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Nearly Eight Million Gallons Of Raw Sewage... Straight Into Area River

By: City of Valdosta Email
By: City of Valdosta Email

By Eames Yates
July 25, 2013

Valdosta, GA - Almost eight million gallons of raw sewage flooded here at the plant and made it's way directly into the Withlacoochee River. Which is about a half mile away. Which makes the city's plans to relocate this plant all the more relevant.

Since the beginning of this year more than twenty million gallons of raw sewage has spilled into the the Withlachoochee river, according to the city of Valdosta. It all stems from the flooding at the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant. The most recent spill has been contained-- for the moment.

John Waitem Valdosta Environmental Manager: "What we're doing now is creating some new storage space at the facility by re purposing some of our tanks to make temporary storage."

The keyword is temporary. The city has plans to move the plant by August of 2015. A local penny sales tax called SPLOST will fund the twenty million dollar relocation if it passes in November.

Jason Scarpate, Valdosta Asst. Utilities Director: "That's what we're looking at using right now as a funding stream for that project. And if it does not pass the city will be looking at other funding sources for that project.

The passing of the penny tax can't come soon enough for residents who border the river.

Lucile Collins, lives near Withalacoochee River: "All that flooding and all that sewage and everything coming our way. And it's damaging to the fish, the wildlife and also the property because of all the debris left there we have to clean it up. No one else is going to do it."

The city says that half of the money generated from SPLOST comes from people that are travelling through Lowndes County but don't live here. That's why they advocate it as the best plan to fund the relocation.


Press Release: City of Valdosta

The city has responded to the high flows at the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant by repurposing some of its tanks to create additional storage space for the excess solids and high flows at the plant.

Heavy rains resulted in another discharge of total suspended solids on July 24 in excess of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit limit. The city expects the corrective actions to resolve future occurrences.

The total suspended solids result for the effluent sample collected July 24 was 111 milligrams per liter. This is greater than 1.5 times the weekly average allowed by the NPDES permit, which constitutes a major spill. The volume of the major spill into the Withlacoochee River is the total flow for July 24, which is 7.95 million gallons.

Warning signs have been placed downstream, and stream sampling of the Withlacoochee River has been initiated as required. For more information, contact Environmental Manager John Waite at (229) 259-3592 or at jwaite@valdostacity.com.


Press Release: City of Valdosta

As a result of several days of consistently heavy rains in Valdosta, the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant discharged total suspended solids in excess of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit limit.

The total suspended solids result for the effluent sample collected July 23, 2013 was 77 milligrams per liter. This is greater than 1.5 times the weekly average of 45 milligrams per liter allowed by the NPDES permit, which constitutes a major spill.

The volume of the major spill into the Withlacoochee River is the total flow for July 23, which is 7.6 million gallons.

The city is working closely with a design consultant and a construction firm to implement seven projects that, once in place, will help keep the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant in compliance with the NPDES permit until the relocation of the plant is complete.

The city’s contractor is expected to be on site within the next two weeks to start work on these necessary improvement projects. The city is also preparing to issue a design/build RFP for the relocation of the Withlacoochee Plant, which is expected to cost $20 million and be completed by August 2015.

Warning signs have been placed downstream, and stream sampling of the Withlacoochee River has been initiated as required. For more information, contact Environmental Manager John Waite at (229) 259-3592 or at jwaite@valdostacity.com.


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