Sewage spill decreased and stopped at Gornto Road Pump Station, Valdosta, GA 2022-06-30

Update 2022-07-01: Valdosta Press Release about Gornto Road sewage spill 2022-07-01.

The major sewage spill at the Gornto Road Pump Station slowed down around 6:18 PM and was stopped about 8:15 PM, according to witnesses at the site. It apparently started some time around 5 PM.

[Gate, sewage, people]
Gate, sewage, people

Following up on the previous report, Scotti Jay, observing from outside the fence:

6:13 PM. It’s actually shooting into the air. No pump trucks.

[Shooting in the air. No pump trucks. Just letting it flow off the back]
Shooting in the air. No pump trucks. Just letting it flow off the back

As previously mentioned, Valdosta’s Gornto Road Pump Station is about a thousand feet uphill from the Withlacoochee River. That’s downstream from Sugar Creek, and upstream from where we’ve been chainsawing deadfalls to make paddling passage easier to Troupville Boat Ramp.

2022-06-30 Valdosta Gornto Road Pump Station in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

Scotti continued:

6:18. Flow is decreasing.

[6:18. Flow is decreasing.]
6:18. Flow is decreasing.

[Still spewing]
Still spewing

Checked the Remer station and a few manholes in between. Nothing visible. And no one was at Remer.

We don’t know who these people are. Maybe contractors:

[People discussing.]
People discussing.


According to Emily Arnold on site (posted in a public facebook comment):

Around 8:15 is the actual time the leak was completely stopped.

But it was slowed wayyy down from Bobby’s picture several hours before that, due to some quick planning of strategic valve closures by some of our smartest folks. Thankful for the rapid response from the city’s blue collar people and the badass contractors who literally got into the nasty water to plate off the leak.

[Sewage into the air fromm Gornto Pump Station --Bobby McKenzie]
Sewage into the air fromm Gornto Pump Station –Bobby McKenzie

According to two eyewitnesses on site, a pipe fitting broke. The bolts did not come loose, and they had been checked and tightened regularly. This was a very unusual event, “Never seen anything like it.”

Naturally, nobody in the Valdosta City government nor elsewhere wanted this to happen.

Unfortunately, it did.

Thanks again to Mayor Scott James Matheson for informing WWALS quickly.

Thanks to the several WWALS members who reported on the spot.

According to everything we’ve heard so far, this spill was not preventable with the current configuration of that Pump Station. The Mayor says there are plans to rebuild with a method to shunt the sewage instead of spill if this happens again. That’s good.

Another thing the city could do: report from the site in a timely manner, with pictures and videos. If WWALS can do it with volunteers, the great City of Valdosta, with its paid marketing staff, can do it.

We look forward to the written report from Valdosta Utilities, which the Mayor promised will come to WWALS as soon as it goes to GA-EPD. And we look forward to what GA-EPD posts today on its Sewage Spills Report.

Valdosta, if you want to lessen the predictable reputational damage already happening, please be transparent this time. So far there is nothing about this spill on the city’s own website or facebook or twitter pages.

Oh, and fix the problem so it doesn’t happen again.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

4 thoughts on “Sewage spill decreased and stopped at Gornto Road Pump Station, Valdosta, GA 2022-06-30

  1. Elizabeth

    Yeah every time it’s “very unusual”, “never happened before”, “won’t happen again”. Yeah sure. While we down river suffer from their problems that there is never any consequences for them. If this were a private citizen doing this, they would fined so much by now it would take them centuries to pay off.

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