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Water and Sewer

Water and Sewer

IN THE EVENT OF A SEWER BACKUP, SEWER OVERFLOW, OR OTHER UTILITY-RELATED EMERGENCY CALL 704-296-4210 IMMEDIATELY.

Where does my water come from?

The primary source of water for Union County is the Catawba River. Union County jointly owns and operates the Catawba River Water Treatment Plant with the Lancaster County Water and Sewer District (LCW&SD) in Lancaster, SC. Currently, 80% of our water needs are met through this facility.

Union County also has a purchase water agreement with Anson County, NC to purchase up to four million gallons daily. Union County currently has a total of 25 million gallons per day (MGD) water supply capacity.

Catawba River Water Supply Project

In 1991, Union County and the Lancaster County (South Carolina) Water and Sewer District entered into an agreement to develop a new water treatment plant on the Catawba River to meet both entities’ long-term water supply needs. The Catawba River Water Treatment Plant (CRWTP), constructed under this agreement, had an initial capacity of 18 MGD at startup in April 1993, and was expanded in 2004 to its current capacity of 36 MGD. Each partner is entitled to 50% of the plant capacity (18 MGD), and each has rights to future expansions up to the total permitted capacity of 100 MGD.

In January 2012, Union County entered into a five-year interim temporary transfer agreement with the LCW&SD to transfer 3 MGD of capacity from the District to Union County, increasing capacity to 21 MGD until 2017. This lease was recently extended until January 2019.

The permitting and design process to expand the capacity of the CRWTP from 36 MGD to 45 MGD to accommodate the expected growth in the County’s water system is currently underway. CRWTP business is governed by a board made up of two Union County Commissioners, two Lancaster County Commissioners, the UCPW Director and CRWTP Manager.

Anson County Water Supply

In 1992, Union and Anson Counties entered into a 20-year agreement for Anson County to provide 4 MGD of water to Union County. The Anson County water system began providing water to Union County in January 1994 to meet needs to service unincorporated areas of eastern Union County and the Town of Wingate. The initial term of the agreement expired in January 2014 and was renewed for a five-year term until 2019.

CRWTP
Current capacity: 21 MGD
Average day demand: 10 MGD
Peak day demand: 17 MGD

Anson
Current capacity: 4 MGD
Average day demand: 1.9 MGD
Peak day demand: 3 MGD

Future Supply

In May 2013, Union County entered into an agreement with the Town of Norwood in Stanly County to develop, the Yadkin Regional Water Supply, a new water intake off of Lake Tillery as part of Union County’s effort to bring a new water source from the Yadkin River to Union County. Seventy-five percent of the County’s land area is within the Yadkin River Basin, but only 20% of our current water supply comes from the Yadkin River though our purchase agreement with Anson County. This new Yadkin River Water Supply program is a 7 to 10 year effort to permit, design and construct a new intake, a raw water pipeline and a new water treatment plant in Union County. The new program will meet the 2050 water supply needs of eastern Union County without having to transfer additional water from the Catawba River to the Yadkin River Basin.

Water Distribution

The existing County water main network contains pipes ranging in size from two inches to 42 inches in diameter. There are over 1,000 miles of pipe in the system with over 6,000 fire hydrants serving more than 45,000 customers. The system is divided into five different pressure zones to assure that the pressure of the water delivered to our customers stays within acceptable ranges. System performance relies on five booster pumping stations, which pump water to six elevated storage tanks that maintain the system pressures within these zones.

Can I get information on our wastewater facilities?

Wastewater generated by our 33,000 customers is conveyed through a collection system comprised of over 540 miles of gravity lines with pipe diameters ranging from four inches to 48 inches. There are also over 70 pump stations in the system, with more than 70 miles of force mains that pump wastewater to our treatment facilities in areas that will not flow by gravity.

The County currently owns and operates five wastewater treatment plants within the County, which is currently termed Water Reclamation Facilities (WRF).The WRF each treat wastewater from specific drainage areas within the County. The WRF are: Twelve Mile Creek, Crooked Creek, Tallwood Estates, Grassy Branch and Olde Sycamore. Union County currently has a total of 8.2 million gallons per day (MGD) of wastewater treatment capacity with these facilities and contracts with the Cities of Monroe and Charlotte for an additional 5.65 MGD of treatment capacity to serve eastern Union County and the Six-Mile Creek basin, respectively.

All County facilities use advanced treatment processes to assure that the water quality of the receiving streams is maintained. The Olde Sycamore WRF is unique in the fact that 100% of the treated wastewater is used as a source of irrigation on a private golf course.

How can I conserve water and lower my water bill?

Water conservation inside your home...

Check faucets and pipes for leaks
A small drip from a worn faucet washer can waste several gallons of water per day. Larger leaks can waste hundreds of gallons. Have them repaired immediately.

Check your toilets for leaks
Put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately.

Take shorter showers
One way to cut down on water use is to turn off the shower after soaping up, then turn it back on to rinse.

Turn off the faucet
When lathering hands, shaving or brushing teeth.

Use your dishwasher and washing machine for only full loads
Automatic dishwashers and clothes washers should be fully loaded for optimum water conservation.


Water conservation in the yard and garden...

Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants
Mulch will slow evaporation of moisture while discouraging weed growth. Adding 2 - 4 inches of organic material such as compost or bark mulch will increase the ability of the soil to retain moisture.

Don't drown your lawn
The greatest waste of water comes from applying too much, too often to your lawn -- much of the water is never absorbed. Your lawn needs about an inch of water per week. To help gauge that, place a tuna can in each irrigation zone and then run your system until you get an inch (or fraction thereof depending on the number of times you irrigate weekly) to properly set your sprinklers.

