Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

March 3, 2013

Money saved at river’s expense

EPD investigates cause of sewage release as waters recede



Editor Kay Harris contributed to this story.


Potential health risks

The health risks associated with exposure to raw sewage, according to the EPA, include hepatitis, gastroenteritis, along with skin, wound, respiratory and ear infections. While ingesting contaminated water is the most common cause of these illnesses,  “they may also be contracted through inhalation of water vapors, eating contaminated fish.. and swimming. The most common symptoms are diarrhea and nausea.”

The EPA’s 2011 directive for “Keeping Raw Sewage & Contaminated Stormwater Out of the Public’s Water,” following the guidelines of the Clean Water Act, show that occasional combined sewer overflows or CSO’s are common following rain events, but “they pose risks to human health, threaten aquatic habitats and life, and impair the use and enjoyment of the nation’s waterways.”

As part of the directive, all local governments are required to conform to the CSO policy, which states that they must follow Nine Minimum Technology-Based Controls,

including “Proper operation and regular maintenance programs of the sewer system and CSOs.”

Since the 2009 flood event, the city has applied three times to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for funding to make major improvements to the sewer system, move and rebuild the plant at a cost of more than $90 million. FEMA denied the city’s requests each time.

At this time, the sewage discharge is also a potential risk to the city’s drinking water supply. According to information provided by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Upper Floridan aquifer is the sole source of water supply for Valdosta and much of the surrounding area. The aquifer “receives large volumes of direct discharge from the Withlacoochee River through sinkholes in the streambed or off-channel.”

The USPS states,”The strong connection between the Withlacoochee River and ground water in the Valdosta area has created concerns about the potential for contamination of groundwater supplies by contaminants in the river.”

The water for residents and businesses in the city of Valdosta is filtered and monitored through the water treatment plant, and the city has not issued any warnings regarding drinking water.

At this time, the city has issued a statement cautioning citizens from “fishing, boating, swimming, or any contact with river water until the flood waters recede and the treatment plant returns to normal operation.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Jim Zachary Mug shot.jpg Zachary named The Valdosta Daily Times’ editor

    Veteran newspaper editor Jim Zachary has assumed the editor’s chair at The Valdosta Daily Times.
    During the past two decades Zachary has been one of the most decorated community newspaper journalists in Georgia and Tennessee.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140728-griner001.jpg Griner takes oath

     Surrounded by family, friends, and fellow commissioners, Clay Griner took the oath of office Monday morning as the Lowndes County Super District 5 commissioner.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140728-man_hunt001.jpg Dump truck thieves sought

    Authorities continued searching for suspects Monday evening connected to a stolen dump truck involved in a chase with law-enforcement.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • City workers strike natural gas main

    A gas leak evacuated a neighborhood Monday when workers struck a natural gas main.

    July 29, 2014

  • education.jpg Desegregation status approved

    Forty-three years after an initial lawsuit was filed to force the system to desegregate, Valdosta City Schools has officially been approved for “unitary status.”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • ARociewilliams_002.jpg Woman shares nearly a century of lessons

    With nearly 100 years of life under her belt, Ocie Viola Williams has plenty of advice to share with the world. Her top two pieces of advice: know the importance of education and don’t expect a teacher to raise your child for you. 

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • psst1 photo page copy.jpg PSST! finishes peachy season

    Peach State Summer Theatre concluded its 2014 season Sunday, a season which broke attendance records for the professional musical theatre company.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_2381.jpeg Award-winning young professionals share success secrets

    The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber’s MetroOne Young Professionals hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn to highlight successful business practices.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140726_summerlibrary002.jpg Library celebrates end of summer reading program

    With the first day of school just around the corner, students are soaking in the last few weeks of summer vacation. The end of summer also means the end of the South Georgia Regional Library’s 2014 summer reading program.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • artseason1 copy.jpg A sneak peek at some area arts organizations’ 2014-15 seasons

    Beethoven. Tennessee Williams. Non-stop art. Two versions of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 2014-15 arts season is coming.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Top News

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results