Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

March 1, 2013

Evacuations, road closures mark rising waters

VALDOSTA — Floodwaters from 6 to 10 inches of rainfall several days ago has created hazardous conditions throughout the area, with road closures, flooded homes and businesses, and untreated sewage flowing into the river.

Although not quite as bad as the flood in April 2009, the same areas that were threatened then have been affected again. The area around Sugar Creek off Gornto Road, including the YMCA, Creekside Tavern, and homes along Meadowbrook were reporting flooding, causing businesses to close and residents to evacuate. Numerous road closures across Brooks County, with additional road closures in Lowndes, is seriously affecting residents attempting to get in and out of their homes and businesses. And a major sewage discharge from the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant are exacerbating the serious issues the city of Valdosta faced four years ago.

According to the National Weather Service, the floodwaters may rise several more feet in areas before beginning to recede by the weekend.

Wastewater plant overwhelmed

As floodwaters continued to rise at the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant Thursday, the City of Valdosta released a statement stating that, until further notice, the plant has been taken offline, and “as a result, an estimated 5 to 6 million gallons of untreated sewage will be discharging directly into the river each day until the flood waters recede.”

More than 15 million gallons of partially-treated wastewater from city sewers has already entered the Withlacoochee River as a result of the floodwaters, and since Monday, 12 manholes throughout the city have overflowed, spilling sewer contents into area waterways.

The city stated that the power to the plant was shut off to prevent further damage to equipment and associated electrical and control systems.

The rising water is halfway through its crest at the plant, according to Valdosta’s Utilities Director Henry Hicks, who spent the day monitoring the floodwaters. Hicks projects the water will rise another two to three feet before it begins to recede.

An eight-foot-high chain link fence that was exposed yesterday at the plant is now completely underwater, and the water has flooded the influent pump station and the chlorinator building, which houses a one-ton cylinder of chlorine gas used in the treatment of city wastewater.

The water main that feeds treated water back into the Withlacoochee lays 40 feet underground, Hicks said, which is the main cause of inflow and water spillage problems.

Due to the amount of sewage in the floodwaters, citizens are advised to keep out of contact with the water, which now poses significant bacteriological contamination.

"If you have cuts, scrapes or open sores, contact with the water could cause those sores to become infected," Hicks said.

As soon as the floodwaters recede, workers at the plant will begin emergency pumping and treatment of city sewage. City tap water is still safe to drink, Hicks said Wednesday, and Valdosta citizens should still

 be able to flush their toilets.

Text Only
Local News
  • 140421 - flooding Shiloh Rd B#1.jpg Road re-opens following flooding

    Lowndes County officials re-opened one road Monday while keeping an eye on the area’s waterways for potential flooding.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Justice_Scales.jpg Second ‘Quitman 11’ case mistrial

    Another week-long trial ended again in mistrial last week in the case of Lula Smart, the Brooks County woman charged in a case of unlawful possession of election ballots, according to court officials Monday.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • graphic.jpg School systems get report cards

    South Georgia school systems received mixed results, with some showing performance increases while others suffered decreases, in the College and Career Ready Performance Index released Monday by Georgia State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • flood4c.jpg Flood warning extended

    A flood warning for the Withlacoochee River at Valdosta has been extended until Wednesday afternoon.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • doug henderson.jpg Memorial tourney returns

    The Doug Henderson III Memorial Golf Tournament has raised thousands of dollars for scholarship funds and to help organizations throughout the region.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914-WA-Egghunt021.jpg Park puts wild spin on Easter tradition

    Adventurous egg hunters braved overcast skies and a persistent drizzle to search for hidden prizes Saturday during Wild Adventure’s first Ostrich Egg Hunt.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • FallenTree003.JPG More spills reported

    City of Valdosta employees have spent the weekend responding to spills caused by several inches of rain that have again drenched the city during the past few days.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Underwater Easter_Rich copy.jpg Stories behind ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’

    Christ comes from the Greek word, “Christos,” meaning “the anointed one.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140418_valwood001.jpg Valwood students register to vote

    Valwood teaches its students about the importance of voting. Each year, the school has encouraged eligible seniors to register to vote and participate in local elections.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • wadebrandon14.jpg Police still seeking missing mother, son

    Though their assignments have changed during the past dozen years, Valdosta Police Capt. Bobbi McGraw and Sgt. Chris Crews continue working the case of a missing mother and her son.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results