Watch the clock
Water between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. -- when the sun is low, winds are calm and temperatures are cool. Mid-day watering tends to be less efficient because of water loss due to evaporation.

Divide by zones
Different plants need different amounts of water. Divide your yard and landscape areas into separate irrigation zones so that grass can be watered separately and more frequently than groundcovers, shrubs and trees.

Water only things that grow
If you have an underground sprinkler system, make sure the sprinkler heads are adjusted properly to avoid watering sidewalks and driveways. A properly adjusted sprinkler head should spray large droplets of water instead of a fine mist to minimize evaporation and wind drift.

Do routine inspections
Since lawns and gardens should be watered in the early morning hours, a problem may not be discovered until it is too late. Periodically check your sprinklers to make sure everything is working properly. A clogged head, broken fixture, or torn line can wreak havoc on your landscape and water bill.

Be rain smart
Adjust your irrigation system as the seasons and weather change. Or better yet, install a shut-off device that automatically detects rain or moisture. These devices are inexpensive and enable you to take advantage of the water without having paying for it.

Go native

Plant local, drought-resistant plants and shrubs that can sustain heat and require less watering.

How do I know if I have a leak?

High or abnormal usage indicates that you may have a water leak. Increased consumption may be due to leaking faucets, either inside or outside the home, a leaking hot water heater, a broken service line, the service line connection clamp at the meter being broken or loose, or pipes leaking underneath the house.

Customers should check their outside faucets periodically. During the winter months, especially after a hard freeze, it is advisable to check for leaks.

Customers should also check to make sure that toilets are flushing properly. A worn rubber seal inside the water holding tank on the back of the toilet causes increased water usage. One way to check for a worn rubber seal is to drop five to six tablespoons of food coloring in the water holding tank after you have flushed the commode. Wait approximately three to five minutes. Look inside the commode bowl to see if the water inside the bowl has become discolored.

Requests may be made for an adjustment to a bill for a water/sewer leak provided an individual can demonstrate proof that the leak has been repaired. Adjustments are made using the policy that a customer will pay a six-month average plus half of the loss. Customers are allowed two adjustments in a twelve-month period.

See Leak or Usage Detection for more information.

Report a pipe or hydrant leak

Union County Public Works will repair leaks if they are on the County’s side of the meter or if the leak is at the meter box before the customer’s service line connection. Whenever you call to report a water leak, you will be asked the following questions:

  • Your name, telephone number and account number (if available)?
  • Address or location of the leak?
  • Is the water gushing or is it a slow leak?
  • Is the leak on the side of the meter facing your property?
  • Have you or your neighbors previously reported the leak?

Gushing water leaks require immediate attention. If the leak is on the county portion of the line, then our department will respond as soon as possible. Slow leaks on our line, will be assigned a work order and will be repaired as soon as possible, dependent upon weather conditions. No work will begin, except for emergencies, until all utilities have located their service lines in the affected area. All utilities require a minimum 48 hours. If you observe a leak, please call 704- 296-4210 or 704- 289-1591 immediately. Public Works is available to quickly dispatch someone to investigate seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Report a sewer overflow or an alarm at a sewage facility

Wastewater pumping stations are located throughout the collection system and are used to pump wastewater uphill. These pump stations are equipped with both a visual alarm (red light) and an audible alarm (horn). If you see or hear an alarm sounding on a County station, please call 704- 296-4210 or 704- 289-1591 immediately. Public Works is available to quickly dispatch someone to investigate seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

If you see sanitary sewer overflowing as shown in these photos, please call 704-296-4210 or 704-289-1591 immediately. Public Works is available to quickly dispatch someone to investigate seven days per week, 24 hours per day.

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Emergency Contacts

Report a Pipe or Hydrant Leak

Union County Public Works will repair leaks if they are on the County’s side of the meter or if the leak is at the meter box before the customer’s service line connection. Whenever you call to report a water leak, you will be asked the following questions:

  • Your name, telephone number and account number (if available)?
  • Address or location of the leak?
  • Is the water gushing or is it a slow leak?
  • Is the leak on the side of the meter facing your property?
  • Have you or your neighbors previously reported the leak?

Gushing water leaks require immediate attention. If the leak is on the county portion of the line, then our department will respond as soon as possible. Slow leaks on our line, will be assigned a work order and will be repaired as soon as possible, dependent upon weather conditions. No work will begin, except for emergencies, until all utilities have located their service lines in the affected area. All utilities require a minimum 48 hours. If you observe a leak, please call 704- 296-4210 or 704- 289-1591 immediately. Public Works is available to quickly dispatch someone to investigate seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Report a Sewer Overflow or an Alarm at a Sewage Facility

Wastewater pumping stations are located throughout the collection system and are used to pump wastewater uphill. These pump stations are equipped with both a visual alarm (red light) and an audible alarm (horn). If you see or hear an alarm sounding on a County station, please call 704- 296-4210 or 704- 289-1591 immediately. Public Works is available to quickly dispatch someone to investigate seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

If you see sanitary sewer overflowing as shown in this photo, please call 704-296-4210 or 704-289-1591 immediately. Public Works is available to quickly dispatch someone to investigate seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

About Water & Sewer

The Union County Public Works Department (UCPW) operates and maintains a regional water utility system that provides retail water and wastewater service to over 45,000 water customers and 33,000 sewer customers located throughout unincorporated Union County and 13 of the 15 municipalities within the County. UCPW currently meets the water and wastewater needs of more than one half of Union County’s population (by 2010 census estimate). UCPW also provide wholesale water supply to the Town of Wingate and also has a water sales agreement with the City of Monroe to sell up to 2 million gallons per day to the City as part of their long term water supply strategy.