Update 2023-02-24: Valdosta and Ashburn in GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report 2023-02-23.
This afternoon Valdosta said it spilled 672,250 gallons of sewage last Wednesday, near Knights Creek between East Park Ave. (Lakeland Highway) and US 84 (East Hill Ave.) on Wednesday, February 15, 2023.
This additional press release, after the previous one last Thursday, says the sewage “was released into the wetland watershed area adjacent to Knights Creek.”
It’s good the city mentioned the creek this time. But as usual, Valdosta did not mention that Knights Creek runs into Mud Swamp Creek, then the Alapahoochee River through Echols County, Georgia, then the Alapaha River in Hamilton County, Florida.
We know by WWALS testing that any effects on the Alapaha River seemed to be gone by Saturday.
Because this is a major spill (more than 10,000 gallons), Valdosta is required to do followup water quality testing. WWALS will be requesting that data, as well.
Today’s Valdosta press release also says, “City staff immediately began cleanup and disinfecting at the overflow location. All appropriate regulatory and public health agencies have been notified, and warning signs have been posted.”
I applaud the city’s efforts to clean up that mess.
However, this spill still does not appear in GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report on this seventh day since the spill.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: Tuesday, February 21, 2023
CONTACT: Sharah Denton, Community Relations & Marketing Manager
Telephone: (229) 259-3548
Collapsed Sewer Line Causes Spillage
On Wednesday, February 15, 2023, the City of Valdosta received notification of a possible sewer issue at the 1800 block of East Park Avenue. Upon investigation, city staff identified a collapsed sewer line on East Hill Avenue which caused the collection system to surcharge and manholes to overflow at the East Park location. City staff and a local contractor worked around the clock to divert flow around the collapsed area and stop the spill. An estimated 672,250 gallons of sewer was released into the wetland watershed area adjacent to Knights Creek. City staff immediately began cleanup and disinfecting at the overflow location. All appropriate regulatory and public health agencies have been notified, and warning signs have been posted.
Preventing sewer spills has been, and will continue to be, the city’s top priority through the ongoing Collection System Rehab Program, which includes Manhole Rehab, the Smoke Testing Program, Sewer Main Lining, and Sewer Main Replacement. In addition, the Utilities Department has an ongoing River Sampling Program that tests waters at different locations down the Withlacoochee river and has continued to install generators at the lift stations to ensure uninterrupted operation during power failures.
In addition to the programs listed above, in 2020, the Utilities Department initiated two additional programs, The “Creek Crossing” program, and the “Cap the Cleanout” program, to help locate Infiltration and Inflow in the Collection System as well. These programs are designed to specifically check each manhole and/or sewer line on or near water to verify proper operation and to ensure each house has their cleanout cap installed, and the cleanout is in working order.
The city will continue its ongoing efforts to improve the infrastructure of the sewer system to eliminate these issues in the future. For more information, contact Scott Fowler, Environmental Manager at the Utilities Department, at 229-259-3592 or email@example.com.
Sharah’ N. Denton, M.S.
Community Relations & Marketing Manager
“A City Without Limits”
P.O. Box 1125
Valdosta, GA 31603
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®