What Valdosta is doing about its wastewater problem

Update 2016-04-05: Actually, force main and new WWTP on line by May.

Frances Adams asked:

I just want to know when will this be fixed, I can’t even drink my water for it having ecoli in it. Someone needs to do something now!!!

The two biggest pieces are scheduled to be finished this summer and next summer: the force main project in July 2016, and the new Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant relocated uphill by August 2017. Valdosta is spending upwards of $300 million to fix the problem.

As I point out every time I post about new spills, there are still open questions and, as your Waterkeeper® Affiliate for the upper Suwannee River and the Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers, WWALS Watershed Coalition will keep after Valdosta until we get the answers. See also the slides and videos from the meeting Valdosta held for us a year ago about this.

Here’s what Valdosta’s Sewer System Improvements web page says today:

The City of Valdosta Utilities Department has been working diligently on a number of wastewater improvements.

Since 1992, the city has received $179 million in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds and invested in capital improvement projects (CIP). During the same timeframe, the city has expended $167 million for water/wastewater projects from SPLOST proceeds, system revenues, bonds, and Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) loans.

On November 5, 2013, the SPLOST VII was approved by voters and is expected to generate about $150 million, of which Valdosta will receive an estimated $80 million. Nearly 70 percent of the funding will be dedicated to wastewater projects, which is $55.4 million. Over the next 4 years, projects that will be funded by SPLOST, system revenues, GEFA loans, etc. include:

Force Main Project

  • 2 master pump stations
  • 2 minor pump stations
  • Over 6 miles of force main
  • New headworks structure
  • 6 million gallon per day (MGD) flow equalization (EQ) basin
  • Project Cost: $36 million – Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) Loan
  • Completion Date: July 2016
  • Contract Awarded to Garney Construction on April 24, 2014

New Plant / Relocation Project

          Map1,   Map 2

  • Relocation of the remainder of the old plant to the new site
  • Project Cost: $20+ million – SPLOST VII
  • Completion Date: August 2017
  • Contract Awarded to Parsons – June 19, 2014

Smoke Testing Project

  • Constantine Engineering began work in January 2014
  • Test 300 miles of sewer lines
  • Project Cost: $700,000
  • Completion Date: December 2018

Annual Sewer Manhole Replacement / Rehabilitation Program

  • Minimum 30 manholes each year
  • Project Cost: $2,250,000
  • Completion Date: December 2018

Pump Station Replacement / Rehabilitation Program

  • Project Cost: $5,000,000
  • Completion Date: December 2018

Pump Station Emergency Portable Generators

  • 1 generator each year over the next 4 years
  • Project Cost: $250,000
  • Completion Date: December 2018

In addition to the projects listed above, the city spends on average $4 – 5 million for regular repairs, maintenance, etc. throughout the system annually. The city has also completed the following short-term projects for a total of $2,500,000 to assist with the overall function of the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) until all the projects can be completed:

  • Mobile belt filter pressTertiary Filter
  • New bar screens
  • New Return Activated Sludge (RAS) piping
  • Air piping
  • Two new blowers
  • Converted old primary clarifiers to storage basins

Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP)

  • Contract Awarded to Parsons December 2014
  • Project Cost: $200,000
  • Update the existing SewerGEMS Hydraulic Model of the Withlacoochee sewershed
  • Develop the base case and the hydraulic model for use as a predictive tool to identify potential sewer overflow locations based on the existing model data.
  • Based on modeling, identify potential I&I locations and prioritize I&I elimination through system rehabilitation.
  • Completion Date: August 2015

That Valdosta web page continues with links to copious documentation: slides, maps, reports, etc.


You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

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  1. Pingback: Details on Valdosta overflows last weekend 2016-04-04 | WWALS Watershed Coalition

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