Valdosta Reports Continued Sewage Spill

By: Greg Gullberg Email
By: Greg Gullberg Email

Press Release: City of Valdosta

On Saturday, March 23, 2013 heavy rains moved through the Valdosta/Lowndes County area with accumulations of nearly five inches in some areas of the City. Stormwater from these rains entered the sanitary sewer collection system and overloaded the collection and treatment system. As a result of continuing high flow, the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment facility discharged a total suspended solids concentration of 70 milligrams per liter (mg/l) on March 24, 2013. This is in excess of 1½ times the permitted maximum concentration, which constitutes a “major spill” as defined by the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and by State law. The volume of the major spill is the total flow through the facility for March 24, 2013, which is 12,917,000 gallons.

On August 9, 2012 the Mayor and City Council approved a contract for the design of the Withlacoochee Plant pump stations, force main, equalization basin and Plant headworks, as well as a find-and-fix program for leaking sewers—all of which will resolve the issue of sewer overflows in the low lying areas along Sugar Creek and the first portions of the new Treatment Plant. Later in 2012, the City applied for a GEFA loan for $32 million. This project will be bid in June of this year, and completion is anticipated in August, 2014. The City will also issue the Design/Build RFP for the relocation of the Withlacoochee Plant within the next few months, which is expected to cost $20 million and be completed by August, 2015.

On March 22, 2013, the City of Valdosta issued a Press Release titled “Mayor and Council Address Recent Wastewater Issues”. This Press Release gives greater detail concerning the infrastructure improvement efforts made over the past few years and the plans for the immediate future. The Press Release is available on the City of Valdosta web site at www.valdostacity.com.

Due to the possibility of high bacteria counts the public is advised to avoid contact with area streams, especially Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River, for the next seven days.

Questions concerning these overflows may be directed to John Waite, Environmental Manager, at 229-259-3592 or jwaite@valdostacity.com.


By: Greg Gullberg
March 25, 2013

Valdosta, GA - It's a problem residents say just plain stinks. A local neighborhood is fighting an on-going battle against raw sewage backing up into their yards.

Residents of the Meadow Brook Subdivision of Valdosta say this is the worst the sewage problem has ever been. First there was a flood last month where the Waste Water Treatment Plant was shut down. Now this weekend's rainfall brought it back again.

"When's the next time my kids are going to be able to go out and sit in their yard and play? I have four kids and i would like to be able to know what my next move is," said local resident Chad Harrison.

Local resident Gabe Fisher says it started around 3 p.m., this past Sunday.

Henry Hicks with the Department of Utilities says the problem is gravity.

"Meadow Brook is in one of the lowest lying areas of the city, and it's a gravity system. And the sewer system works mostly on gravity," said Hicks.

There is a proposed "Force Main" project in place that will make it a pressure system not relying on gravity to take the sewage to the waste water treatment plant.

They have the funding approved right now by the "Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority", but it has a $32 million price tag and the city has no way to foot the bill without additional tax dollars.

City leaders hope residents will vote for a local sales tax called SPLOST this November, even though it failed last time. But Hicks says the Force Main project will go through whether SPLOST passes or not.

"We could raise rates, we could raise taxes," says Hicks. "You know nothing is taken off the board."

He says the fix will be made at the earliest by July of next year.

In the meantime, Crews have been out Monday putting down Lime to disinfect the ground.


Press Release: City of Valdosta

On Saturday, March 23, 2013 heavy rains moved through the Valdosta/Lowndes County area with accumulations of nearly five inches in some areas of the City. Stormwater from these rains entered the sanitary sewer collection system and overloaded the collection and treatment system. As a result sewer manholes overflowed at five points in the system and the Withlacoochee wastewater treatment facility discharged total suspended solids in excess of permit limits.

The City is reporting the following major spills:

1. Two manholes located on the west bank of Sugar Creek near the Mediacom tower in the 1400 block of Gornto Road discharged into Sugar Creek. The estimated volume discharged is 20,000 gallons.

2. One manhole located on the east bank of Sugar Creek behind the residence in the 2400 block of Meadowbrook Drive overflowed into Sugar Creek. The estimated volume discharged is 360,000 gallons.

3. One manhole located on the west bank of Sugar Creek in the 1400 block of Gornto Road overflowed. The estimated volume discharged is 20,000 gallons.

4. One manhole located behind a residence in the 600 block of Scott Drive overflowed. The estimated volume discharged is 300,000 gallons.

5. One manhole located west of the Withlacoochee River on Highway 133 overflowed. The estimated volume of the discharge is 20,000 gallons.

6. The Withlacoochee sewage treatment plant discharged total suspended solids in excess of 1 ½ times the permitted maximum. This constitutes a “major spill” as defined by the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and by state law. The volume of the major spill is the total flow through the facility for March 23, 2013, which is 8,327,000 gallons.

On August 9, 2012 the Mayor and City Council approved a contract for the design of the Withlacoochee Plant pump stations, force main, equalization basin and plant headworks, as well as a find-and-fix program for leaking sewers—all of which will resolve the issue of sewer overflows in the low lying areas along Sugar Creek and the first portions of the new treatment plant. Later in 2012, the city applied for a GEFA loan for $32 million. This project will be bid in June of this year, and completion is anticipated in August 2014. The city will also issue the Design/Build RFP for the relocation of the Withlacoochee Plant within the next few months, which is expected to cost $20 million and be completed by August 2015.

On March 22, 2013 the City of Valdosta issued a press release titled “Mayor and Council Address Recent Wastewater Issues”. This press release gives greater detail concerning the infrastructure improvement efforts made over the past few years and the plans for the immediate future. The release is available on the City of Valdosta web site at www.valdostacity.com

Utilities Department staff will be cleaning overflow sites and performing stream sampling beginning today. Due to the possibility of high bacteria counts the public is advised to avoid contact with area streams, especially Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River, for the next seven days.

Questions concerning these overflows may be directed to John Waite, Environmental Manager, at 229-259-3592 or jwaite@valdostacity.com


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WCTV 1801 Halstead Blvd. Tallahassee, FL 32309
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 199898751 - wctv.tv/a?a=199898751
Gray Television, Inc.