By Greg Gullberg
March 03, 2013
Valdosta, GA - There's a raw sewage spill in a Valdosta neighborhood and impacted residents say that just stinks.
After days of torrential rain, the same rain that caused the rivers to flood, the sewage pump has been overwhelmed in the Meadow Brook Subdivison just off Gornto Road.
"You know how bad it smells in a bathroom when someone goes in and uses a public restroom. Multiple that ten times," said Chad Harrison, a local resident.
The whole area behind their houses is just covered in raw sewage. Your boots sink down into it with every step. We're talking everything from human waste, to toilet paper, to hygiene products and a whole other list of things that are just too graphic to mention.
"Probably about 12 to 14 inches of raw sewage," said Harrison. "It's just everywhere. It's all up and down the creek. It's all behind everybody's houses."
And they say the sewage problem is nothing new. Several residents tell us this happens every time there's significant rainfall in the area. And the sewage has backed up more than 15 times in the past four years.
But this time is worse, a lot worse, because the Waste Water Treatment Plant was shut down for several days and only just came back online Sunday afternoon. Now they're looking to city leaders for answers.
"When's the next time my kid's going to be able to go sit out in the yard and play? I've got four kids and I would like to know what to do, what my next move is, when's the city going to come around and tell me what I need to do to treat my yard?"
Neighbors tell us they've been petitioning the city for a solution for some time now. They say city leaders have included them in meetings, but so far there have been no changes.
By Greg Gullberg
Feb. 28, 2013
Valdosta, GA - Residents are fighting back the flood water from breaching their homes in a Valdosta subdivision called Meadow Brook.
Entire yards are under water. We found Jason Parker wading through waist deep water in his own backyard.
"Obviously I'd rather not have water in my house. This is sewage water I'm standing in right now. So we're having flooding and sewage spills all at the same time. It's just a mess," Parker said.
Parker is upset because this same thing happened in 2009 and he asks why city leaders haven't done anything about it.
"We would like to see our property remain dry and not flood every four years. I know it's a big problem and not an easy fix but it needs to be addressed."
All the water is flowing in from the swelled up Withlacoochee River right into these people's yards. It's more than six feet down at its deepest point of the residential area. Now the challenge becomes keeping it out of people's homes.
Jason Parker's wife Sarah showed us around their house. They're watching the water creep up the wall and hoping it doesn't come in.
Sandbags are their last and only line of defense. That's why they're clearing everthing out of the house.
"We pray that it goes back down and that the city will fix this problem so we don't have to go through this again," Sarah Parker said.
The Redcross is staged out in the neighborhood offering food, water and cleanup kits. But it's going to take a lot more than that to clean up this mess.
Valdosta Mayor John Gayle, came out personally to show his support. He tells us he's pushing a plan for more reservoirs in Tifton to relieve excess water before it finds its way south.