Tag Archives: operations

No Main, No Gain: Maintenance of Your Water Mains

Field Operations for Charlotte Water is a critical component to the success of the utility. Serving an area of over one million people is a large undertaking. To add to that, the area of Charlotte is among one of the fastest-growing regions in the entire country. As growth continues, Field Operations must keep pace with maintaining old and new water mains throughout the county. How do they do it? With a strong team and a tried and true strategy.

Field Operations are split into four separate zones, each covering a distinct geographical area of the service area of Charlotte Water. This includes towns outside of Charlotte such as Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill, and Pineville.

Pictured above is Zone 1, which serves the northern part of the region.

When asked what each Zone covers, Operations Manager, William Lee, said that focus is applied to areas of maintenance of water infrastructure and situations such as water main breaks, sewer main breaks, preventing and responding to sanitary sewer overflows, and maintaining critical assets such as manholes and sewer lines that reside within that Zone.

These individuals are experts in their field and possess a dedication to the city to see it function as smoothly and effectively as they can make it happen. Many people see through decades-long careers in Field Operations and bring a wide array of skill sets.

One example is Phil Stanley, a Team Leader at Zone 1. He started with Charlotte Water 23 years ago and before that, he had a long career in construction projects and working on plumbing and septic systems. When asked what he likes most he said, “I enjoy the investigative part of it. I like to solve problems and there’s a sense of fulfillment because you can physically see what you did and you serve the people of Charlotte.”

An example of a type of call Field Ops may respond to within the region.

There’s no shortage of interesting days with Field Operations within Charlotte Water, and there’s a little something for everyone. William Lee, Operations Manager, said, “Charlotte Water is a great place to work and there’s a lot of diversity. There are a lot of avenues to find your niche. You get out of it what you put into it.” In the Zone 1 facility, there is a section dedicated to training new field technicians. A particularly fascinating part of the training space was real examples of water and sewer mains with real tools to demonstrate how to make new connections and how to operate valves.

Interested in learning more and joining the team? Check out current job openings at jointeamwater.com

Additional Pre-Covid Billing Operations to Resume in January 2023

With the new year, there are a few notable changes coming to Charlotte Water (CLTWater). CLTWater has slowly been returning to pre-Covid billing operations, and some of these processes have already been implemented. Beginning January 2023, customers can expect disconnection and reconnection fees ($17 each) to resume.  Also in January, late fees, which are 1.5% of past-due charges, will begin and will appear on February bills.

Charlotte Water continues to look for ways to help customers who need help with their water bills get connected to resources. At the beginning of the pandemic, CLTWater policies were temporarily changed or suspended.  As financial aid programs, CARES Act funding and City grants became available, CLTWater worked closely with community partners like Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS), Housing and Neighborhood Services, and local non-profits community groups such as DreamKey Partners, Crisis Assistance Ministries and Commonwealth Charlotte, to connect thousands of customers with financial aid assistance.

One such financial assistance program was the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP). This federal program was designed specifically for customers who were in danger of having their water service disconnected due to outstanding balances. To better help residents, CLTWater and DSS met regularly and worked intensely to streamline the process of receiving federal funding and distributing the aid directly to customer accounts who qualified. CLTWater was the only utility in the state to auto-match customers with LIHWAP financial assistance.

By implementing this process, and because of the successful partnership with DSS, thousands of Charlotte-Mecklenburg area residents received financial assistance. In just the first round of funding, CLTWater and DSS allocated more than $1.3 million to CLTWater customers, approximately 19% of all LIHWAP funds distributed statewide. The number of outstanding or delinquent CLTWater accounts at risk of disconnection dropped by the thousands, and more federal funding is expected.

Today, CLTWater and DSS representatives continue to meet weekly to keep the process running smoothing, discussing everything from how people are learning about different aid programs, how many accounts are in need of aid, and the best communication strategies to keep the public informed. By working with DSS, CLTWater customers that are in need of water bill assistance can also learn about other utility assistance and housing assistance programs offered by DSS, such as Low Income Energy Assistance Program.

As CLTWater slowly moves back to normal operations, assistance is still available for customers in need of financial help during this time.  Visit CharlotteWater.org, or call 311, and get connected to a variety of resources.