Valdosta programs aim to decrease chances of sewage spills after heavy rain

City crews work to clean sewers.
City crews work to clean sewers.(WALB)
Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 6:01 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Rain from Tropical Storm Elsa led to sewage spills at several manholes in Valdosta and the city is working on improvement efforts to the sewer system to help prevent issues in the future.

City leaders said it’s hard to control the issue when there’s quick and heavy rainfall.

“So, right now we put out a cleanouts program in effect and what we do is go out, have crews go and check out all cleanouts. That’s a big source of ‘I & I’ (inflow and infiltration) and people don’t realize it,” said Sheldon Irvin, the Central Line superintendent.

The city said preventing sewage spills continues to be a top priority.

Cleanouts can be found anywhere, including private property. Irvin said they serve as an access point to underground sewers. Without a cap, rainwater, debris and even small animals can get into the sewer system and can lead to backups in your home or city sewer lines.

Cleanouts must have caps on.
Cleanouts must have caps on.(WALB)

With the Cap the Cleanout program, utility crews go around and check if any are missing or damaged.

The caps will be replaced.

“We also have implemented a creek crossing. We have crews that go out and check your manholes that are crossing creeks, check the line and make sure, try to tighten up the system and make sure the system is closed,” explained Irvin.

The utility department has three trucks operating daily that go through the entire city and clean out sewers.

Valdosta has a new device that will help monitor water flow in the sewer system.
Valdosta has a new device that will help monitor water flow in the sewer system.(WALB)

In addition, the department also has an ongoing River Sampling Program that tests waters before, during and after major rain events.

They continue to install generators at lift stations to ensure constant operation during power failures.

To help avoid spills in future storm events, you’re encouraged to make sure your cleanouts have a cap.

If it’s damaged or missing, notify the city.

Any issue can also be reported on the Valdosta Click n Fix app.

The utility department said everything that happened last week was identified and cleaned up.

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