Valdosta, Georgia- August 17, 2012
At approximately 1 a.m. on Aug. 16, 2012, the pumps in the Influent Pump Station of the Withlacoochee Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) stopped working.
An emergency bypass pump system was placed into service at 12:45 a.m., on Aug. 17; and as a result, the sewer spills are no longer occurring. Contractors are currently on site investigating the cause of the failure, which has not yet been determined, while also making necessary repairs to the damaged equipment.
Sewer overflows were recorded at the following locations within the sewer collection system:
· A manhole on Meadowbrook Drive, which overflowed into the Sugar Creek;
· A manhole near Exit 18, which overflowed into Withlacoochee; and,
· A manhole located on Meadowbrook Drive, which did not enter the waterways.
Based on the average daily flow for the Withlacoochee WPCP during current operating conditions, the combined amount of sewage spilled at these locations on Aug. 16 is estimated to be approximately five million gallons, constituting a major spill. Clean up and disinfection at affected spill locations are currently underway, and warning signs have been posted at these spill sites and at downstream public access points.
Following the FEMA denial of the City of Valdosta’s Hazard Mitigation Claim to relocate the Withlacoochee WPCP to a higher location outside the current 100-year flood plain, the Valdosta City Council approved a 100% design for a new pump station force main project at their Aug. 9 meeting. The relocation of the current WPCP will eliminate this problematic pump station, as well as future sewer overflows in the areas listed above.
Questions regarding this major spill may be directed to Environmental Manager John Waite at (229) 259-3592 or firstname.lastname@example.org or the city’s Public Information Office at (229) 259-3548.