Tag Archives: 2020

Award-Winning Utility: A Look Back at 2020

This year has been a challenging year for all of us, in more ways than one. Even in the face of many challenges, we continued with our hard work and day-to-day operations and continued to be an award-winning utility.

As the year comes to a close, we take a moment to look back and recognize our utility and our staff for their hard work during this uncertain year. This year many award ceremonies were held virtually, including NCAWA, which held their 50th anniversary awards ceremony and recognized our utility during this conference.

McAlpine Wastewater Treatment Plant, Platinum Peak Performance Award winner (photo taken in 2019)
McDowell Wastewater Treatment Plant, Platinum Peak Performance Award winner (photo taken in 2019)


  • Platinum Peak Performance Award: McAlpine Wastewater Treatment Plant and McDowell Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Gold Peak Performance Award: Sugar Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Mallard Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Oxford Glen Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Silver Peak Performance Award: Irwin Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Ashe Plantation Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Charlotte Water Deputy Director, Ron Hargrove: George Warren Fuller Award
  • Sugar Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Supervisor, Billy Allen: Arthur Sidney Bedell Award

NC AWWA-WEA Virtual Operations Challenge & Awards

  • Women of Wastewater (represented by Muriel Steele and Trinh Nguyen): 2nd place in Division 2
  • Weir#1 (represented by Will Rice and Matthew Carter): 5th place in Division 3

Charlotte Water was also recognized as a Utility of the Future Today for the fourth year in a row. This program recognizes utilities that exhibit sustainability and resilience in the communities they serve, and this year’s recognition focused largely on partnering and engagement. We were one of 65 utilities recognized this year and one of three utilities recognized for the fourth year in a row.

We are so proud of the great work our utility has accomplished this year, and we will continue our hard work to be an award-winning utility in 2021.

For more information about our awards, please visit the awards page on our website.

FY20 Wastewater Performance Report

Every year, Charlotte Water creates a report detailing how we did collecting, delivering and treating Mecklenburg County’s wastewater. Here are the highlights and some thoughts about the important role wastewater treatment plays in our society.

  • This past year we successfully collected and treated more than 99.9% of the 32 billion gallons of the community’s wastewater.
  • There were 151 sanitary sewer overflows in our community, a decrease of 11 spills compared to last year.
  • The number of spills per 100 miles declined from 9.2 in fiscal year 2008 to 3.4 in fiscal year 2020.
  • All seven wastewater treatment plants earned Peak Performance Awards from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.
  • Our staff continue to work strategically to clear blockages and repair wastewater pipes before they cause sanitary sewer overflows.
  • 405.5 miles of wastewater pipes were treated with root control chemicals.
  • 944.5 miles of wastewater pipes or 24% of our system was cleaned.
  • 13.2 miles of wastewater pipe and 264 manholes were rehabilitated or replaced.

Want to do a deeper dive? Visit our website for the full report.

We asked our staff who work in wastewater why they take pride in their job and what they wish the community knew about wastewater treatment. Here is what they said.

Henry Eudy, Wastewater Treatment Plant Manager

“If you take a long look at human history, wastewater treatment is really one of the most important building blocks in the foundation of civilization. Access to clean water is one of our primal necessities just as organisms in general. 

As we grow and advance, we take more and more from the natural world around us. If we don’t take steps to mitigate the effects of our unprecedented success as a species on the basic building blocks that give us life, then we die. 

An advanced human civilization is not possible without wastewater treatment. What we do is a necessity and a lynchpin to civilization. In a way, the rest of the world is built upon our efforts. The rest of the world may not see it that way, but if we look back over our long shared history, our service to mankind is profound.”- Henry Eudy, Mallard Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Manager

Johanna McHone, Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator

Johanna, Wastewater Treatment Operator at McDowell grew up around some substantial mine waste. That sparked her desire to want to help clean up the earth and then became interested in the wastewater treatment process.

“A wastewater treatment plant is much like a human body in its functions. Some think it’s disgusting, but we all should be grateful there are operators around to do just this. Without us, the wastewater would end up untreated in the creeks, rivers and oceans. Then where would we get water to drink and shower with? Everyone has a purpose in life, nurses, teachers, engineers etc. There are jobs out there I would not want to do, but this is a perfect fit for me. – says Johanna.

