One Mile Branch Sewage Spill @ Sustella Ave., VSU 2020-06-02

Update 2020-06-04: Response: Valdosta says it is manhole rehabilitation at One Mile Branch near Sustella Ave. 2020-06-04

Scotti Jay smelled a sewer spill. He found an open manhole, a bunch of hoses, and tracks of large trucks, presumably Valdosta Utilities pumper trucks. We don’t know, because Valdosta has not answered an inquiry from this morning.

[Hose and manhole]
Hose and manhole

This is on Onemile Branch behind the Valdosta State University (VSU) Recreation Center, downstream from Sustella Ave.

The good news from Sara Jay’s water quality testing: she got 166 cfu/100 mL E. coli at Sustella Ave., 0 (zero) at Wainwright Waterfall downstream, and 133 at Wainwright Drive farther downstream.

[Area map]
Area map

None of those numbers are bad. The higher two are larger than the 126 longterm limit, but well below the 410 one-time testing limit. See What do these numbers mean?. For context, see

Also, you can help with WWALS water quality testing.

So apparently Valdosta Utilities mostly cleaned it up, like The April 9, 2020, Cherry Creek FOG spill. Like that April spill, this one does not appear in GA-EPD’s Sewage Spill Reports.

Which leads to a mystery: Why doesn’t Valdosta advertise these spills and say how they cleaned them up? That would be great PR for Valdosta Utilities, and would encourage restaurants and others not to let Fats Oils and Grease get into the sewer system.

Instead, they leave it to WWALS to detect some of them. You have to wonder: how many more of these spills have there been lately? And that’s bad PR for Valdosta.

For example, the manhole just south of Wainwright Drive and north of Onemile Branch, which has spilled hundreds of gallons of sewage before, seems to have toilet paper leaking out of it.

[Closed manhole at 1208 Wainwright Drive]
Closed manhole at 1208 Wainwright Drive

And the concrete around the manhole seems much more eroded than in February 2019.

[Lime and broken concrete]
Lime and broken concrete 2020-02-10.

Anyway, here are some videos by Sara Jay:

Below are more pictures. Click on any small picture for a bigger one.

Sara Jones

[Movie: Hose under Sustella Ave. bridge (816K)]
Movie: Hose under Sustella Ave. bridge (816K)


[Sustella Ave. 166, Wainwright Falls 0, Wainwright Drive 133]
Sustella Ave. 166, Wainwright Falls 0, Wainwright Drive 133


[Context map]
Context map

Remember, you can help with WWALS water quality testing.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

3 thoughts on “One Mile Branch Sewage Spill @ Sustella Ave., VSU 2020-06-02

  1. David Lambert

    John, when will you put on another class for water testers. We have a couple around Madison/Live Oak who want to start testing. All live on the river.

    1. jsq Post author

      David, we were going to have a class about now.
      The pandemic has derailed in-person classes.
      We are talking with Georgia Adopt-A-Stream about how to do a training class with physical distancing.
      Some of it can be done with people watching videos, or by zoom,
      but at some point people need to practice drawing water, plating Petrifilms, etc.
      And Florida-style training has the same problems.
      Well, not Petrifilms, because by Florida standards you’re supposed to send bacterial samples to a lab.
      Which is why we tend to use Georgia testing even in Florida:
      less expensive and faster, so we can do more testing.
      Please get people who want to test to sign up:

      Anybody can take the training, which is free.
      But to test for WWALS requires being a WWALS member.

      Thanks. -jsq

      1. jsq Post author

        OK, there is a precedent for mostly remote training. Pretty much requires the trainees to already have kits. We’re working on that. -jsq

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