Valdosta Boone Drive and Knob Hill small sewage spills 2024-02-20

Update 2024-02-28: Three small Valdosta spills into Three Mile Branch, Withlacoochee River 2024-02-27.

Update 2024-02-22: Tifton 7,000-gallon sewage spill, Golden Road above Little River 2024-02-12.

This Tuesday, February 20, 2024, we learned of two small Valdosta sewage spills, each 100 gallons. That’s not enough to get down the creeks to affect the Withlacoochee River, but enough to stink up the neighborhood.

[Map, Boone Drive & Knob Hill 100-gallon sewer spills, Valdosta, GA, 2024-02-20]
Map, Boone Drive & Knob Hill 100-gallon sewer spills, Valdosta, GA, 2024-02-20

One was on Boone Drive at Baytree Road, next to Valdosta State University and One Mile Branch, which runs into Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River.

The other was at 215 Knob Hill Road on a ditch that runs into Three Mile Branch at the southeast corner of Langdale Park, then into the Withlacoochee River near the southwest corner of the park. That’s the same location as the much larger January 10 spill.

I learned about the Boone Drive spill when I called Valdosta Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes Tuesday morning about the Knob Hill spill.

Neither of these spills has yet appeared in the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report. Jason Barnes says he already sent a report on the Boone Drive spill to EPD, and he will send one soon about the new Knob Hill spill.

[Boone Drive @ Baytree Road 100-gallon spill 2024-02-20 in WLRWT]
Boone Drive @ Baytree Road 100-gallon spill 2024-02-20 in WLRWT

The Knob Hill spill I learned about from the landowner, who also contacted Valdosta Utilities, who sent somebody over there and found a small spill.

[Knob Hill 100-gallon spill 2024-02-20 in WLRWT]
Knob Hill 100-gallon spill 2024-02-20
in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT)

Gretchen Quarterman also went to 215 Knob Hill Road and took these pictures at 10:15AM, Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

[Manhole, sign, and sewer pipe]
Manhole, sign, and sewer pipe

The Acting Utilities Director says Valdosta has been unable to identify who put the gravel and wire in the sewer line that caused the previous, bigger spill. Which unfortunately means no legal action is possible.

[Sewer line]
Sewer line

He is planning some videos about what not to put down manholes, also including sanitary wipes, which do not degrade like paper towels. And of course grease, which has been the cause of many a sewer spill.


Meanwhile, he mentioned the city has elevated the manhole at the bottom of the Pebblewood Drive detention pond that was the source of the previous spill. Which we knew from my previous pictures.

[Closeup, Raised manhole, Pebblewood Drive detention pond, 12:45:56, 30.8754372, -83.3141052]
Closeup, Raised manhole, Pebblewood Drive detention pond, 12:45:56, 30.8754372, -83.3141052

He said in January the city had to chainsaw their way through trees to get there. Now they’re building an access road with the cooperation of the landowner. Plus a fence for dogs.


Meanwhile, in the Alapaha River Basin, he said that at Knights Creek, where there have been numerous spills due to a collapsed sewer line, the city has started boring under the creek.

188 E. Park Ave. and Knights Creek in the WWALS map of the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT)

After completing the emergency work, he plans to bid out replacing the entire Knights Creek trunk line. It will be expensive, but it’s either that or keep having to repair it.

On the September 2023 fish kill Consent Order, he’s sent GA-EPD a report about ammonia.

[Fish kill and equipment]
Fish kill and equipment

EPD says the Standard Operation Procedures are good, and the fine is paid. So soon that Consent Order will have been handled.

Utilities is working on the 2020 Consent Order, trying to make some actual progress, not just schedules.

There does seem to be more progress lately by Valdosta on fixing its chronic sewage problems.

Nobody is going to be satisfied until the number of sewage spills is zero. But improvement is better than no improvement.

WWALS will be watching.

 -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!