Charlotte Water says its sewage spills hit a 30-year low in the past 12 months, continuing a downward trend that began in 2007.
About 200,000 gallons of sewage were released in 177 spills between July 2014 and the end of June, according to the utility’s annual report. That was the fewest spills since 1986.
In the previous year, 247 spills dumped 554,000 gallons. Sewage poses a public health threat because it contains bacteria, parasites and viruses.
Improvement began in 2007, the year the Environmental Protection Agency sanctioned the Charlotte utility for sewage spills.
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The utility credits a program focused on reducing spills with system upgrades, sewer line cleaning, root and grease control and other measures.
Charlotte Water said it spends $10 million to $12 million a year to replace or reline older pipes. It has spent $100 million over the past decade to build relief sewers to increase system capacity.
Grease that clogs pipes causes nearly half of all spills.
“Most overflows can be prevented at the kitchen sink,” Cam Coley, a utility spokesman, said in a statement. “Customers can help protect the environment – and their plumbing – by pouring fats, oils, and grease in a disposable jar and pitching it into the trash, instead of down the drain.”
Summaries of the annual report will be mailed with September water bills.