Emergency Situations

Emergency Services

If you are experiencing a water emergency or suspect a sewage overflow or spill, dial311or704.336.7600- 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If call is after business hours, select water or sewer emergency from the automated phone prompt.


Discolored Water

If you experience cloudy or discolored water please follow these steps:

  • Run cold water from outdoor spigots (weather permitting)

  • Flush cold water out of a bath tub spigot

  • If not able to clear water after a few minutes, remove and clean faucet aerators

  • Check frequently asked questions for more information.

  • If discoloration continues, call 311 or 704.336.7600.

If your HOT water is cloudy or discolored, you may have a water heater problem. Review owners manual or contact a licensed plumber for advice.

Water Odor

Taste and odor changes in your water can occur for many reasons.


  1. Flush cold water out of a bathtub spigot

  2. Remove and clean faucet aerators

  3. Detach garden hose from outside spigot (especially during hot days)

  4. Check frequently asked questions for more information.

  5. If odor continues, call 311 or 704.336.7600.

Wastewater Odor

If you see or suspect a wastewater overflow or spill, call 311 - 24 hours a day, seven days a week


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 may be a sign of a nearby wastewater overflow and can be reported to 311, 24/7

  • 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.

Low Water Pressure

  • A clogged aerator on a faucet can slow the flow.  Remove the aerator from the faucet, clean it, and put back on.

  • Consult with a plumber.

  • If you have a pressure reducing valve (PRV) installed to protect your plumbing, it may need adjusting.  Most PRVs are installed after the water meter or before the water heater.  Talk to a plumber before adjusting it.

  • If your water pressure suddenly drops to almost nothing ... it could be a result of a broken water line.

  • Check frequently asked questions for more information.

  • Call 311 or 704.336.7600 to report sudden drops in pressure.

High Water Pressure

  • If your home is in a geographically low point (near a creek) or near a water pumping facility, you may experience water pressure higher than 80 psi. Unfortunately, Charlotte Water can't alleviate high water pressure, but you may consider having a licensed plumber install a pressure-reducing valve at your home.

  • County building codes require pressure-reducing valves (PRVs) to be installed on new or remodeled residential plumbing where water pressure exceeds 80 psi.

  • A PRV reduces the water pressure coming into your home, if needed, to protect your plumbing much the same way that a surge protector protects your computer or television. A licensed plumber can assess your current plumbing system and recommend whether a PRV is needed for your home.

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, please contact a professional plumber or contractor

Frozen Pipes

If private pipes freeze but there are no visible leaks detected or obvious burst pipe:

  • Don't panic.
  • Open faucets just slightly (to give melting ice/steam a place to go without added stress on the pipe) and know where to turn off the water via 'master valve' in case a thawing pipe bursts or begins to leak.
  • Learn more at Prevent Frozen Pipes


Locating Your Master Shut Off Valve

If a water pipe bursts, it is important to know how to turn the water off before your home is flooded

Your master shut off valve is located on the house side of your meter inside the house. If you have a basement or crawl space, the main water shut-off is probably located in the basement, near the front wall of your home (closest to the street). If your home was built on a slab, the main water shut-off could be located near your hot water heater or inside of your garage. Master Shut-off valve for your drinking water is typically where plumbing enters a building. Once you find the shutoff valve you will either hand turn it (clockwise for gate valves and perpendicular to the pipe for ball valves).