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Public Utilities Common Questions

Answers to Water, Sewer, Billing & Consumption, and Reuse Questions

Last updated Nov. 13, 2014 - 10:42 am

Questions about your service? It may already be answered. Please select the category headings below to see questions and answers about about the Water, Sewer, Billing and Reuse Water Systems.

Water

My water is brown (or cloudy, or smells bad, or tastes funny).
What's wrong with it?

Call the E.M. Johnson Water Treatment Plant at 919-996-2870. Laboratory personnel will collect a water sample for analysis.

How do I report a water main break or any water quality concern?

To report a Water Main Break:

  • Between 7:30 am and 4:00 pm call the Public Utilities Operations Division at 919-996-2737
  • After 4:00 pm call the after-hours emergency number at 919-829-1930

    Note: The City of Raleigh is responsible for breaks in water and sewer mains in the street, but the property owner is responsible for breaks on private property.

For any other Water Quality Concern call the Public Utilities E.M. Johnson Water Treatment Plant Call Center at 919-996-2870

Where does my drinking water come from?
Your drinking water travels a complicated path before arriving at your home or business. Learn more about the process.

How do I fill a swimming pool?
Swimming pools may be filled by two methods:

  • Use your residential water connection. You will be charged for water and sewer services since the water would go through your meter. No adjustments will be made for the sewer portion of these charges.
  • Rent a water hydrant. There is a $500 refundable deposit with a $10 per day associated fee. For requirements and information regarding renting a hydrant, please call Meter Operations at 919-250-2742.

Please remember that all water used from the Public Utilities system must be metered except in the case of fire emergencies. Water used from the City's tap system without metering is a violation of the City Code and can result in the fine of a maximum of $500.00/day plus water usage.

Billing & Consumption

Why is my water bill so high?
For all questions about your water bill, call Utility Billing Customer Service at 919-890-3245.

Why doesn't my water come on?
If your water bill is current, there may be utility work in your area that required cutting off water for a period of time. Call the Public Utilities Operations Division at 919-996-2737 to see if there is utility work in your area. If there could be a problem with your water bill, call Utility Billing Customer Service at 919-890-3245.

How is my water consumption measured?
How many gallons are in a CCF?

The City of Raleigh measures water consumption in CCFs. CCF stands for one hundred cubic feet. One CCF equals 748 gallons. Multiply the consumption number on your water bill by 748 to convert your water consumption to gallons.

Sewer

How do I report a sewer overflow?

Between 7:30 am and 4:00 pm call the Public Utilities Operations Division at 919-996-2737

After 4:00 pm call the after-hours emergency number at 919-829-1930

Note: The City of Raleigh is responsible for breaks in water and sewer mains in the street, but the property owner is responsible for breaks on private property.

Reporting a problem could earn you $50, if you are the first to notify us of a Sanitary Sewer Overflow.

What can I do to prevent sewer overflows?
Prevention can save you money! Most sewer back-ups occur between the house and the City's sewer main. If there is a blocked sewer service between the house and the City's sewer main, the property owner is responsible for correcting the problem. Avoiding blockages means avoiding plumbing bills! When the blockage occurs in the City's sewer main, the City will correct the problem.

  • Do NOT pour grease, fats, and oils from cooking down the sink drain. Collect grease in a container and dispose of it in the garbage.
  • Do NOT use the sewer system as a means to dispose of food scraps. Place food scraps in waste containers or garbage bags for disposal with your weekly garbage collection or placed your food scraps in a compost pile.
  • Do NOT use the toilet as a wastebasket. Place a wastebasket in the bathroom to dispose of garbage. Disposable diapers, condoms, and personal hygiene products do not belong in the sewer system.

What you should know regarding your sewer service connection
The City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department sometimes receives calls from property owners informing us that they have a sewer backup. In an effort to provide good customer service and to protect the environment, the Public Utilities Department makes these calls a high priority suspending other planned maintenance which comes at a significant cost to the utility. Often it is later determined the problem is actually in the customer's service line and not in the City's sewer main.

We commonly hear from property owners that their plumber tried to clear a blockage. When the backup does not clear, the plumber tells the homeowner that the blockage is in the City's sewer main and is the City's responsibility. Upon the City's inspection, we frequently find the blockage exists between the clean-out located at the right-of-way and the City's sewer main, but still in the service line.

The idea that the City is responsible for the sewer service line between the right-of-way and the sewer main is simply not the case. The sewer line is the homeowner's responsibility from the home to the main.

In addition, the City of Raleigh has no responsibility for any portion of the customer's service line if it is located within a utility easement.

What You Should Know Regarding Your Sewer Service Connection [Brochure]

For more information:

  • Refer to Municipal Code Part 8-Public Utilities, Chapter 2-Water and Sewer Service, Article A.-General Provision, Sec. 8-2001-Definition Utility System, utility lines
  • Contact the Sewer Maintenance Division at 919-996-2312

How Do I Report Illegal Dumping into the Sanitary Sewer System?

Monday through Friday between 8 am and 5 pm, call the Public Utilities Administration Division at 919-996-4540.

