Sewage inside Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, Valdosta 2023-10-16

Numerous reports say Ollie’s has been closed since Monday morning, and apparently T.J. Maxx, apparently due to sewage backing up into the building, at 1200 N St Augustine Rd, Valdosta, GA 31602. This is concerning, since that building is at the top of the creek that runs into Lake Sheri, and then into the Withlacoochee River.

[Sheri Run, Lake Sheri, Withlacoochee River in WLRWT]
Sheri Run, Lake Sheri, Withlacoochee River in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT)

However, Valdosta City Marshall Josh Hunt says the issue has been fixed and the stores reopened this morning.

I also checked with Valdosta Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes, and he says the problem was entirely on private property, and did not escape the building. He also confirmed that Valdosta did not have any sewage spills during last week’s rains.

[Ollie's, T.J. Maxx, Michaels in WLRWT]
Ollie’s, T.J. Maxx, Michaels in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT)

I’ve seen pictures of a City of Valdosta violation notice that says “(Sec. 18-41) Int’l Prop. Maintenance Code, 504.1, 302.1”. Valdosta code section 18-41 says the city adopts various external codes, among them the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC).

IPMC Section 504.1 says, “Plumbing fixtures shall be properly installed and maintained in working order, and shall be kept free from obstructions, leaks and defects and be capable of performing the function for which such plumbing fixtures are designed. Plumbing fixtures shall be maintained in a safe, sanitary and functional condition.”

IPMC Section 302.1 says, “Exterior property and premises shall be maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition. The occupant shall keep that part of the exterior property that such occupant occupies or controls in a clean and sanitary condition.”

The deadline to fix the problem on the notice is October 20, 2023.

Another sticker says, “This structure is unsafe and its occupancy has been prohibited by the code official! It shall be punishable as a misdemeanor offense to occupy this building or remove or deface this placard.”

Both stickers are dated October 16, 2023.

The occupancy notice was signed by Josh Hunt. He’s a Valdosta City Marshall. So I called him, and as noted above, he says the problem is fixed and the businesses are open again this morning.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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