City Council Tim Carroll forwarded me the appended press release yesterday. I assumed it would be on Valdosta’s News page, but it is not.
Also, despite assurances back in January that Continue reading
Valdosta had one spill at a lift station that lost power during Tropical Storm Irma, said David Frost, Interim Utilities Director, City of Valdosta, when I called him just now. I asked him if there were any others, and he said there was just that one.
He said it was a small spill. I asked how small. He said Continue reading
Update 2017-09-12: But one small lift station spill.
William “Ricky” Cornelius, Plant Superintendent, Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), said when I called him this morning there were no spills from WWTP nor from Valdosta’s Mud Creek Treatment Plant (MCWTP).
“I don’t think Mud Creek even lost power. We were on generator power here at the Withlacoochee plant, and our people had to work extra hours, but they were on top of it. We were prepared and had no spills.”
I have left a message at Valdosta Utilities about any manhole cover leaks. We shall see about those, and about other cities and counties and private wastewater facilities up and down the Suwannee River Basin.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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Don’t spill, Valdosta. Don’t leak, Sabal Trail. Hurricane Irma is bad enough already.
Valdosta announced its WWTP would be “manned around the clock”, so I called down there before 8AM this Saturday morning, and somebody did answer immediately. I told him as Suwannee Riverkeeper I was concerned for people downstream who don’t want any spills during the upcoming rains, so I was glad to see it was true they were there. I asked him if they had backup generators. He said yes. Of course, that doesn’t handle every manhole cover. We shall see. Don’t spill, Valdosta! (Or Lowndes County, or Tifton, or anybody else.)
Currently expecting somewhere between 4 and 10 inches of rain on Valdosta. Map from National Hurricane Center, 2017-09-09 8AM.
The good news: no wastewater spills from Valdosta since January. And Valdosta has a new Utilities Director: Darryl Muse, formerly of Ocala, Marion County, Florida. While at Ocala, Muse handled converting septic tanks to city sewer and a wastewater plant upgrade, both to protect springs. Maybe he will be more sympathetic to people downstream in Florida than certain officials still with the City of Valdosta.
Having completed the installation of the new Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant and the the force main at the Y on Gornto, Continue reading
Valdosta indeed didn’t have the worst water treatment violations in Lowndes County, Georgia, but it was worse than any nearby city in Georgia or Florida (and Lowndes County was worse than any nearby county). Once again, the Valdosta Daily Times said (twice) that Valdosta “is now in full compliance”. This is about drinking water treatment; sewage is another story. But in both cases, if Valdosta doesn’t want the local newspaper to treat the city as the villain of the piece, maybe it should stop reacting like one.
The above screenshot from Threats on Tap: Widespread Violations Highlight Need for Investment in Water Infrastructure and Protections shows Georgia has been pretty bad, but Florida was much worse.
Let’s look at the area around Valdosta. Continue reading
Here is a letter from Florida Senator Bill Nelson to the EPA about the Valdosta wastewater situation, and the EPA’s response, which was underwhelming.
A suggestion: say what it is you’d like the EPA, GA-EPD, FDEP, etc. to actually do. And what I’d suggest is get them all to fund and implement regular, frequent, closely spaced, water quality monitoring along all the rivers in the Suwannee River Basin. That way we’d know where pollution is coming from, we’d be able to calibrate what cities including Valdosta say from their own monitoring, and we’d have baselines to compare to.Continue reading