The Valdosta City Council Is Taking Action To Address Sewage Problems

By: Winnie Wright Email
By: Winnie Wright Email
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Updated By" Winnie Wright
Updated: April 11, 2014, 6:00PM

The Valdosta City Council met Thursday and discussed recent sewage spills plaguing the community recently and have effected other communities downstream.

"At last night's meeting, Mayor and Council approved the resolution for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. It's a low interest rate $36.7 million low interest rate loan, that allows The City to move forward on the wastewater treatment system projects. These projects will eliminate the wastewater issues that we've been having lately in The City", says Sementha Matthews, with The City.

GEFA or the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority will loan The City of Valdosta a total of $ 56 million for two new projects. $36.7 million of that will go towards the new Force Main Project.

Matthews says the city will not collect the $36.7 million loan all at once, but rather will draw out money as needed for the projects as they begin.

According to The City, the new Force Main Project will replace the gravity system currently installed that has been having issues with leaks and over flows. The new system will force the sewage through six miles of new pipe to the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

"Mayor and Council also approved the funds for emergency repairs that were done at Dukes Bay Canal last month", Matthews also says.

The City is already accepting bids for these projects and will do other repairs as needed in the mean time.

The City says the force main projects should be completed by summer of 2016 and the new wastewater treatment plan will be completed by August of 2017.

Updated By: Winnie Wright
Updated: April 8, 2014, 4:30pm

Valdosta, GA - With nearly four inches of rain falling in South Georgia overnight, many in Valdosta are wondering how the sewage system held up during the storm.

The City of Valdosta says they cleaned out storm pipes and lowered water levels at the millpond to prepare for the storm. But all that rain resulted in completely saturated soils and abnormally high ground water tables, which caused manhole overflows in several areas of the city.

"Fortunately with the amount of rain that we had yesterday, We had no spills or permit violations at either one of the City's wastewater treatment plants. However, we did have some manhole overflows. We had six of them that occurred in the City yesterday, however three of them have stopped and we are very hopeful that the other three will be stopped very soon", says Sementha Matthews, with The City of Valdosta.

Matthews also says the sewage entered state waterways and has been reported to the Environmental Protection Division. According to Matthews, The City currently has several projects in the works to combat these issues.

Press Release: The City of Valdosta
April 8, 2014

City Reports No Spills or Permit Violations at Plants, Some Local Manhole Overflows

The Valdosta area received almost four inches of rain from 3 p.m. on April 7 through 6 a.m. on April 8, resulting in completely saturated soils and causing abnormally high ground water tables. The city’s wastewater treatment plants remained in compliance and effectively processed the excess flows at the facilities. However, ongoing inflow and infiltration of stormwater into the wastewater collection system due to the saturated soils and high ground water table caused manhole overflows in several areas of the city, on April 7.

As of 8 a.m. on April 8, five of the six overflows were still ongoing, and below are the estimates calculated for each. These major spills entered the waters of the state and have been reported to the Environmental Protection Division:

· A manhole in the 600 block of Scott Drive overflowed, and the estimate of the overflow into Sugar Creek is 84,000 gallons. Current status: still overflowing.
· A manhole on Remer Lane overflowed into Sugar Creek and overflowed an estimated 126,000 gallons. Current status: still overflowing.
· A manhole in the 1200 block of Lake Drive overflowed an estimated 147,000 gallons in Two Mile Branch. Current status: still overflowing.
· Two manholes in the 1400 block of Gornto Road have overflowed 63,000 and 21,000 gallons respectively into Sugar Creek. Current status: still overflowing.
· A manhole in the 4100 block of Bemiss Road overflowed an estimated 63,000 gallons into Sugar Creek. Current status: Stopped on April 8, at 6 a.m.

Upstream and downstream sampling has begun in the above locations to collect and document bacteria levels in the various impacted waterways. Public notice signs have been posted downstream from all spill locations, and the public is advised to avoid any contact with these areas. A follow-up report will be issued once all spills have stopped.

The City of Valdosta has multiple projects already underway that, once complete, will identify and eliminate sources of stormwater inflow and infiltration that occur during heavy rain events and that are the cause of increased flows and wastewater surcharges in the system:

· The city is currently negotiating contract terms and prices to construct two new master lift stations, over six miles of force main, a new headworks structure for the future Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, and a 6 million gallon EQ Basin to handle stormwater inflow and infiltration into that facility at a cost of over $32 million.
· Smoke testing of entire sewer collection system has been underway since early this year and will continue over the next four years.
· The city plans to contract the rehabilitation of an over 1,200-foot section of an 8-inch sewer main downtown, discovered through the smoke testing process, that will eliminate stormwater inflow and infiltration in this area’s sewer main. This will be addressed and voted on at the April 10 City Council meeting.
· The city recently advertised for the rehabilitation or replacement of four additional sewer lift stations.
· Staff are preparing bid and advertisement documents for the rehabilitation or replacement of over 30 sewer manholes.

For more information, contact Environmental Technician Ed Strohl at (229) 412-0976 or at

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