Tuesday June 18th, 2018 Charlotte Water honored the facilities that complied with their permits and those who have taken proactive and innovative approaches to protect the quality of our water in 2017. Charlotte Water is committed to protecting the environment, and so are the industries in our community.

There are 3 tiers of which a facility can be honored for environmental excellence. Silver is given to companies that are 100% compliant for reporting and monitoring; at least 90% compliant for permit limits for one calendar year. No slug loading during the 2015 calendar year. No Significant non-compliance (SNC) for 2 calendar years and the industry must have discharged to the sewer system at some time during the year.

The second tier is Gold. Gold is given to those who are 100% compliant for reporting, monitoring, and permit limits for 1 calendar year. No slug loading during the 2015 calendar year. No SNC for 2 calendar years and industry must have discharged to the sewer system at some time during the year.

The final tier is Platinum. To receive platinum you must have 5 consecutive years of 100% compliance for reporting, monitoring, and permit limits. No slug loading and no SNC. The industry must also have discharged to the sewer system at some point during the year.



We are extremely proud of all the recipients, but we would like to hi-light the platinum winners.

  • American Circuts, Inc. – 5th consecutive year
  • Ingersoll Rand, Customer Solutions Center- 2nd consecutive year
  • Mecklenburg County 521 Foxhole Landfill – 7th consecutive year
  • Norfolk Southern Railway, Charlotte Roadway Shop – 2nd consecutive year

Thank you to all of our industrial partners as we work together to protect the Charlotte environment.