Update 2022-09-06: Trash reporting cleanup, One Mile Branch, Valdosta 2022-10-21.
Update 2022-08-01: Plus a response from the Valdosta Stormwater Manager.
Twelve years late is better than never.
Bobby McKenzie reported Friday:
This is a complete shocker! One step closer to trash free rivers paddling! This has been years in the making! For years Valdosta Stormwater has sent thousands of pounds of trash unobstructed into the rivers. Last last month we saw the nstallation of the Water Goat. Thankful for the Mayor and Councilman Gibbs for their help getting the Water Goat purchased.
At the end of this month we have the City Building a homemade trash trap. Totally unexpected and an extremely welcome change in culture and attitude towards keeping our rivers clean!
This particular location is a City Stormwater Pond that is constantly filled with trash from Stormwater. Unfortunately none of that trash stayed in the pond it all dumped immediately into the creek. Stormwater Management had refused to take steps to contain the trash until…TODAY!
At this point I don’t even care if it works…knowing that a year ago the City Stormwater went from a “HELL NO” we aren’t doing anything…to making a homemade trash trap! Hopefully the momentum keeps going!
Update 2022-08-01: Valdosta Stormwater Manager Angela Bray responds:
Thank you. The Stormwater Division made and installed this last week. We are also looking at other locations for the Vaccon truck to park and clean without getting in the water.
However, this statement is untrue and was NEVER said: City Stormwater went from a “HELL NO” we aren’t doing anything…to making a homemade trash trap!
I don’t speak like that, nor do I appreciate being depicted that way.
As stated before, I’m doing my best with allocated funds via our Utility fees.
The quote Angela took exception to was from Bobby; his hyperbole does get a bit over the top at times. This is Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman: If Stormwater needs more money, I think the City Council should allocate funds for them. The City of Valdosta can afford emergency sewage spill cleanup expenses on top of more than $100 million in sanitary sewer system improvements and more continuing, so Valdosta can afford much smaller sums to fix the city’s trash problem. Meanwhile, here’s another location: Dollar Tree Trash Pile, 1801 Norman Drive, Valdosta, GA 2022-07-31.
Twelve years late because this trash problem was pictured and described in Valdosta’s 2010 Stormwater Master Plan, saying:
Streams are a natural attractor for children and play structures occur along the stream edge. The pollution in this stream poses a serious risk of disease and injury and children should be strongly discouraged from playing in the stream until the trash and sewage are eliminated.
That 2010 SWMP also said:
The leaking manholes and sewer pipes should be repaired immediately and protected from future damage. The garbage should be removed from the creek and an education and enforcement program to prevent further pollution should be implemented.
Valdosta has made great progress on the sewage situation. Not so much on trash. Valdosta actually has very good ordinances that require parking lot owners to keep trash from escaping and to have so many trash cans per number of parking spaces. But where’s the education and enforcement of those ordinances?
We’re currently waiting (since April) for a followup meeting with various Valdosta departments about trash. If you don’t want to wait, you can contact your Valdosta City Council member, compliment them on this Lee Street trash trap, and ask when they’re going to do the rest?
For more about the trash situation, see:
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®