Below is information to help you settle in and feel at home in our small town.
A downloadable brochure with the content from this page is available in the More Information section.
The town offers a course over several weeks aimed at helping community members increase their knowledge of town government, as well as their interest and ability in influencing and participating in town decisions. For more information, see the Government 101 page on this website.
You can conduct business and get information on the town website, so please bookmark it.
The town also provides regular updates through news releases, social media and a monthly newsletter. A weekly digest of town news releases and key reminders are emailed on Fridays. Time-sensitive emails are sent as needed. The newsletter is inserted into paper water and sewer bills and included in the weekly digest at the start of each month.
- Follow @HillsboroughGov on Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter).
- Follow Town of Hillsborough on Nextdoor.
- Subscribe to town emails.
The town issues emergency notifications through OC Alerts, Orange County's mass notification system. The system is a partnership of Orange Water and Sewer Authority and the governments in Orange County. OWASA provides water service to the Carrboro and Chapel Hill community. For more information, see the Ready Hillsborough page on this website.
Contact the town
Call the Hillsborough Planning and Economic Development Division at 919-732-1270 before signing contracts or purchasing supplies for:
- Adding a deck or room or enclosing an open space.
- Making yard improvements such as outbuildings, fences and patios.
- Adding accessory dwelling units.
- Running a business from your home.
Contact the county
Call the Orange County Building Inspections Division at 919-245-2575 before signing contracts or purchasing supplies for:
- Renovating your home.
- Changing or improving electrical, heating, air conditioning or plumbing systems in your home.
- Adding any systems to an outbuilding.
The Public Works Division provides residential curbside garbage collection services within town limits as a service paid for by property taxes. Multi-family dwellings receive commercial services. Call 919-296-9600 to start residential service.
See the curbside collections calendar below for routes and services. See the Garbage Collection page for information on special collections and for collection requirements, including placement of rollout carts.
Orange County provides recycling collection services. To set up new recycling service, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 919-968-2788.
Yard waste is collected weekly. For pickup, leaves should be placed in compostable bags except during loose leaf collection season, which occurs November through January. See the Yard Waste Collection page for items that can be collected and collection requirements.
Bulk items collection is offered monthly on the second full week of the month, with the week starting on Sunday. See the Garbage Collection page on this website for items that can be collected.
For additional information on the following, see the Water and Sewer Services page on this website.
The Town of Hillsborough provides water and sewer services within town limits and to some properties outside town limits. Service should be requested at least three business days in advance. To set up services, see the Billing and Collections page or call 919-296-9450 and choose Option 2.
Customers may request adjustments to bills if they show that a break in a water line has resulted in extraordinary charges for a given billing period. In such cases, the customer will be charged an amount based on an average of the previous six months.
Customers are allowed one leak adjustment per calendar year. See the Billing and Collections page for a request form.
To understand the minimum monthly charge and the rates, see the Water and Sewer Rates FAQs page on this website.
E-bills and online payment
Water and sewer customers are encouraged to sign up for electronic bills and to pay online through the online platform.
The Hillsborough Water Treatment Plant serves as the emergency number for water and sewer service issues. Call 919-732-3621 any time, day or night.
Report water line breaks, sewer spills and other water-related emergencies immediately.
Sewer cleanout pipes and rings
Broken sewer cleanout pipes should be fixed quickly to prevent stormwater from infiltrating the sewer system. The protective ring around the pipe must be kept in place. The capped pipes are located on the edge of rights of way and provide easy access to a property's main sewer line.
If you see anyone taking water from a water hydrant without an orange meter box attached, call the Water Treatment Plant. It is helpful to note the time, date, location, name on the truck, truck number and license plate. A photograph and information can be submitted to Utilities Director Marie Strandwitz via email.
Please do not intervene directly. Individuals or businesses who pay the Town of Hillsborough for water use a hydrant with an orange box that houses a meter.
For information on backflow prevention, on wipes, and on fats, oil and grease, see the Utilities Educational Outreach page.
Know your private service lines
Homeowners are responsible for:
- The water line between the meter and the home
- The sewer line between the cleanout pipe and the home.
These are private service lines. The cleanout pipe's protective ring must be kept in place. The capped pipe provides easy access to your home's main sewer line.
Keep easements clear
Water and sewer easements grant the Utilities Department the right to access, maintain, repair or replace a town asset, such as a water or sewer main. Fences over easements require an encroachment agreement and other permissions. Call 919-296-9630 before installing a fence.
The town will not replace any plants, fences, sheds, fountains, patios, decks or other structures that impede access to the easement and maintenance of the infrastructure.
Call 811 before digging
Know where utility lines are before digging, and leave access around fire hydrants and other utility devices. Private service lines require marking from private companies. See the North Carolina 811 website for more information.
Spray irrigation may occur between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m. and is limited to three applications per week, totaling no more than 1 inch. Systems must have moisture sensors and should be checked annually for leaks.
Install backflow preventer
Those with pools or separate irrigation systems must have a backflow preventer. Call 919-296-9653 to talk with the utilities infrastructure protection supervisor.
Flush the 3 P’s only
That’s pee, poo and (toilet) paper. Anything else can lead to overflows in your home and in the environment. Wipes labeled as flushable are not flushable and will clog the sewer system. See our No Wipes in the Pipes video.
Trash fats, oils and grease
Fats, oils and grease poured down the drain will collect and stick to plumbing and sewer lines. Over time, lines can become blocked, causing sewer backups or overflows. Help prevent this by:
- Discarding used fats, oils and grease with other garbage.
- Minimizing use of garbage disposals.
- Scraping plates into trash cans.
- Using paper towels to wipe leftover oils and fats from pots and pans.
The town provides fat trappers to water and sewer customers to help keep grease and oils out of the sewer system. Call 919-296-9653 or pick one up at the Town Hall Annex, 105 E. Corbin St., where water bills are paid.
There are opportunities to volunteer by serving on appointed boards or by improving the town’s public spaces through helping to remove invasive plants, organizing roadside trash cleanups and participating in park workdays. Additionally, you can donate to the Water Assistance Program to help neighbors pay their water bills.
See the Volunteer Opportunities page for more information. For information on workdays, call 919-296-9600.