180,000 gallons of raw sewage spill into south Charlotte tributary

- Hundreds of thousands of gallons of wastewater spilled into a south Charlotte tributary Friday night, officials said.

According to Charlotte Water, the spill happened near 700 Farmhurst Drive where an estimated 180,000 gallons reached Kings Branch, a tributary to Sugar Creek in the Catawba River Watershed. Crews responded to a break in a 21” sewer main pipe. They said it’s impossible to determine the exact cause for the break.

“A majority of wastewater overflows can be prevented with your help,” said Cam Coley, spokesperson at Charlotte Water. “Anything put in plumbing or a manhole can cause wastewater overflows, spilling raw sewage into your street, your creek or even inside your own home. Even products labeled as ‘flushable’ do not breakdown in the sewer system and can contribute to clogging.”

The Catawba River Foundation has been out to inspect the scene and said that as of 7 p.m. the Kings Branch had not flushed out and was still "flowing full of sewage-laden water with an extremely strong odor."

"The dry conditions mean this is raw, undiluted sewage (no stormwater mixing) with increased impact on waterways in the area," Catawba River Foundation posted on Facebook. "We recommend NOT recreating immediately downstream of Sugar Creek's confluence with the river."

Catawba River Foundation is in contact with SC DHEC and they are also notifying downstream drinking water systems with intakes on the river, most immediately Lancaster County, SC, Union County, NC, and Chester County, SC.

This is one of Charlotte Water's largest sewage spills into the Catawba basin going back to 2010, according to the Catawba River Keeper. Two spills each listed at 183,500 gallons were reported in 2011 and in 2014.

How You Can Help:

  • Toss in the trash: paper towels, wipes, hair, cotton swabs, feminine products, dental floss, coffee grounds, and excess food.
  • Toss in the toilet: only toilet paper.
  • Drain in the sink: soap suds, small amounts of foods from plate, and liquids.
  • Take to a full-service recycling center: used and expired oils and grease.

Suspect A Sewage Spill? Call 311 or 704-336-7600.

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