Quitman, Georgia also spilled sewage during Tropical Storm Irma, next to Okapilco Creek, which runs into the Withlacoochee River, then the Suwannee River.
According to John Thursby with Quitman Utilities, the lift station at Quitman’s main wastewater treatment plant lost power, and its generator quit, causing its pond to run over for an hour or an hour and a half, due to rainwater. He says they process about 300,000 gallons a day. So the spill was somewhere between 20,000 and 70,000 gallons; he is recalculating it.
They are sampling now upstream and down, but haven’t gotten results back yet. He says it was probably not as much as a cow herd.
The various USGS, EPA, and GA-EPD maps, spreadsheets, and permits are vague about where this plant is located, but GreenCompanyDB.com locates QUITMAN (CITY OF) WPCP south of US 84 a bit west of Okapilco Creek, in what turns out to be Parcel ID – 095 0001B, 438 acres, owned by the City of Quitman.
LAS PERMIT REISSUANCE
City of Quitman, P.O. Box 208, Quitman, Georgia 31643, LAS Permit No. GAJ020022 for its Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) located on US 84, Quitman, Georgia 31643 (Brooks County). 1.3 MGD of treated wastewater is land applied to a dedicated site in Brooks County in the Suwannee River Basin.
That’s 1.3 million gallons per day maximum permitted.
So far that’s:
- Moultrie: Damon Harper today reports there were no spills in September. He retired from Tifton, and says Moultrie has had no spills since he’s been helping there for several months now.
- Tifton: spilled during Irma from its Golden Road lift station into Cow House Branch, which goes into the Little River.
Meanwhile, Jay Howell of GA-EPD’s Albany office says Morven in Brooks County had power issues with its drinking water supply.
- Valdosta: one Irma spill at its Cherry Creek lift station.
- Lowndes County: had several lift station spills during Irma and a bigger force main spill last Saturday. We’re awaiting the county’s response to an open records request for more detail about those Irma spills.
So far no reports of sewage spills in the Alapaha River watershed.
However, Jay Howell says several small cities had issues with power to their drinking supplies during Irma:
- Pitts, Wilcox Co.
- Seville, Wilcox Co.
- Enigma, Berrien Co.
The rest of the story
GA-EPD is divided into reports to its Albany office and its Atlanta office. I have a request in to the Atlanta office for all spills in September, which they say they will satisfy a few weeks into October. Most of the larger counties and cities report to Atlanta.
Meanwhile, Jay Howell of the GA-EPD Albany office says they got no reports of sewage spills in the Suwannee River Basin. He says most of our counties were on the western side of Irma, so did not get near the expected rainfall, so few spills.
On the east side of I-75 a couple of municipalities had some overflow issues, both in the Altamaha River Basin: Eastman in Dodge County, and McRae-Helena in Telfair County McRae-Helena, Telfair, Co. lost power and didn’t have enough generators GA-EPD contacted GA Rural Water, and some other sources and got them generators so they got power restored pretty quick.
So we’ll see what the Atlanta office says about the larger facilities in the Suwannee River Basin, as I keep calling about one a day.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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