Lowndes County Sewage Pump Station 2017-06-26

This morning the Lowndes County Commission discusses and tomorrow evening they vote on relocating some facilities at a sewage pump station, which appears to be the nearest lift station to the county’s 2013 sewage main brak near the Withlacoochee River.

5.g. Relocation of Gate, Utility Pole, and Light Pole at Val-Tech Pump Station, and Quit -Claim Deed to GDOT
Approval of transaction and quit- claim deed

Documents:Relocation of gate, utility pole, and light pole at Val-Tech pump station, and Quit -Claim Deed to GDOT.pdf

Across from Valdosta State Prison
Across from Valdosta State Prison

They bought a new pump for the Val-Tech lift station back on 26 October 2015. Now they’re moving a gate, utility pole, and light pole and the county is quit-claiming “land it does not own but on which it has 2 utility easements including for an existing pump station”. Oops. At least the county gets to keep the utility easements, which presumably includes the pump station, although the agenda sheet for this item does not say that. Incidentally, if that pump station is where I think it is, across Val-Tech Road from Valdosta State Prison (mapped above), the rest of the land it is on is owned by the City of Valdosta.

Others think it’s off of Shiloh Road up at I-75 Exit 22 (North Valdosta Road). Lowndes County does own a well site back of Big Oak Circle (Parcel ID – 0055 067) and 0.04 acres behind Wiregrass Tech for unknown purposes (Parcel ID 0055 012), but neither of those are next to GDOT land, so neither of them seem to be the location of this pump station.

You may wonder why don’t I just ask the county. I may, but typically they don’t like to reveal the whereabouts of wells or sewage facilities, because they’ve been told it’s national security.

But wait! Google Street View shows at the entrance road leading to that last tiny county parcel, at 4565 Shiloh Road, something that looks just like a lift station:

4565 Shiloh Road
4565 Shiloh Road

Zooming in, it’s hard to see what else that could be but a lift station.

Lift Station, Shiloh Road

And if that’s what it is, any part of it that is not on Shiloh Road is on the property of H. Young Tilman III et al., Parcel ID 0055 010:

Tillman Parcel ID 0055 010, 4565 Shiloh Road
H. Young Tilman III et al., Parcel ID 0055 010

But GDOT doesn’t own Shiloh Road, and it’s a little hard to believe exit reworking would go that far away from I-75, so this probably isn’t the lift station in question.

Why is this lift station important? Especially if it’s across from the state prison, it’s probably the closest one to the site of the 24 April 2013 Lowndes County sewage main break near the Withlacoochee River that Gainesville.com blamed on Valdosta even though both Valdosta and Lowndes County were clear it was actually a Lowndes County spill. The county confirmed that it was fixed by 5AM 26 April 2013. It turns out “fixed” means they dumped sewage into Valdosta’s main until they could actually fix it, we know because Valdosta issued a press release about that, and this:

Valdosta Daily Times (VDT) 26 April 2013, Lowndes County Notification of Sewer Spill, Lowndes County Commission,

VALDOSTA — At 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, Lowndes County was notified that a sewer main break west of Interstate 75, on the south side of Highway 133, previously believed to be a City of Valdosta sewer main, was actually a Lowndes County main. The flow was diverted by 4:00 p.m. into the City of Valdosta sewer system and by 5 a.m. on Friday, April 26, the force main repair was complete and back in service.

A force main broke, releasing approximately 1.32 million gallons over the course of approximately 40 hours, some of which reached the Withlacoochee River. Lowndes County notified the State EPD and reported the spill and sampling points were established to monitor the river.

That last clause is especially interesting: “sampling points were established to monitor the river”. Established by whom? County? City? GA-EPD? And are they still sampling?

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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2 thoughts on “Lowndes County Sewage Pump Station 2017-06-26

  1. Terre Tulsiak

    This may seem like too little too late but I wonder why there isn’t more attention to the very real issue of graywater for some of the sewage problems. The fact is, we use our drinking water indiscriminately, washing cars and driveways and for cooling water (usually), even flushing toilets, when we could be changing the infrastructure and attitudes through education. In Tampa our officials call it ‘toilet to tap’ but that is purposeful to turn citizens away. We could in fact repipe to direct shower water and laundry water for those processes that don’t require touching by humans.
    But when it’s all co-mingled, it all becomes sewage when it isn’t. Just a thought.

    1. jsq Post author

      I suggested to one city official that if their wastewater was clean enough to send into the river, why not send it to their drinking water plant? He didn’t seem to want to entertain that idea.
      The decision to mix stormwater and sewage was made long ago, probably more than a century ago, and would be I susspect very difficult to fix now. -jsq

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