Frequently asked questions
How often does the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department conduct PCB tests?
PCB testing varies based on different permits. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department (CMUD) frequently tests for PCBs for permitted industrial users regulated by CMUD. Once a year biosolids at each wastewater plant are also tested. The wastewater permit for Mallard Creek does not require PCB testing. On the drinking water side, CMUD is required to test every three years, but conducts quarterly tests for PCBs.
How are wastewater treatment plants permitted?
CMUD wastewater treatment plants are permitted and regulated by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources based upon guidance from the Environmental Protection Agency.
How does wastewater treatment work?
Wastewater is generated when CMUD customers wash clothes, take showers, run faucets and flush toilets. This water travels through a pipe network and into one of the five plants in Mecklenburg County. Each of CMUD’s wastewater treatment plants applies primary, secondary and advanced treatment to the waste stream. Large solid particles and inorganic materials are removed by screening and settling. The wastewater is treated biologically to remove dissolved pollutants. Disinfection reduces bacterial and pathogenic materials. Finally, the waste stream passes through granular filters to remove very small particles that may not have been removed through the settling process. The treated water is released to the stream.
Where can I learn more about wastewater treatment at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department?
Each year, CMUD publishes a wastewater report. View it here.
Does ethanol pose a threat?
Ethanol could cause issues in the creek, but operators caught it and contained it. In small amounts, ethanol is fully treatable by processes at the wastewater plant.
Are the ethanol and PCB incidents related?
It is not believed that the two incidents are related because they are different pollutants.
How much ethanol entered the Sugar Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant?
At this point there are no estimates for the amount. However, there was sufficient capacity in storage areas to divert flows of the contaminant.