Daily Archives: November 9, 2023

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

Update 2023-11-13: Valdosta Standard Operating Procedures as conditions on Consent Order EPD-WP-9424 2023-11-13.

That One Mile Branch fish kill back on September 23, 2022, was not just from a fuel spill by VSU.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) found contamination and dead fish upstream of that alleged fuel spill. GA-EPD also cited numerous other Valdosta sewage spills, not only into One Mile Branch, but also into Hightower Creek (also draining through Sugar Creek into the Withlacoochee River), and spillsinto Knights Creek (which drains into Mud Swamp Creek, then the Alaphoochee River, and the Alapaha River).

Result? A new Consent Order on Valdosta, including a hefty fine as one of five conditions, the rest of which have sixty (60) day deadlines.

[$56,139.30 fine on Valdosta for One Mile Branch Fish Kill and other spills --GA-EPD 2023-09-15]
$56,139.30 fine on Valdosta for One Mile Branch Fish Kill and other spills –GA-EPD 2023-09-15

$56,139.30 may not sound like much as a fine, but it is huge compared to typical GA-EPD fines of maybe $10,000, and it is almost half of the $122,000 of the 2020 Consent Order after the huge December 2019 Valdosta sewage spill.

Please note that the Valdosta Utilities Department is under new management since all this happened.

Acting Utilities Manager Jason Barnes now has the task of cleaning up the physical and regulatory mess, even though he had nothing to do with causing it.

The City’s explanation for the One Mile Branch fish kill at the time did not pass muster with GA-EPD: Continue reading