Tag Archives: force main

Suwannee Riverkeeper asks Georgia EPD to require Valdosta to do better about its record sewage spill 2019-12-17

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, December 19, 2019 — Compelled by the severity of Valdosta’s record raw sewage spill and the expenses and stigma incurred nearby and downstream, Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS Watershed Coalition has sent a letter requesting ten enforcment actions to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD). WWALS member Deanna Mericle of Hamilton County, Florida, summed it up: “As a person living downstream on the Withlacoochee River in Florida, I feel shat upon by Valdosta over and over. I cannot drink the water from my well. I worry about the health of the river itself and the animals that live in it and drink from it. We in Florida were patient while Valdosta was improving their wastewater plant, which apparently was not adequate since we still have spills when it rains heavily. But this time it was not a rain event. It was gross negligence. I am out of patience. I believe it is time for legal action.”

The Suwannee Riverkeeper letter notes GA-EPD already has a legal action against Valdosta, a Consent Order. WWALS asks GA-EPD to use its enforcement power to require notification, water quality testing, education, and plans and procedures not only for preventing such spills but also for tracking them as they travel down our creeks and rivers and for remediation of effects on wells and reputation.

[2019-12-17--WWALS-GA-EPD-Valdosta-sewage-0001]
2019-12-17–WWALS-GA-EPD-Valdosta-sewage-0001

“Valdosta says it does what GA-EPD tells it to do, so we’re asking GA-EPD to tell them,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Today we’re forwarding the letter to Continue reading

Posted: Valdosta Country Club Sewage Spill, six days afterwards 2019-08-27

The GA-EPD person who enters the data was on vacation, but eventually the Valdosta Country Club sewage spill appeared in GA-EPD’s online reports, on August 27, 2019, with this:

“Note: Initial 24-hour spill notification received by EPD 8/21, via phone. Entered 8/26 due to employee vacation.”

As I noted to GA-EPD, this is a good example of a case where an automated email alert could have let them and us all know when it appeared. Alabama has been doing that for two years now, and Florida for almost as long.

3353 Plantation Drive is not the spill location, Google Map
Red marker: 3353 Plantation Drive. Yellow diamond sign: actual spill location.

That entry included a more precise address than Valdosta had previously reported: 3353 Plantation Drive. Unfortunately, that address is still incorrect. As I have pointed out to GA-EPD, the spill was Continue reading

Valdosta sewage sign, golf course, Valdosta Country Club, Stillhouse Branch 2019-08-23

Friday we found the warning sign on the Valdosta Country Club green for the Wednesday force main sewage spill, thanks to Valdosta Utilities Environmental Manager Scott Fowler, who told me where it was. Sara Jay has tested downstream for WWALS, and maybe we can get the Valdosta water quality testing data, as well. Although there is some ambiguity as to which way downstream is.

[Sewage Spill]
Sewage Spill

“It stinks,” said a man on a golf cart on the green, as I was taking pictures. Continue reading

Naylor Boat Ramp, Water Trails, and Paddle Georgia: WWALS to Lowndes County Commission 2019-05-13

Thanks and invitations from WWALS to the Lowndes County Commission, delivered in a letter via email and on paper Monday morning and in Citizens Wishing To Be Heard Tuesday evening.

WWALS to Lowndes County Commission 2019-05-14

I thanked

I invited the Commissioners to pass Water Trail resolutions (see below).

And I invited them to Paddle Georgia and the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

Letter

Continue reading

Gornto Road, Valdosta, access to Withlacoochee River 2018-01-24

It could use some markers to keep people on it and off private property, and maybe some loaner kayak wheels, but there is public access to the Withlacoochee River off of Gornto Road in Valdosta.

Tea-colored water, 16:22:37,, Withlacoochee River
Tea-colored water, 16:22:37,, Withlacoochee River 30.8623900, -83.3224600

And a very nice blackwater river it is. Continue reading

Lowndes County Force Main Spill 2017-09-23

Lowndes County (not Valdosta) spilled sewage Saturday that may have reached the Withlacoochee River. The county also had “several” lift station spills during Tropical Storm Irma.

Google Map, Val Tech Road
Google map, Val Tech Road.

After tonight’s Lowndes County Commission Regular Session, I asked Utilities Director Steve Stalvey whether the county had spilled any sewage this month. He said yes, Saturday (September 23, 2017), about 25,000 gallons from the force main on Val Tech Road. He said it was due to Continue reading

One Mile Branch Cleanup, Valdosta, GA 2017-11-11

Update 2017-10-29: Meet at VSU CORE.

A first for WWALS: an urban cleanup! One Mile Branch runs right through the heart of the biggest city in the Suwannee River Basin (Valdosta) and through the biggest educational institution in the Basin (Valdosta State University). It has some trash, and you can help WWALS come get it!

When: 10AM, Saturday, November 11, 2017

Where: One Mile Branch, through the heart of Valdosta and VSU.

Meet: VSU CORE, 1300 Sustella Ave., Valdosta, GA 31698
(This is a WWALS event; we’re just meeting in CORE’s parking lot.)

Event: facebook, meetup.

Map: Brookdale Drive and VSU parking lot
Map: Brookdale Drive and VSU parking lot

Hosts: Scotti Jay and Dan Phillips

Contact: Continue reading

Ribbon Cutting, new WWTP and Force Main 2016-07-12

Finally ready for prime time and a ribbon cutting: the new, uphill, out-of-the-floodplain, long-awaited Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) and Force Main, New WWTP site near Withlacoochee River which have not overflowed or otherwise caused sewage spills in the recent rains, so maybe Valdosta’s chronic problem smelt downstream all the way to the Gulf is perhaps finally fixed. Congratulations, Valdosta!

When: 8AM Tuesday July 12th 2016

Where: At the new WWTP on Wetherington Lane, north off US 84, west of I-75 exit 16

Invitations: Paper invitations were mailed last week, including to counties and health departments downstream in Florida, according to Sementha Mathews. If you didn’t get one, contact her, and she says the event is in any case open to the public.

Update 2016-05-30: Sementha Mathews says the paper invitations were mailed Tuesday (day before yesterday), so they should arrive by the end of the week. Arrived.

Contact: Sementha Mathews Continue reading

Valdosta force main and new WWTP are online and working

The recent rains caused little wastewater overflow, according to Valdosta City Council Tim Carroll, who forwarded cryptic Valdosta press release yesterday and then explained on the telephone what it meant: Map the two biggest pieces of Valdosta’s wastewater and sewer fixes are operational already.

The press release referred to “the new force main” as if it were already in operation, yet nothing on Valdosta’s website says it is. So I called Tim Carroll and he confirmed that yes, the force main is online. Not only that, but 5 million gallons less water than usual for such rains entered the new Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).

Wait, does that mean the new, uphill, out-of-the-floodplain WWTP is also online? Yes, confirmed Carroll. And the less inflow was due to less INI.

What’s INI, I asked, ignorantly? Continue reading

Valdosta wastewater improvements ribbon cutting being scheduled for May

Valdosta seems serious about finally opening its new force main and uphill Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant: they’re scheduling a ribbon cutting for May, a year ahead of the original schedule. According to both City Council Tim Carroll and Engineering Assistant Director Emily Davenport, the EPA has already pressure-tested the relevant lines and the plant, and approved them.

People downstream are rightly concerned at the many years they’ve endured wastewater from Valdosta. And recent schedule slips haven’t helped their perceptions, which is why actually holding Continue reading