Muriel Steele, Water Quality Specialist

“Treatment plants were originally conceived with the express purpose of controlling infectious diseases! Of course, we have since realized and embraced the added benefits of protecting the environment and natural (and downstream drinking) water quality. Pathogen removal/inactivation is something we are doing 24/7/365, even when there isn’t a global pandemic.”- Muriel Steele

You can help reduce sanitary sewer overflows. Do not put grease, fats, or oils in the drain and do not flush wipes. Throw them in the trash instead.

Like the image above? You can get a poster version to hang in your businesses restroom. Just email Alfonso Jones ajones@charlottenc.gov

National Drinking Water Week 2020

Happy Water Week! This week we’re celebrating National Drinking Water Week all week long, and bringing you a variety of activities and information. Below we have provided an overview of what to look out for throughout the week, and how you can participate.

Everyday Employee Spotlight

This year’s theme for National Drinking Water Week is that water is “always there when you need it” – and we are grateful for just that. We are grateful for our staff who work hard behind the scenes everyday to keep it that way. It takes a whole team of staff members who contribute to each step of the treatment process, to make sure everyone has safe and reliable water every single day. Throughout National Drinking Water week, we will be highlighting some of our awesome staff members to show our appreciation and give you a glimpse into the work they do.

Tuesday, May 5: Water in the Window

Break out your crayons and colored pencils – this activity is the “Water in the Window” coloring page. We are inviting kids and adults of all ages to engage their creative side and color our customized Water Week coloring sheet. Once completed, show off your artwork by displaying the page in your window at home – preferably in a place where folks outside can see it displayed. Something small can go a long way to brighten someone’s day!

Helpful hint: This activity will be featured in another activity later in the week!

Wednesday, May 6: Water Appreciation Log

Do you ever think about how many times a day you use water? Just take a moment to think about all of the things you use water for – cooking, cleaning, bathing, brushing, drinking, and so much more! This activity is designed to bring awareness to the water that we use throughout our day, everyday, even when we may not realize it.

Our challenge for you, is to use the chart provided for just one day this week, and keep track of all of the times you access or use water. The results may surprise you – and we would love to hear about them!

Once you’ve completed your chart, you can share it on social media and tag us, or email your results to us: erin.mcneely@charlottenc.gov

Thursday, May 7: Scavenger Hunt

Lace up your walking shoes for this one! We have created a “water themed” scavenger hunt that anyone can do anywhere. For this exercise (pun intended), you can explore your neighborhood in search for the items listed here. This is a great way to notice and learn more about items all around us that are essential for water to flow through our city.

Of course, walking is not the only option – you can drive, bike, or use any mode of transportation that works best for your and your family! Make this your own adventure.

Friday, May 8: Movie Night

Happy Friday, friends! What a better way to kick back and relax on a Friday night than with a good movie? We’ve put together a list of various “water-themed” movies for you to choose from:

  • Waterschool (Netflix)
  • Oceans (Netflix and Disney+)
  • Chasing Coral (Netflix)
  • Mission Blue (Netflix)
  • A Plastic Ocean (Netflix)
  • Water Life (series, Amazon Prime)
  • Big Pacific (series, Amazon Prime)
  • Seasons of the Sea (Amazon Prime)
  • The Wild Pacific (Amazon Prime)
  • Blue Gold: World Water Wars (Amazon Prime)
  • Secret of Water (Amazon Prime)
  • Relaxing Water (if you just need some background noise; Amazon Prime)
  • Water Birds (Disney+)
  • Drain the Oceans (Disney+)
  • Aliens of the Deep (Disney+)

Introduction to Charlotte Water Distance Learning

We hope this finds you safe and well during this unique time in history. While most of us find ourselves spending more time at home these days, we are becoming more and more familiar with the world of “distance learning.”

So while our staff is still working hard 24/7 to bring you safe and clean drinking water, we wanted to provide our customers with some at-home resources to learn more about the work we do, and the water we use everyday.

Beginning this week, we will launch the “Charlotte Water Distance Learning” blog series, where we have partnered with our friends at Discovery Place to create a water curriculum available to you online. Through this new series, we will provide various water-related activities and lessons to learners of all ages.

Each activity, or learning tool, will contain information on the targeted age range, materials you will need (if applicable), step-by-step instructions, and/or reading materials.

Be on the look out for these distance learning resources coming soon, and make sure you subscribe to our blog, and follow us on social media so that you never miss an update!

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Distance Learning Activities:

The Charlotte Water Distance Learning activities are provided in partnership with Discovery Place, Inc.