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Energy & Environment

Missing Water A Mystery For County Utility

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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities
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County water officials have a bit of a mystery on their hands: the case of the missing 20 million gallons of water. Sunday afternoon workers noticed that a pump, which propels that amount of water per day into a water tank, is still operating. But it is not ending up in the water tank.

“That’s a classic sign of a big leak,” says Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities Director Barry Gullet. “And usually when that happens our phones light up telling us where the big leak is. In this situation, no one called.”

Since no one has noticed an enormous geyser or sinkhole, it could be leaking into a storm drain or into a river, or maybe instead of a leak, it is a malfunctioning valve, sending the water in a loop, Gullet says.

The affected area includes about 50,000 buildings and households in east and southeast Charlotte—a quarter of the utility’s customers, who could experience low water pressure.

Officials spent all night inspecting the pipes, and today they are also checking construction projects. Monday afternoon, they reported the levels of other water tanks in the area dropping. But the cause remains a mystery.