Tag Archives: Henry Hicks

The rest of the Valdosta wastewater story at SRWMD 2019-02-12

Valdosta Utilities naturally painted as rosy a picture as possible, and newspapers have limited space, so here is the rest of the story about Valdosta wastewater at the Suwannee River Water Management District board meeting last Tuesday. SRWMD Chair Virginia H. Johns understands the stigma, and Board Member Virginia Sanchez spelled it out:

SRWMD Chair Virginia H. Johns

“You don’t want to swim in a little sewage versus a lot of sewage either. Both of them are bad. A spill is bad.”

Featured in this post, drawing from the WWALS videos of all the relevant speakers, are Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse, who talked about the catch basin Valdosta is digging, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, who filled in many pieces omitted by Valdosta and FDEP, and Hamilton County resident Jim McBrayer, who got the attention of the SRWMD board by saying there was E. coli in his well and SRWMD should know where it came from, plus especially the very participatory SRWMD board, who made it pretty clear to FDEP they wanted data by their next meeting, and they wanted Valdosta to move along in fixing their problems in less than a hundred years.

Let’s not forget Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, who pointed out something Valdosta doesn’t want to hear: it’s the stigma of sewage spills that is the big problem they are causing. For sure we need to find out what the specific health and other effects are of Valdosta sewage and other contamination on river water and nearby wells. But the stigma of Valdosta sewage goes far beyond that.

Darryl Muse, Utilities Director, Valdosta

In the WWALS video, Continue reading

Wastewater at Valdosta City Council, Winter 2018-2019

While the Rivers Task Force of the dozen downstream Florida counties is looking for something to do to help, Valdosta clearly hasn’t yet done enough to stop its sewage spills, but they are doing more. Here’s some context that may indicate what might help. Spoiler: water quality monitoring, funding for further fixes, and enforcement if necessary. Unless raw sewage spills really are what Valdosta wants to be known for in Tallahassee and Atlanta.

Totals, Table
See Valdosta December 2018 sewage and Hamilton County, FL legislative delegation 2019-01-16″>

Also: come on up and talk to the Valdosta City Council. Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson did, and it got their attention. They keep hearing from me for years now, and it helps to see somebody directly affected downstream come up and speak.

This post is mostly about two Valdosta City Council meetings, that included much discussion of the recent Valdosta wastewater spills, on on Continue reading

Valdosta has a new Utilities Director

The good news: no wastewater spills from Valdosta since January. W-Darryl-Muse 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

Videos, Valdosta Wastewater and Flood Prevention 2016-10-27

The crowd was very attentive to every word about wastewater and flood prevention, with officials from the City of Valdosta presenting in the first of a new quarterly WWALS speaker series. If you didn’t come, you can see and hear in these videos Henry Hicks about wastewater, Emily Davenport about flood prevention, Tim Carroll about solar power, and Sementha Mathews about how to get more information from Valdosta. WWALS Treasurer and acting Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman opened and closed the meeting.

Each talk had many small but important stories, so we will probably blog more posts about those. Meanwhile, here are the videos: see for yourself! Continue reading

Valdosta wastewater and flood prevention public meeting by WWALS 2016-10-27

New WWTP, 30.8327808, -83.3283234 Update 2016-10-23: Seen from the air.

Update 2016-10-19: PDF flyer.

Come hear about the $60 million in wastewater fixes Valdosta just finished, what remains to be done, and what they’re doing about flood prevention for the entire Suwannee River Basin in Georgia and Florida. You can ask questions in this first of a new WWALS Quarterly Speaker Series, and the people organizing this work will be there to answer:

  • Henry Hicks, Utilities Director, about wastewater
  • Emily Davenport, Assistant Director of Engineering, about flooding, and
  • Tim Carroll, Valdosta City Council, about solar power for utilities.

When: 6PM Thursday October 27th

Where: Valdosta City Hall Annex
Multipurpose Room
300 N Lee St.
Valdosta, GA 31601 Continue reading

Pictures, Ribbon Cutting, Withlacoochee Water Pollution Control Plant 2016-07-12

The crowd was large, the speeches were brief, the food was good, and the tour later was, ah, redolant, but the new plant works better than the old, and, best of all, it’s out of the flood plain.

Sementha Mathews directs them all

Here are a few pictures of this morning’s ribbon cutting for what was billed as the new Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) and Force Main, but they seem to have actually named the Withlacoochee Water Pollution Control Plant (WWPCP). The combination of WWPCP and Force Main so far has prevented any new wastewater spills, and long may it do so.

WWALS Videos will follow, including from a WWPCP tour by the plant operator.

Meanwhile, congratulations Continue reading

Valdosta wastewater fixes schedule update

Thanks, Emily and Henry, and to the City of Valdosta for all your efforts. But could somebody please update the schedule on Valdosta’s website?

Subject: COV Sanitary Sewer System Improvement Update

Good afternoon Chris,

Force-Main-Project-Map--August-2015-001 Thank you for reaching out to me today for an update on the sewer improvements that the City has underway. We have continued to make substantial progress since our meeting back in March that you attended. As discussed then, the city has two major projects underway. One is a $36 million dollar Force Main project and the other is a $23 million dollar Plant Relocation. As of today, the Force Main project is 5 months ahead of the July 2016 schedule and the Plant Relocation is 16 months ahead of schedule. Both projects are tracking a timeline to be complete and online around February 2016. Please note that we have not had any overflow or major permit violations at the wastewater treatment plant since making the emergency repairs in February 2014.

Below is a quick summary of an update I recently received in reference to the sewer manhole overflows: Continue reading