Update 2021-07-16 Clean Withlacoochee River 2021-07-15.
I add up 358,525 gallons of sewage spilled at Mildred Street into Knights Creek in the Alapaha River Basin and 355,875 gallons at Wainwright Drive into Onemile Branch in the Withlacoochee River Basin. Those totals are each since 2015, according to records from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD).
I haven’t added up spills from all the other locations that are on the Rehab lists. I would hope there are not many that have spilled more than a third of a million gallons of raw sewage.
How many gallons does it take to get on Valdosta’s rehab list?
It’s also interesting that these lists include for almost every manhole specific street addresses. Unlike the vague “1200 block” addresses Valdosta puts in its sewage spill press releases, and often in its spill reports to GA-EPD.
Speaking of which, despite Valdosta’s assurances that it had reported at least the two biggest spills of July 7th to GA-EPD, there is still nothing about any of those in GA-EPD’s Sewer Spills Report.
Below is the text of the open records request I sent the Valdosta City Clerk Monday, which she answered Tuesday with the above lists.
The 93-page Consent Order on Valdosta by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) is on the WWALS website here:
Dear City of Valdosta,
This is a Georgia Open Records Act (GORA) request for the current list of manholes to be rehabilitated, with identifying numbers and locations for each manhole.
There may be multiple versions of this list. If older versions are also available, please send those, as well, with dates for when they were current.
I am willing to pay reasonable costs for this material, but I do not see why there should be any, considering the list is very likely in electronic form, since it must be available to the in-house “Manhole Rehab Team,” as well as to the City Council for budget review.
Please send me the list or lists via electronic mail.
Appended are relevant references to the 2020 Consent Order.
My contact information is below.
[My contact information omitted, since you’ve all seen it before.]
In the Valdosta Utilities letter to GA-EPD of March 19, 2019, page 2, on pages 58 and 59 of the 2020 Consent Order:
3. Additional projects to correct the causes of the spills and violations:
Collection System Evaluation Program: Continue implementation of and complete a 5-year system wide plan to further evaluate the entire sanitary sewer collection system and develop a schedule for repairs. The evaluation includes the inspection of all manholes and collection system lines using smoke testing followed by Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) inspections of high priority areas. The evaluation will be utilized to prioritize and perform critical repairs and to plan and prioritize major rehabilitation projects for the future.
Establish Manhole Rehab Team: In addition to the existing programs, the City is embarking upon specialized in-house Manhole rehabilitation and Infiltration teams to accelerate needed repairs, Current contract costs allow for thirty manholes per year to be rehabilitated. An in-house team will be capable of completing more than double the number of manholes at less cost. Significant investment in equipment, training and personnel have been identified for the program. Proposal is currently under review for FY2020 budget.
Also in the Consent Order:
EPA Region 4 Guide to Collection and Transmission System Management, Operation, and Maintenance Programs Version 1.1
b. System Inventory Program
This program ensures an inventory of the utility’s collection and transmission system is present, updated, and cataloged by service area or sewershed. The inventory lists the system components withtheir attributes and characteristics (e.g., pipe age, pipe size,
pipe material, invert elevation, pump sizes, location of inverted siphons, pump stations, manholes, etc.).
c. Mapping Program
This program ensures adequately detailed maps are available to be used in conjunction with the utility’s MOM programs. At minimum, the maps depict the location of gravity sewer lines, force mains, air valves, manholes (by identifying numbers), pump stations, major appurtenances, and the size of pipes.
h. Infrastructure Rehabilitation Program
This program rehabilitates gravity sewer lines, force mains. manholes, pump stations, and related appurtenances. The program includes a process for prioritizing rehabilitation, inventory of all completed rehabilitation (including a breakdown of the rehabilitation techniques used), inspection and performance measurement for all completed rehabilitation, written schedules for rehabilitation work, and a mechanism for including rehabilitation information in the IMS.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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