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.
Building a house? Planting a rose bush? Digging a hole to beat Nicolas Cage in finding the third National Treasure stockpile? Before you do any of these things, it’s important to call 811.
When you call or log an 811 ticket on the 811 website, it triggers a multitude of utilities to investigate your request and Charlotte Water is one of them. Once a request is received, a Locates Technician is dispatched to the site and marks the area where the water line is underground.
The Locates group has their hands full, as they respond to all calls whether it’s a small job or a large construction project. In fact, it is reported that this team responds to a minimum of over 1,000 requests every month alone. On top of that, not all jobs are straightforward. Some pipe is laid in unusual ways to avoid features such as storm drains or manholes. While these situations are quickly resolved by an experienced technician, it does still take time to recognize variances in surroundings and mark them appropriately.
Jorge Arango, Locates Supervisor, shared with me that technicians have to learn to trust their equipment rather than assume where they anticipate the water pipes to be located underground. Fortunately, the team has access to some pretty cool tools! Featured in the picture below is a GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) tool to assist in locating difficult water pipes and mains.
Without calling 811 first, you risk damaging water, sewer, gas, electric, or any other utility line that runs underground. There are many teams just like the Charlotte Water team that will respond to your call for free to mark the area first before you dig. By being mindful, you save yourself and your neighbors a lot of headaches in the event you strike a line.
On May 18th, Charlotte experienced one of the largest fires in the city’s history. Charlotte Water (CLTWater) responded with
Managers on location to assist with any water supply needs,
Operators pumped more water to the area,
Crews were on hand to assist if there were any water supply challenges.
Crews surveyed the area looking for and responding to water main breaks.
Water main breaks are likely after a massive flow of water is used for fighting fires.
Thank you to all that assisted in the response to ensure there was enough water supply and pressure for the Charlotte Fire Department (CFD) response.
“The partnership with the Charlotte Fire Department started more than 100 years ago and it is a weekly and sometimes daily coordination that enables us to assist in this crucial public safety role,”,” said Angela Charles, Director of Charlotte Water. “The investment in our water infrastructure has been instrumental in maintaining water supply and water pressure to serve our growing community and public safety needs.”
If you are reading this, you probably had a recent visit from a plumber.
Did you know:
Water pressure is primarily due to the elevation of storage tanks relative to the elevation of your home.
Higher water pressures are in geographically low points (near a creek or the bottom of a neighborhood).
County building codes require pressure-reducing valves (PRVs) to be installed on new or remodeled residential plumbing if there is evidence of water pressure exceeding 80 psi.
You can buy a gauge at a home improvement store to check your pressure.
A PRV reduces the water pressure coming into your home to protect your plumbing, much like an electrical surge protector protects your computer or television.
Keep in mind that a PRV will age and need to be replaced. So if you notice a sudden increase in pressure in your plumbing, your PRV may be wearing out and needs to be replaced.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I care if my water pressure is more than 80 psi?
High water pressure could cause:
Appliances and fixtures fail sooner than average
Damage water heater
High repair and water bills
How would I know if I have high water pressure?
If you are experiencing any of the below situations, it is time to talk to a plumber:
· A leaking faucet or appliance may tell you it is wearing down, and water pressure should be checked.
· A toilet flowing water from the tank into the bowl when not in use (could also be a simple toilet repair).
· Water is spitting instead of flowing when the faucet is first turned on.
· The sound of pipes banging inside the house may note pressure fluctuations.
· Irregular changes in pressure in shower or sinks.
· Appliances failing early.
· Mineral deposit build-up (white or greenish) on the outside of a shutoff valve.
Check with your neighbors – It may be possible that your neighbors are experiencing a similar issue. If they are not, this may indicate a problem with your private plumbing.
What should I ask the plumber about high water pressure and pressure-reducing valves?
A licensed plumber can assess your current plumbing and recommend whether a PRV is needed. Remember, getting more than one price quote is always a good idea.
Some contractors / licensed plumbers may choose to use an expansion tank (also known as a bladder) or other options to discharge high water pressure safely out of the plumbing system.
A PRV can be installed three feet behind the water meter box or inside your home before the water heater.
Avoid installing PRVs in sidewalks or driveways.
Please be sure your plumber clearly explains any warranty that may apply to the PRV and the plumber’s work.
PRVs will eventually need to be replaced between 7 and 12 years typically.
Note: If your water pressure noticeably changes, It may be time to replace the PRV.
What if the PRV makes the water pressure too low?
· PRVs are adjustable
· Consider replacing old fixtures or pipes that may be clogged with mineral deposits
Can Charlotte Water (CLTWater) reduce the water pressure in my home?
A licensed plumber can check your pressure and determine if you need a PRV.
Customers are in water pressure zones that serve several zip codes to provide minimal pressure of 20 psi to fire hydrants for public safety. CLTWater rarely changes water pressure zones. In those rare cases, a water pressure zone is changed to help customers experiencing low water pressure.
Does water pressure fluctuate daily?
Water pressure will vary throughout the day. Based on elevation and other factors, your home has a water pressure range that varies a few psi. You are more likely to experience the following:
The low range of water pressure during summer mornings when irrigation use may be high in the neighborhood
The high range of water pressure typically from December through February when outdoor water use is minimal
Will the City of Charlotte pay for my PRV or plumbing costs caused by water pressure?
I have 80+ psi and no PRV. Why didn’t my house have a PRV installed earlier?
When houses are built or remodeled, the water pressure should be checked. If it is over 80 psi at the time of the test, a PRV is required. The test could have been conducted at a time of day when water pressure didn’t exceed 80 psi due to other factors (water usage, etc.).
Would Charlotte Water increase my pressure?
Changing water pressure zones is extremely rare. Most properties have been in the same water pressure zone for several decades.
If CLTWater determines that customers need to move to a different water pressure zone, you would be notified several times in advance.
Is the water or wastewater project nearby going to increase my water pressure?
Wastewater projects won’t have any impact on drinking water pipes or pressure.
Water projects may enhance flow and stabilize pressure by cleaning or replacing old pipes. Adding larger pipes may increase water storage in the area but will not significantly affect water pressure since most water pressure is the elevation difference between the storage tank and your home.
Where does my private plumbing start?
The property owner maintains a water pipe from the end of the meter box (including the tailpiece) to the building(s). The property owner is responsible for pipes and fixtures in the buildings and wastewater pipes until the edge of the street or street right-of-way (varies). Charlotte Water maintains the water meter up to and including the meter yoke assembly, meter box, and water and wastewater pipes under the public street.
The illustration shows that Charlotte Water maintains the water pipes under the public streets and service lines from the water main to the meter box. Charlotte Water also maintains the meter and meter box. The property owner’s private plumbing starts at the tailpiece or pipe that leaves the water meter box and piping under the private plumbing to the building and inside the building.
Does my plumbing need to be replaced?
Just as pipes under the street age and have an end of service, so does plumbing in your home. Consider planning for the eventual replacement of plumbing that exceeds 50 years.