-- Valdosta, Ga. -- March 5, 2013 --
The Withlacoochee Wastewater Plant was found to have seventeen major deficiences prior to its recent flooding. That's what the Georgia Environmental Protection Division said in October of last year.
Valdosta Utilities Director Henry Hicks says "to date all of the deficiences with the exception of one has been corrected."
Despite the corrections, millions of gallons of raw sewage leaked into the river last week. Highlighting that the problem goes deeper.
Hicks went on to say "2009 tought us that lesson when we were flooded that that plant needed to be moved. We were prohibited from doing any major work on the plant at that time."
The City didn't relocate the plant because FEMA would not financially support the move. But that hasn't stopped the Utilities Department from moving forward.
The Valdosta Utilities Director went on to say "we also went ahead and purchased seventy acres of property on a much higher elevation to relocate the plant at a later date."
It could take up to four years until the new plant is fully operational. For those that didn't like the current plant's location to begin with, the sooner the better.
Lowndes County resident Willie Hodgins said "you go out on a flood zone to build a building, it don't make a lick of sense. But anyway, yeah I think they need to move it."
Here's some tips for residents cleaning up property that came in contact with contaminated water. Mix one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water to clean the property. Wear rubber boots and waterproof gloves. As for the lime that's been scattered by the city for the smell. Spray it after one day with a sprinkler or hose.
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