After 5 pm call the after-hours emergency number at 919-829-1930.

Reporting a problem could earn you $5,000 if you are the first to notify us of a confirmed illegal discharge.

Note: A confirmed illegal discharge would be an individual that provides evidence or information leading to the apprehension, arrest, citation or conviction for illegal discharging into the sewer system.

What You Should Know Regarding Illegal Dumping
Only authorized personnel may access public manholes or privately owned grease interceptors for maintenance and monitoring activities.

An illicit discharge or illegal dumping may result in: Clogged or overflowing sewer lines, disruption of wastewater treatment plant processes, damage to sewer lines, buildup of toxic gases in the lines, and/or harmful discharges into the environment.

What Should I Look For?
  • Trucks discharging unknown substances into manholes in residential neighborhoods or near vacant lots, typically at night.
  • Foul smells with no apparent explanation.
  • Grease interceptors that appear to be full of water and grease shortly after a service company finishes pumping the grease interceptor.
  • Septage hauling companies that offer services for significantly less than competitors.

    If you see any of these things, or suspect an illicit discharge, please let us know! Contact us Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm by calling 919-996-4540. After hours, weekends and holidays call our emergency after hours number at 919-829-1930.

Reuse Water

What is Reuse Water?
Reuse water, sometimes called reclaimed water, recycled water, or non-potable water, is wastewater that is highly treated and can be re-used instead of being discharged to a waterway. Although not suitable for human, pet or livestock consumption, there are many viable uses for reuse water.

How is Reuse Water used?

  • Watering residential lawns and flower beds, golf courses, cemeteries, parks, school grounds, industrial or commercial landscapes, and highway medians
  • Decorative ponds and fountains with no drain to surface waters or storm drains
  • Sewer line flushing
  • Cooling towers
  • Pesticide and Fertilizer application
  • Concrete Mixing
  • Street Sweeping (not washing)
  • Roadway pretreatment (snow/ice)
  • Power/Vehicle Washing (w/ dual disinfection)
  • Directional boring
  • Construction site soil compaction, dust control, and asphalt reclamation
  • Hydroseeding

What uses of Reuse Water are prohibited?

  • Drinking water for humans, pets or livestock
  • Irrigation of crops for human consumption
  • Filling swimming pools, hot-tubs, or similar use
  • General residential indoor use
  • Filling ponds used for fishing, swimming or other human uses
  • In a manner that permits runoff from the site
  • Bulk reuse water cannot be used within: 100 feet of drinking water wells, 10 feet from non-drinking wells, 25 feet from all other surface waters and swimming pools

Why do we need to use Reuse Water?
Drinking water is a limited resource and is expensive to produce; the rapid growth and development in the Raleigh service area has put extreme demands on our raw water supplies. Using reuse water reduces the amount of water needed from these supplies and because bulk reuse water can be used during all stages of water restrictions.

How is public protection ensured?
To ensure public safety, State law (North Carolina Administrative Code Title 15A, Subchapter 2H, Section .0200) regulates all uses of reuse water. The following are specific requirements of the regulations:

  • The public must be notified of the use of reuse water and that reuse water is not intended for drinking.
  • This is accomplished by placing signs in areas where bulk reuse water is used
  • Bulk reuse water is treated to more stringent standards than wastewater discharged to waterways.
  • Bulk reuse water quality is monitored continuously.
  • All City of Raleigh bulk reuse water customers are trained and approved by City of Raleigh staff
  • All tanks and tanker trucks used for transport of City of Raleigh bulk reuse water are inspected and approved by City of Raleigh staff

Where can you pick up Bulk Reuse Water?

  • Neuse River Wastewater Treatment Plant at 8500 Battle Bridge Road
  • E.M. Johnson Water Treatment Plant at 10301 Falls of Neuse Road
  • Little Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant at 1419 Hwy 39 Zebulon
    (currently only for City equipment for sewer line flushing)
  • Smith Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant at 8505 Ligon Mill Road Wake Forest (permitting in process)

Water and Sewer Service System Maps

How do I obtain a site specific water and/or sewer location map?

Contact the Public Utilities Department at 919-996-4540 to request a site specific map. Or visit the Public Utilities Department located at One Exchange Plaza from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please be expected to provide the following: 1. Name 2. Property Address of site or Wake County Parcel Identification Number (PIN) 3. Telephone number or email so that we may return contact.

I want more than one site specific map. May I obtain a system wide water and/or sewer map?

System wide maps are not available.

What file types are available?

.pdf, .tif, .jpg less than two (2) mg are available via email at no cost.

What is the cost for a paper map?

Black and White paper copies are available in the following sizes: 8 1/2 x 11 (free via email or fax); 17 x 22 $10.00; 22 x 34 $15.00; 28 x 40 $30.00; 34 x 40 $50.00.

Are the paper maps available in color?

Yes. Double the fees above for the color version of each size.

Are custom maps available?

Yes. An additional charge will be assessed for custom mapping.

Are Mylar or Plan copy sheets available?

Yes. These copies are available for $8 per sheet.

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