And also a Valdosta WWTP spill 2017-01-24

After I posted about the three manhole spills, I discovered Valdosta also announced a spill at the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).

I just called Scott Fowler at Valdosta Utilities, and he explained:

The leak is from the jet mix pipe that comes back from the influence and pushes back to the EQ [Equalization Tank]. When they put the pipe in with its industrial strength rubber seal, they pressure tested it, and it held. But the seal blew this weekend. They have cameras there to watch it.

Fowler said they also going to have a camera at Wainwright Drive, where one of the other three spills, the ones from manhole covers, happened.

I pointed out to Fowler that the Valdosta PR about the WWTP spill says they detected it Sunday January 22nd, yet it wasn’t published on the city’s website until Tuesday January 24th after 6PM. He said that’s due to internal review at the city (he listed the steps). And he promised to put WWALS on the same immediate list for early information that goes to GA-EPD, SRWMD, etc. So next time I should know before it appears on the SRWMD website.

I am fully aware that nobody is going to be completely satisfied until there are no more spills ever from Valdosta. However, I would like to point out once again that this is still nothing like what happened a year ago, and much less like what happened in 2013 and 2009 when the old WWTP was underwater. Valdosta has spent upwards of $60 million to build an entirely new WWTP and a force main, and they’re busily working to fix any further problems as they occur.

And now maybe I can tell you about what they’re doing before you hear about it through a delayed press release.

Valdosta PR, Tuesday, January 24, 2017 6:08:00 PM, Withlacoochee Plant Suffers Construction Issue: Repairs to be made soon under warranty,

In 2016, Garney Construction, on behalf of the City of Valdosta, finished construction of the city’s new Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant. As part of these improvements, a six-million gallon equalization basin was constructed to temporarily house excess wastewater in times of heavy rain and upstream flow, such as the weather event that occurred this past weekend. On Jan. 22, at approximately 10:40 p.m., the city discovered a wastewater spill at the plant located in and around the equalization basin.

The Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant is under warranty and appropriate repairs will be made as soon as practically possible.

The spill, consisting of a combination of wastewater and stormwater, is currently flowing at an estimated 200 gallons per minute, and it is expected to be stopped by end of day. All appropriate regulatory and public health agencies have been notified.

The leak in the equalization basin is currently being investigated by the City and the contractor, who have been on scene since early morning on Jan. 23. It is believed at this time, that the leak was caused by seals, seams or joints at or near the bottom of the equalization basin, which cannot be repaired until the water level is below the leak.

Individuals with questions should contact Superintendent John Waite at 229-259-3592 or by email at

Posted by Sementha Mathews Tuesday, January 24, 2017 6:08:00 PM

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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4 thoughts on “And also a Valdosta WWTP spill 2017-01-24

  1. Pingback: Small Valdosta sewer spills after big rains 2017-01-23 | WWALS Watershed Coalition (Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®)

  2. Tim Carroll

    As you know, we are doing everything humanly possible to find and repair ALL of the stormwater-waste water issues. We have spent almost all of the SPLOST funds on these projects that we have budgeted for SPLOST VII. We currently have the final phase of man-hole repair/replacements up for bid. But there is still more work to be done. The biggest issue continues to be funding. But I am proud to say we have met or in many cases exceeded our targets agreed to with EPA. As you point out – the City is getting closer and closer. Our goal is to have zero spills.

    1. jsq Post author

      Could you please call me, Tim. You don’t understand how pissed people are that the city knew about millions of gallons spilling from WWTP and DIDN’T TELL THE PUBLIC FOR TWO DAYS! -jsq

  3. Terre Tulsiak

    Hey they have some dewatering rigs down in Florida, doing FINE work! Should we send them up? (and you can KEEP them)

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