Sewage spill, Cherry Creek, Valdosta, FOG 2020-04-09

Sewage ran down the ditch from Bemiss Road down Cherry Creek Church Road on Thursday, but there is good news about that.


This is why you don’t want to be flushing any old thing down the drain.

[rot on Cherry Creek Church Road]
rot on Cherry Creek Church Road

One of the Valdosta Utilities employees kept mentioning PVCs, not the pipe kind, but as in food packaging. Don’t flush your gloves, either.

[Manhole cover off]
Manhole cover off

A WWALS member reported a sewer spill at 4123 Bemiss Rd., Valdosta, Georgia 31605, April 9, 2020. It’s marked on this map with the yellow diamond.

[Cherry Creek Church Road]
Cherry Creek Church Road
Manhole at 4123 Bemiss Road in WWALS map of Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

Valdosta pumper trucks were already at the site, Valdosta Carpet Center, or as locals know it, near Peaches. I went down there about 6:30 PM and took these pictures.

[Cherry Creek behind those woods]
Cherry Creek behind those woods

That ditch drains into Cherry Creek, which is right behind those woods.

[Pumper on Cherry Creek Church Road]
Pumper on Cherry Creek Church Road

Where did all that garbage that caused a sewage spill come from? One Valdosta Utilities employee indicated the sewer line comes down Bemiss Road from the north.

[Valdosta City Limits]
Valdosta City Limits
Valdosta City Limits in VALORGIS.

As you can see, Valdosta’s northern city limits don’t go very far north from there.

[Peaches, Waffle House, Walmart]
Peaches, Waffle House, Walmart

But you can see from the corner of Cherry Creek Church Road: Peaches, Waffle House, and the newish Walmart Neighborhood Market. Not visible behind Peaches are Pizza Quick and Hug in a Mug Coffee Company. Also Val-U Wash Car Wash.

No, it probably wasn’t McDonalds, which is south on Bemiss Road on the other side of Cherry Creek.

[Cherry Creek to Withlacoochee River]
Cherry Creek to Withlacoochee River

Cherry Creek goes through Lake Cleve to the Withlacoochee River, upstream of U.S. 41 (North Valdosta Road).

[Cherry Creek to WWTP]
Cherry Creek to WWTP

Cherry Creek joins the Withlacoochee quite a ways upstream of Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treament Plant (WWTP), which is highlighted in the white circle on the lower left. This spill is the yellow diamond in the upper right.

The nearest bridge downstream of this spill is on Skipper Bridge Road (also known as Creekhouse Drive there between Cherry Creek Church Road and Bemiss Road).

[Downstream, Cherry Creek]
Downstream, Cherry Creek

I collected some bacterial sample water there.

[Upstream, Cherry Creek]
Upstream, Cherry Creek

The good news: Cherry Creek showed only 33 cfu/100 mL E. coli, which is below the longterm average limit of 126, well below the single-sample limit of 410, and way below the alert limit of 1,000. So it’s very unlikely that this spill ever got to the Withlacoochee River. See also what do these numbers mean?

Did Valdosta report this spill to the state of Georgia? Well, we don’t know, because Friday was a holiday, so the GA-EPD Sewage Spill Report has not been updated yet.

I would like to commend Valdosta Utilities for showing up promptly and sending at least two trucks.

FOG Prevention Program Technician Joseph Gangler would prefer you not flush that stuff so he doesn’t have to go pump it out.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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