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
  • 140414-valdostaboe001 copy.jpg Valdosta Board of Education reviews finances

    Valdosta City Schools Board of Education celebrated many successes Monday night, discussed budget information and heard an announcement of intent from a hopeful charter school.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • dancing with the stars copy.jpg Dancing with Valdosta Stars raises scholarship money

    Valdosta State University Music and Theatre & Dance’s Third Annual Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta presented a fine dance show this past weekend.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • N0041120.jpg Passover: A nation reborn

    “And you shall tell your children that on that day the Lord has took you out from the house of bondage.” — The Passover Hagadah

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-DFCS001.jpg Luncheon recognizes DFACS employees

    Dozens of Lowndes County Division of Family and Children Services employees gathered Monday at Olympic Park for a barbecue lunch in recognition of their hard work.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-Sewage002.jpg Fla. calls for Valdosta boycott

    Florida residents are calling for a boycott of Valdosta regarding the sewage spills, with areas affected downstream increasingly distressed over the millions of gallons that have polluted the waters of the Withlacoochee and the Suwannee River Basin during the last several years.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • police-lights-backgrounds-for-powerpoint.jpg ‘Dangerous’ fugitive caught

    A fugitive from Ohio wanted for attempted murder and a number of assault and robbery charges was captured by Valdosta police Saturday.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

  • 140412-TownHallMtg_2 copy 2.jpg Rep. Sharper holds town hall meeting

    Saturday morning, State Rep. Dexter Sharper held a town hall meeting at Crossing Jordan Baptist Church to meet with concerned citizens of Valdosta, share his feelings toward bills on the governor’s desk and to discuss the upcoming Let Us Make Man event.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140412-EasterEggHunt10 copy 2.jpg Kids have an egg-ceptional time

    The Therapeutic Division of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority held hosted the “Egg-ceptional” Easter Egg Hunt for Special Needs Children Saturday.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police_Car_2 2 copy 2.jpg Numbers show overall drop in crime in Valdosta

     Responding to what he believes is a public perception that crime is out of control, Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress presented statistics to the city council this week demonstrating an overall decline in crime for more than a decade and said the perception may be due to his department’s openness with the media.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140410-Sewage001.jpg City sewage woes continue

    Calculating the total gallons of treated and untreated sewage that the City of Valdosta has spilled into the Withlacoochee River and its tributaries is difficult because it has been going on for over 25 to 30 years.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results