News & Traffic
About Us
Customer Care
Grease Free
Print this PageSite Feedback
Prevent Sewage Backups in Your Home
If you see or suspect a sewage overflow or spill, or you have a sewage backup problem in your home, call 311 or 704-336-7600.

How does a sewage backup happen?
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 fixture in a customer's home or business.
What happens if there is a back-up?

Turn off any water appliances (washing machine) that are on. If this stops the backup, contact a plumber.

If the backup continues, please call 311 or 704-336-7600.

If the sewage backup occurs because of a blockage in a public manhole or sewer pipe, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities will provide cleanup assistance services in the home or business where the backup was reported. Crews will locate and remove the blockage in the public sewer main or the City maintained portion of the customer's connection.
picture of a baseball that clogged a sewer pipe
This prevents more wastewater from backing up in the pipe. Then the crew will begin the cleanup process in the affected home or business.

How can I protect my plumbing?

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. At that point, the customer should contact a plumbing contractor to make any repairs or changes to their private plumbing.

It is possible to prevent sewage backups with a plumbing fixture called a backwater valve, or sometimes known as a check valve or backflow 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 you can ask the builder. A professional plumber or contractor can also tell you whether you need this device.

Click here for other plumbing advice.

Did you know that grease plays a part in more than half of all blockages? Help prevent sewage spills and overflows by eliminating greases from our sewers!

Grease Clogs! Don't Pour It Down The Drain.