Asphalt-caused sewage spill in flooding on One Mile Branch in Valdosta 2023-12-03

Update 2023-12-19: Valdosta reports to GA-EPD about two recent sewage spills 2023-12-02.

Update 2023-12-15: This spill finally showed up in the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report of 2023-12-12; see Yet another Valdosta E. Park Ave. sewage spill near Knights Creek 2023-12-11.

Update 2023-12-04: Added Valdosta Press Release.

After the recent rains, at least two houses on Pin Oak Circle at Lakeland Ave in Valdosta flooded again, attributed to a sewer leak by residents.

[One Mile Branch crossing Pin Oak Circle in a floodplain and location maps]
One Mile Branch crossing Pin Oak Circle in a floodplain and location maps

Valdosta Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes just now on the telephone said it was caused by a piece of asphalt stuck in the sewer line. It took Utilities about an hour and 15 minutes Saturday to get it out. He did not know how it got there; maybe from previous street resurfacing. They will be doing further work today. He alerted GA-EPD Saturday, and is working on a press release this morning. It will be a spill, but probably not a major spill.

WWALS member Suzy Hall found this spill in a WALB TV story (see below). I located it by looking up the names from the story in the Lowndes County Tax Assessors Map.

One Mile Branch runs through their back yards, and we’ve seen flooding problems there before.

[Map: Pin Oak Circle and One Mile Branch]
Map: Pin Oak Circle and One Mile Branch in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT)

That’s just upstream from the fire station on E. Park Ave. that was the focus of much previous WWALS advocacy about trash removal and better drainage.

[One Mile Branch and Fire Station No. 2]
One Mile Branch and Fire Station No. 2

This is One Mile Branch in flood in those houses’ back yards on August 9, 2022, in a still from a video by Bobby McKenzie.

[Upstream of Lakeland Ave.]
Upstream of Lakeland Ave.

According to VALORGIS, most of that street is in a floodplain. Quite likely the homeowners were unaware of that when they bought their houses.

[Map: One Mile Branch floodplain on Pin Oak Circle in VALORGIS]
Map: One Mile Branch floodplain on Pin Oak Circle in VALORGIS

Also according to VALORGIS, and you can see it in Google Streetview, One Mile Branch has been turned into a ditch that crosses Pin Oak Circle in the side yard of the second house.

[One Mile Branch crossing Pin Oak Circle in Google Streetview]
One Mile Branch crossing Pin Oak Circle in Google Streetview

So it’s no surprise they get flooding. And Jason Barnes has explained why they got sewage this time.

One Mile Branch runs into Sugar Creek, then the Withlacoochee River.

[Map: One Mile Branch in WLRWT]
Map: One Mile Branch in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT)

Most likely this was not enough sewage to reach the Withlacoochee River. Small comfort that is to the houses on Pin Oak Circle, and points downstream on One Mile Branch.

But I compliment Valdosta Utilities for quickly finding and fixing the problem.

And for getting a press release out the same day.

WALB TV story

Fallon Howard, WALB TV, December 3, 2023, Sewer leak in Valdosta leads to flooding in multiple homes,

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB)—Residents in Valdosta are concerned about a sewer leak that is believed to have caused flooding in multiple homes.

A few residents have been through this more than once.

Tiffany Sigmund is a Valdosta resident who has suffered from flooding not once but twice after Hurricane Idalia.

She just moved back in for only one month before her residence started flooding again.

“When I went to go check the other bathroom and similar was happening it was just gushing out from underneath the toilet. So I immediately turned off the shutoff valve, and I put towels under there to plug it. I noticed when I turned off the shutoff valve it was still coming underneath,” Sigmund said.

Another neighbor, Hazel Edgecomb, says she is grateful that some of the neighbors checked on each other before it got worse.

“We cannot leave our homes and go for a couple of hours and we can not leave our homes, especially on the weekends and come back. It would have been a disaster but if it hadn’t been for our neighbor Tiffany we would of been in a bad situation,” Edgecomb said.

Neighbors say the city did come out and try to fix the situation, however, many residents just want answers as to why this problem keeps occurring.

Copyright 2023 WALB. All rights reserved.

Valdosta Press Release, received 12:05 PM


DATE: Monday, December 4, 2023
CONTACT: Sharah Denton, Community Relations & Marketing Manager
Telephone: (229) 259-3548

Sewer Main Blockage Causes Spill

On December 2nd, 2023, Stormwater Standby Personnel responded to a potential issue in the 2100 Block of Pin Oak Circle. Upon arrival, the Stormwater Personnel discovered Sanitary Sewage exiting the cleanouts of four homes. Utilities: Central Line division was already enroute, and it was determined that an unknown obstruction in the line was likely the cause of the issue. City staff quickly dislodged the blockage. An estimated 6,300 gallons of wastewater were released from the four cleanouts into One Mile Branch. City staff immediately began cleanup procedures and disinfection at the overflow location. Utilities: Central Line Division will be back on-site on December 4th, 2023, to check the line for other potential obstructions. All appropriate regulatory and public health agencies have been notified.

Preventing sewer spills has been, and will continue to be, the city’s top priority through the ongoing Collection System Rehab Program. This program 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. The department has also 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. These programs aim to help locate Infiltration and Inflow in the Collection System. They are designed to specifically check each manhole and sewer line on or near water to verify proper operation and 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, please contact the City of Valdosta Utilities Department, Environmental Division at 229-259-3592.


 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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