By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
July 11, 2019
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- The City of Valdosta is making new investments to protect local waterways.
On Wednesday, the city hosted representatives from about a dozen North Florida counties. Last year the counties formed a task force, in order to better work together to stop ongoing sewage spills in Valdosta.
During the meeting, city officials announced plans to invest about $5 million in new investments to improve the system.
Included in fiscal year 2020 project plans, the city is looking to make infrastructure improvements near the Browns Canal and Two Mile Branch, including plans to replace about 6,000 feet of pipe.
Officials hope to utilize funds from the upcoming Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, up for a vote in Lowndes County in November.
Valdosta officials said it's important for these communities to be aware of the investments, and the priority the city is making to end sewage spills and overflows.
"It's a yacht that we're turning, not a sports car, but I think we're turning the yacht as quickly as yachts can be turned," said Utilities Director Darryl Muse.
City crews expect to start work on an additional retention storage pond near the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment plant in the next few weeks.
Officials said the North Florida counties are also weighing options to promote the rivers more through tourism advertisements and promotions, in order to spur more tourism dollars to local communities.
The task force expects to meet every three months.