Charlotte Water

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Wastewater Backup in Home or Building

  1. Turn off any water appliances (washing machine, dishwasher) that are on. If this stops the backup, contact a plumber.
  2. If the backup continues, please call 311 or 704-336-7600.
  3. If the sewage backup occurs because of a blockage in a public manhole or public sewer pipe, Charlotte Water will assist. Crews will locate and remove the blockage in the public sewer main or the City maintained portion of the customer's connection. If the backup occurs within your home or business's private internal plumbing, however, the City cannot assume responsibility for the blockage or the necessary repairs. Contact a plumbing contractor to make any repairs.​​
Backwater Valve

It is possible to prevent sewage backups with a plumbing fixture called a backwater valve. Backwater valves have been required in some homes by the North Carolina State Plumbing Code since the early 1930's. If you have plumbing fixtures that are below the top of the first upstream manhole, state regulations require that you have a backwater valve.

To find out if your property has a backwater valve or requires one, you can refer to your home or business's plumbing plans or ask the builder. A professional plumber or contractor can also tell you whether you need this device.



What is a Cleanout?<div class="ExternalClass65B658081BF54DF29AAD27DB3F92A665"><div><p>​The cleanout is the sewer opening located in the front yard of residential customers. It looks like a white circle PVC pipe sticking out of the ground and helps plumbers and city crews clean sewer laterals and respond to sewer backups in the home.</p></div></div>
What is a sewer cap and how does it affect my bill?<div class="ExternalClass93CE22DBBFC5474EBA2D4240D9211FDD"><div><p>A residential customer’s sewer usage is not metered. The sewer charge is based on metered water usage each month. The sewer cap (16 Ccf) is the maximum amount of water usage upon which customers are charged sewer fees. It is assumed that water use in excess of the sewer cap is used primarily for irrigation or other outdoor purposes and does not return to the sewer system. ​</p></div></div>
​I smell something outside, what could it be? <div class="ExternalClass8598D0A1D3E34514BC1F117D9DB0EDBE"><div><p>If you see or suspect a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) or spill, call 311 or 704-336-7600 and report a sewer emergency.​​ <a href="/Water/Pages/WastewaterOdor.aspx">Learn more</a>.</p></div></div>
Is there odor control at wastewater treatment plants? <div class="ExternalClassF1F19A4376B94F2CA72854404AAF77DE"><p>Yes. CLTWater started implementing odor control equipment since the mid-1990s. ​​<br></p><div>At each of our five wastewater treatment plants, State-certified wastewater treatment plant operators work 24 hours a day, 365 days per year -- constantly sampling, measuring and testing the wastewater to ensure its safety.</div><p><br></p></div>
How does a wastewater or sewage backup happen? <div class="ExternalClass7EC09C69FDEE4565AB2B3460939E075E"><p>Sewer lines can become blocked due to grease buildup in the pipes or debris such as rags, paper towels, and diapers that become trapped in the pipe and create a blockage. When this occurs, wastewater is stopped by the blockage and wastewater flows backwards toward the first possible outlet. Most of the time that is a manhole. However, sometimes that outlet point is a drain in a customer's home or business. <a href="/Water/Pages/WastewaterBackUpInHome.aspx">Learn more</a>.</p><p> </p></div>
What happens if there is a back-up? <div class="ExternalClassFA5B208BF046419EBD7F9046E7AE57E7"><p>Turn off any water appliances (washing machine, dish washer) that are on. If this stops the backup, contact a plumber. </p><p>If the backup continues, please call 311 or 704-336-7600. <a href="/Water/Pages/WastewaterBackUpInHome.aspx">Learn more</a>.</p></div>
I have an odor in my home? <div class="ExternalClassF37AA02007464145B9C57099C5A9A8E1">​Private plumbing systems are designed to prevent wastewater gases from entering residences. Learn more here:</div><div class="ExternalClassF37AA02007464145B9C57099C5A9A8E1"><ul><li><a href="/Water/Pages/WaterOdor.aspx">Water odors</a> (faucets)​<br></li><li><a href="/Water/Pages/WastewaterOdor.aspx">Wastewater odors</a> (drains)<br></li></ul></div>




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