Bypass Line To Stop Valdosta Wastewater Nearly Complete

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Updated By: City of Valdosta
March 27, 2014, 5:30pm

The bypass line that will stop the wastewater overflow of a City of Valdosta 21-inch sewer line that collapsed earlier in the week is expected to be operational by early Friday morning. The local contractor hired for the emergency work has completed the directional drilling underneath the railroad tracks, and crews will be working late into the night to complete the nearly 1,000-foot bypass line before Friday’s forecast of rain.

Once the bypass line is operational, the city will immediately begin clean up of the area impacted by the overflow in accordance with Environmental Protection Agency regulations. Valdosta Utilities Department staff have been monitoring streams entering Knights Creek from the affected spill area and have not found any visible impacts from the spill on those streams as yet.

Work will continue into next week on the replacement of a 500 to 700-foot sewer line and the installation of three additional manholes until the project is complete.

Click here for updates to this project and other Valdosta Sanitary Sewer System improvement projects located on the City of Valdosta’s website. For more information, contact the Public Information Office at (229) 259-3548.

Winnie Wright
March 26, 2014

Madison County, FL - "It seems like every time we turn around here, that we're having another spill. I'm retired. I spend a lot of time on the river. I have some friends on the river, and today you don't know if you need to get in the river or you don't", says Allen Cherry, Madison County Coordinator.

With warmer temperatures around the corner, The Madison County Chamber of Commerce, as well as local residents, say they are afraid tourism, among other things, will be affected by recent sewage spills.

"Well, my concerns about the spills of the sewage coming out of Valdosta is how much, if any, affect it has on the drinking water", Preston Mathews, a 10 Year Resident of Madison County.

Knight's Creek is the latest waterway in Valdosta to be affected by sewage.

According to the City, a sewer line 20 feet below ground collapsed Monday, and has been dumping around 250 gallons of contaminated stormwater in to the Knight's Creek wetland area every minute since it collapsed.

Knight's Creek is just one of many waterways in Valdosta that connects to rivers that float downstream through Madison and Hamilton Counties. The City says they are very sensitive to neighbors down stream and are working to correct the issues.

"We have 3 projects out right now. Three wastewater treatment plant projects that will be bid in may. Those will be begun immediately and be done in the next year. We also have a plant relocation project that's coming up for bid and that will be complete by 2016. Both of these will eliminate about 95% of what's going on right now', says Sementha Matthews, with The City of Valdosta.

The City says they will continue working on the collapsed sewer line near Knight's Creek until it is repaired. They will also smoke test other sewage lines in Valdosta, checking for cracks.

News Release: City of Valdosta
Updated: March 25, 2014, 6pm

A local contractor began emergency work today on a City of Valdosta 21-inch sewer line that collapsed on March 24 south of South Blanchard Street.

Crews began welding the bypass pipes on site today while waiting for the necessary equipment to arrive from Atlanta and Jacksonville to complete the nearly 1,000-foot bypass line. Approximately 250 gallons per minute of combined stormwater and wastewater is being discharged to a wetland area drained by Knights Creek between South Blanchard Street and Howell Road. Once the bypass line is complete, the overflow can be stopped.

This emergency work is extremely complicated since the spill location is adjacent to several railroad tracks, underneath an electric transmission line and surrounded by predominantly wetlands and swamp.

Two large excavators were brought on site today to start excavation. Directional drilling equipment arriving from Atlanta will be used to drill over 20 feet underneath the tracks to create the bypass line, as well as the 500 to 700-foot line that will replace the collapsed line. The extensive work involves excavating trenches on each side of the railroad tracks, well pointing to allow crews to work in the trenches, the directional drilling of two new 200-foot casings underneath the tracks, and the installation of three additional manholes.

Valdosta Utilities Department staff have been monitoring streams entering Knights Creek from the affected spill area and have not found any visible impacts from the spill on those streams as yet. Signs warning of the major spill have been placed at public access areas downstream of the spill location.

For more information, contact Environmental Manager John Waite at (229) 259-3592 or at

By: Joe Hellriegel

"It should have no impact on the residents whatsoever."

That's what the City of Valdosta says about dealing with another sewage problem, but this time, a water main break, caused 300,000 gallons of untreated waste water to spill into Dukes Bay Canal.

Valdosta City Director of Utilities, Henry Hicks, says the break occurred because of blockage from rags, grease and plastics from an unnamed business in the area.

"We will have some recommendations that they will need to do or they will be cited for violation of the ordinance," said Hicks.

While the break is being fixed, a sewage system bypass is in place. It allows the waterways and sewage to continually flow during temporary construction, like water main breaks.

Because of the location of the break, and that the Dukes Bay Canal runs into an interceptor that leads to a waste water treatment plant, officials say that citizens won't be affected, but the business could face severe penalties.

"Again, we are still getting the information together, we're pulling records of the past that of issues that we've had of the same customer so this isn't a first time event, but it's been a while since it's happened so they may have cleaned up their act for a while, but now we are back into the same place."

The city says if any water from the spill does lead into waters downstream, the sewage will be diluted too much to measure. The break is expected to be fixed by the end of Friday, March 21, and is still being investigated by the city.

The cost of the project has not yet been determined.

News Release: City of Valdosta

The City of Valdosta is replacing a portion of sewer main on the west bank of Dukes Bay Canal, after Utilities Department staff located an active sewer spill behind the 1800 block of S. Patterson Street, on March 19. This portion of Dukes Bay Canal is bordered by Tucker Road on the north and Gil Harbin Industrial Boulevard on the south.

Due to the location and equipment needed for the repairs, the Utilities Department contacted a local contractor to undertake the necessary emergency repairs. Currently this contractor is awaiting delivery of a bypass pumping system to stop the overflow of wastewater to Dukes Bay Canal.

The spill is a result of a break in a 15-inch concrete sewer main. Approximately 300,000 gallons of untreated wastewater has entered waters of the state at Dukes Bay Canal. Upstream and downstream sampling of Dukes Bay Canal has begun.

During preparation for the bypass work, the contractor discovered that there was very large blockage further downstream which was preventing sewage from getting to the main sewer interceptor. City staff and the contractor have determined that this blockage actually caused the rupture of the upstream sewer main. Utility staff is working continuously throughout the day to remove this very large blockage consisting of a combination of rags, grease and other debris clogging the sewer main over numerous lengths of pipe. It is believed the blockage was caused by a user of the city’s system, and the matter will be investigated.

Warning signs have been placed at public access areas downstream of the spill location, and the public is advised to avoid contact with Dukes Bay Canal south of Tucker Road until normal conditions are restored.

For more information, contact Environmental Manager John Waite at (229) 259-3592 or at

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