Valdosta sewage spill into Lake Sheri, Withlacoochee River 2022-09-23

Update 2023-11-09: GA-EPD Consent Order on Valdosta for One Mile Branch fish kill and sewage spills 2023-09-15.

Valdosta had yet another small sewage spill, this time on Friday, September 23, 2022, into Lake Sheri, which drains into the Withlacoochee River just upstream from I-75.

[Report and map: Valdosta Lake Sheri sewage spill 2022-09-23]
Report and map: Valdosta Lake Sheri sewage spill 2022-09-23

Most likely that spill was too small to affect the river, but those poor people who live on Lake Sheri, which already had three sewage spills upstream this summer.

The GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report for Monday, September 26, 2022 shows that 1,250 raw sewage spill as happening Friday, September 23rd, on “Buena Vista Dr” into “unnamed tributary to Sheri Lake”.

[Valdosta Lake Sheri Sewage Spill 2022-09-23]
Valdosta Lake Sheri Sewage Spill 2022-09-23

There is no Buena Vista Drive in Valdosta. Buena Vista Circle is directly on Lake Sheri. That street is also more than a quarter mile long, running along the entire eastern shore of Lake Sheri, so Valdosta has outdone itself in its customary vagueness about spill location.

[Map: Valdosta Buena Vista Circle Sewage Spill 2022-09-23]
Map: Valdosta Buena Vista Circle Sewage Spill 2022-09-23 in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

The “SPILL PRIMARY CAUSE” is given as “Grease”. That’s understandable, and we support Valdosta’s attempts to stop businesses from letting fats, oils, and greases (FOG) get into the sewer system and block it, causing spills.

But Valdosta could be a bit more accurate and precise in their spill reports.

Also, it would be good if they could put as much effort into stopping their chronic trash problem as they do into stopping sewage spills, that would be great. The trash problem would cost far less to fix.

Fish Kill

Friday, September 23, 2022, was also the day WWALS tester Scotti Jay discovered a fish kill in One Mile Branch starting on the VSU campus. Sara Jay tested Scotti’s water samples and found much too high E. coli in the spill all the way down to W. Gordon Street in Remerton, almost to Sugar Creek.

Valdosta has not reported any test results for that day; I don’t know why. Valdosta results for Monday, September 26th are normal. Those are the most recent results Valdosta has published.

I did hear from Valdosta Public Works Director and Assistant City Manager Richard Hardy that the pump and pipes next to One Mile Branch were put there by Valdosta (not VSU) to route around a sinkhole. Yes, this is different from what I heard from a City Council member. I have suggested to both of them that there may be a communication issue within the Valdosta City government. Meanwhile, Richard Hardy said the sinkhole issue had been resolved. I don’t know where the sinkhole is or when it occured. I will inquire.

And everyone is waiting for a report from GA-EPD on their investigation into the fish kill.

Also, you’re welcome, GA-EPD, for thanking WWALS for discovering the fish kill and testing One Mile Branch. And WWALS thanks Scotti Jay and Sara Jay.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

One thought on “Valdosta sewage spill into Lake Sheri, Withlacoochee River 2022-09-23

  1. Pingback: Good Water Quality, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2022-09-29 | WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) is Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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