Yet another Valdosta sewage spill, five days ago, at 1800 E. Park Ave., Knights Creek 2023-07-06

2023-07-17: Knights Creek tested too high for E. coli before Valdosta reported the latest spill 2023-07-10.

Update 2023-07-14: Clean Withlacoochee River 2023-07-13.

Obviously informing the public of dangers to public health is not a top priority of the City of Valdosta.

[Map: 1800 E. Park Avenue and Knights Creek in ARWT]
Map: 1800 E. Park Avenue and Knights Creek
in the WWALS Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT)

Valdosta spilled 194,251 gallons of raw sewage, starting about five days ago, and today they get around to telling the public at 6:24 PM.

That’s more than 10,000 gallons, which means it is a major spill.

At least this time, unlike last sewage spill, Valdosta bothered to say how many gallons and a relatively precise location. Yet this spill is not in the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report, and that last one still is not.

There was no need to put another marker on the ARWT map for this most recent spill, because it is the same location as the series of spills this February. Unlike in February, this today’s press release does name Knights Creek. It does not say Knights Creek flows into Mud Swamp Creek, the Alapahoochee River, and the Alapaha River, then the Suwannee River to the Gulf.

Still, five days to inform the public? Why, Valdosta?

[Knights Creek in ARWT]
Knights Creek in the WWALS map of the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT)

Here is today’s 6:24 PM Valdosta press release:

Bypass Pump Causes Overflow

On Thursday, July 6th, 2023, a City of Valdosta employee observed a wastewater overflow near the 1800 block of East Park Avenue. Upon investigation, it was determined that the cause of the spill was a bypass pumping operation installation and unknown sediment blockage. The Utilities Department continues to work around the clock to adjust and remove blockages to prevent spills and repair the collapsed sewer main. An estimated 194,251 gallons of wastewater was released into the wetland watershed area of Knights Creek. Staff immediately began cleanup and disinfecting at the overflow location. All appropriate regulatory and public health agencies have been notified, and warning signs are 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. 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 its 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 the City of Valdosta Utilities Department, Environmental Division at 229-259-3592.


Sharah’ N. Denton, M.S.
Community Relations & Marketing Manager
“A City Without Limits”
P.O. Box 1125
Valdosta, GA 31603
Cell: 229-251-4779
Office: 229.259.3548

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!