Updated By: Winnie Wright
February 17, 2015 6:00 pm
Valdosta, GA - Monday, around 375 gallons of sewage spilled out of a manhole at Park Chase Apartments and in to a nearby waterway. The City of Valdosta says a clogged sewage line caused the spill.
Henry Hicks, the City of Valdosta Utilities Directors says, "It was a combination of grease and rags that clogged the system and caused the overflow."
This is not the City's first sewage overflow, but this time they say a private business is to blame. Hicks says the City has an ordinance in place to discourage restaurants from pouring grease down their drains. However, regulating private residences is much more difficult.
Hick adds, "What we are doing is we are checking all of our records so we are getting everything together, sending a notice of violation. We will give them a 15 day period to respond. That's why we've got to find out who the owners are. It may be multiple owners. I don't know. But they've got to respond with a remedial action plan on how they're going to prevent that from happening again."
In this case, it's up to the apartment complex management to keep their sewage lines cleared by educating residents, or by hiring a private company to clean the lines, Hicks says.
We reached out to Park Chase about their action plan to move forward, but the leasing office was locked.
Signs are posted to discourage residents from coming in contact with the affected area. The City adds that the public should avoid contact with the tributary at Dukes Bay Canal.
News Release: City of Valdosta
VALDOSTA, Ga. -- On Feb. 16, at approximately 11 a.m., City of Valdosta crews responded to a customer complaint in the area of Old Statenville Road and Arlington Avenue. Upon arrival, the city crews noticed the manhole at the 1100 block of Old Statenville Road was overflowing. The city estimates that 375 gallons of wastewater flowed into a tributary to Dukes Bay Canal.
The cause of the sewer spill was due to a buildup of rags and grease from a poorly maintained private sewer system discharging into a City of Valdosta sewer main. This is the second instance in the last two years in which a sewer spill at this location was caused by the improper maintenance of this internal private sewer system. As a result, the City of Valdosta Utilities Department will issue the property owner(s) a formal Notice of Violation of the city’s Sewer Use Ordinance. Should another spill occur at this location, the Utilities Department will initiate court proceedings against the property owner(s) as outlined under the Sewer Use Ordinance Enforcement and Penalties Sections.
The city crews cleaned the area, recovered wastewater, and applied lime to disinfect the affected areas. Public notification signs have been placed at and downstream of the spill site. The public is advised to avoid contact with tributary of Dukes Bay Canal. The Environmental Protection Division and local Health Department have been notified of the spill.
For more information, contact Environmental Manager John Waite at (229) 259-3592 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.valdostacity.com/utilities.