Charlotte Water


Wastewater Odor

  • Wastewater: If you see or suspect a wastewater overflow or spill, call 311 - 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Drinking Water: If you have an odor concern regarding drinking water, call 311 or 704-336-7600 immediately and say or select 'water emergency.'

At home
​Private plumbing systems are designed to prevent wastewater gases from entering residences. All active sewer lines contain gases, and a malfunctioning plumbing system could allow gases or odors to enter the home. If after all plumbing lines are filled with water including toilets the odor does not go away, consider having a licensed plumber check plumbing and vent system.​


  • There are numerous potential sources of odor in a community our size, and wastewater plants are just one possible source.
  • Sewage odor can occur more often during warm temperatures, when there is bacterial growth and buildup of debris in pipes, or if a manhole, pump stations, or other equipment malfunctions. 
  • CLTWater upgrades facilities and pipes in an effort to alleviate some odors. 
  • Your input is essential to identifying odors, solving these problems and allowing us to serve you in the best way possible



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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Wastewater Backup in HomeWastewater Backup in Home
Water Leaks? Water Leaks?
Water OutageWater Outage
Wastewater OdorWastewater Odor
Wastewater OverflowWastewater Overflow
Water OdorWater Odor
Water PressureWater Pressure
Discolored WaterDiscolored Water