By Eames Yates
August 2, 2013
Valdosta, GA - Crews are working to prevent future sewage spills in Valdosta. It comes after heavy rains and another major spill this week.
More than seven million gallons of raw sewage has flooded here this week, and seeped into the Withlacoochee River which is about a half a mile away.
So far close to thirty million gallons of raw sewage has gone into the Withlacoochee River this year. It has all come from the Wastewater Treatment Plant after flooding and excessive rain. The city tests the water in Valdosta, but says it's unclear just how much damage it's doing outside of Lowndes County.
John Waite, Valdosta's Environmental Manager: "Looking at the river downstream, that is something that would have to be done at a higher level. Possibly federal involvement."
Reporter: "Are there any plans in the works for that?"
John Waite: "Not that I know of."
The City says they are working on seven projects to help prevent even more spills from happening over the next two years before the plant can be moved.
One of the most important of the seven projects is the installation of new screens which will seperate rags, wood and other debris from the sewage before it's treated.
Jason Scarpate, Assistant Utilities Director: "Having no violations is the goal here."
Reporter: "Why weren't these projects done three or four years ago?"
"These projects were considered three years ago. But were put on hold due to the flooding that we had in 2009 and we started working with FEMA as far as getting funding because of the impact of the flood."
The City says it was prohibited by FEMA from fixing the plant if they wanted to get ninety million dollars in assistance. That request for funds was ultimately denied by FEMA.
Now the seven projects are set to begin on Monday. City officials tell me it will take about six months for them to be completed.