Top of the Alapaha River Basin: Rochelle, GA, spilled 2019-01-10

First time we’ve seen this: 300 gallons of raw sewage spilled from Rochelle, Georgia, in Wilcox County, at the top of the Alapaha River Basin.

Spill, Rochelle, GA

Rochelle is nestled between Reynolds Creek on the west, which flows into Mill Creek after it comes across south of town. Mill Creek joins the Alapaha River some miles south.

Map, Rochelle, GA

Floridians probably don’t care, because there’s no way 300 gallons of raw sewage will travel a hundred river miles south to the state line before being diluted beyond detection.

Residents of Rochelle probably do, though. RESIDENTS GET JUSTICE FROM CITY OF ROCHELLE, GEORGIA; Victory: City agrees to fix sewer system that dumps into yards, homes, EarthJustice, 8 August 2014.

A group of citizens who have endured raw sewage bubbling up into their homes and yards from city pipes for decades reached a settlement this week with their city government in Rochelle, Ga. The old, leaky city sewer pipes will be replaced.

Maybe they thought everything was fixed, but apparently not.

It’s difficult to tell where the spill occurred from the description, “Manhole near lift station.” Rochelle has at least two pump stations, according to the The Joint Wilcox County Comprehensive Plan Wilcox County, Abbeville, Pineview, Pitts, and Rochelle 2025 (July, 2005):

The City of Rochelle has two oxidation ponds. A 10-acre pond is located off of U.S. 280 on Industrial Drive, and another three-acre pond is located on Seventh Avenue. The ponds utilize the traditional extended sludge treatment process and have a treatment capacity in average daily flow (ADF) of 1,000,000 gallons per day. In 2004, the City of Rochelle had an average daily flow of 370,000 gallons per day. The City’s sewer collection system consists of approximately 25 miles of sewer lines with six to 12 inch pipes and two lift stations that lift wastewater from lower areas to gravity lines running to the oxidation ponds. Information on the lift stations is included in Table CF-10.

Pump Stations
City of Rochelle
1Ginhouse Street1987***GPM
2Dykes Avenue1987***GPM

Those aren’t very specific locations, either. Maybe we’ll see an update later.

Meanwhile, there were plenty of new spills reported, from Atlanta, Rom, Dublin, Augusta, Sandy Springs, Marietta, and the winner: Lithonia, for 233,540 gallons of raw sewage on January 3rd and 268,961 gallons on December 28th for 502,501 gallons total. That’s up in Valdosta range!

2019-01-11–GA-EPD-Sewage-Spills-Report.diff by WWALS Watershed Coalition; see
Posting Date[2019-01-10] WWALS logo Suwannee Riverkeeper logo You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!
Posting Date[2019-01-11]
2019-01-10Rochelle, City ofWilcoxRochelleManhole near lift station300Raw SewageCollection System
2019-01-09Atlanta, City of (R.M. Clayton, Utoy Creek, and South River WRCs)FultonAtlanta61 Palisades Rd. NE – Atlanta462Raw SewageGA0039012Collection SystemGreasePeachtree Creek
2019-01-08Rome, City of (Rome WRF)FloydBack side of Wolf Park 106 Park Avenue in Lindale500Raw SewageGA0024112WWTPRootsCoosaBooze Creek
2019-01-04Dublin, City of (Dublin WPCP)LaurensDublin502 Church St – Dublin1,000Raw SewageGA0025569Collection SystemWet weatherFerry Branch/Oconee River
2019-01-03Augusta, City of (J.B. Messerly WPCP)RichmondAugusta1899 Virginia Avenue – Augusta2,000Raw SewageGA0037621Collection SystemGreaseRocky Creek
2019-01-03Dekalb County (Snapfinger Creek WPCP)DeKalbLithonia233,540Raw SewageGA0024147Collection SystemWet weatherOcmulgeeSnapfinger Creek
2019-01-02Dublin, City of (Dublin WPCP)LaurensDublin711 Alabama St – Dublin8,000Raw SewageGA0025569Pump StationEquipment failureDid Not Enter State Waters
2019-01-01Fulton County (Big Creek WPCP)FultonSandy Springs7148 Stonington Drive3,480Raw SewageGA0024333Collection SystemDebrisChattahoocheeMarsh Creek
2018-12-30Cobb County (South WPCP)CobbMariettaSouth Cobb Drive0Raw SewageGA0026158WWTPWet weatherChattahoocheeChattahoochee River
2018-12-28Dekalb County (Snapfinger Creek WPCP)DeKalbLithonia4557 Meadow Creek Path, Lithonia268,961Raw SewageGA0024147Collection SystemWet weatherOcmulgeeSnapfinger Creek
2018-12-28Cobb County (Marietta Water Authority – James E. Quarles WTP)CobbMarietta614 Wilshire Ave.4,750Raw SewageCollection SystemWet weatherChattahoocheeSope Creek
2018-12-10Dallas, City of (Pumpkinvine Creek WPCP)PauldingDallas575 West Memorial Drive, Dallas400Raw SewageGA0039241WWTPGreaseCoosaOverflow didn’t reach State Waters
2018-12-10Savannah, City of (President Street WRF)ChathamSavannah601 Penn Waller Road, Wilmington Island GA2,240Raw SewageGA0025348Collection SystemGreaseSavannahBetz Creek
2018-12-10Atlanta, City of (R.M. Clayton, Utoy Creek, and South River WRCs)FultonAtlanta2696 Santa Barbara Dr. NW – Atlanta50Raw SewageGA0039012Collection SystemDebrisDid Not Enter State Waters

The good news: no new spills reported from Valdosta (or Quitman or Tifton or Lowndes County).

Some of the recent difference tables in the archives on the WWALS website look rather odd, because for one day (and one day only) GA-EPD added latitude and longitude. Quite a few rows didn’t have either, such as Valdosta’s North Oak Street at Midbriar Drive or Smith Briar or somewhere. I’m guessing GA-EPD found assigning latlongs harder than it expected. I look forward to them solving that problem and publishing a map of the past 30 days, like Florida already does.

For more context, see

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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