Valdosta Daily Times

April 9, 2014

504,000 gallons and counting

Matthew Woody
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — With four inches of rain between 3 p.m. Monday and 6 a.m. on Tuesday, a number of manholes around the area overflowed, resulting in a release of 504,000 gallons and more as the overflows continue.

The city states that the wastewater treatment plant fared well despite the rain, but the amount of water overwhelmed other parts of the aging system. Six manholes overflowed, with one repaired but five continuing to spill sewage Tuesday.

These major spills entered the waters of the state and have been reported to the Environmental Protection Division:

A manhole in the 600 block of Scott Drive overflowed, and the estimate of the overflow into Sugar Creek is 84,000 gallons. Current status: still overflowing.

A manhole on Remer Lane overflowed into Sugar Creek and overflowed an estimated 126,000 gallons. Current status: still overflowing.

A manhole in the 1200 block of Lake Drive overflowed an estimated 147,000 gallons in Two Mile Branch. Current status: still overflowing.

Two manholes in the 1400 block of Gornto Road have overflowed 63,000 and 21,000 gallons respectively into Sugar Creek. Current status: still overflowing.

A manhole in the 4100 block of Bemiss Road overflowed an estimated 63,000 gallons into Sugar Creek. Current status: Stopped on April 8, at 6 a.m.

As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Times visited three manholes  — Scott Drive, Remer Lane and Lake Drive,, and all three were still overflowing.

City officials have begun sampling the six locations, collecting and documenting bacteria levels, and they have posted signs downstream warning residents of the spills.

“The public is advised to avoid any contact with these areas,” the city states.

This makes the third known sewage incident this year.

After heavy rains in March, several manholes throughout the city spilled approximately 1.03 million gallons of wastewater, and a collapsed pipe 20 feet underground was discovered, releasing approximately 1.08 million gallons of wastewater.

Since 2014 began, approximately 2.61 million gallons of wastewater has been spilled into local streams and rivers.

“The City of Valdosta has multiple projects already

underway that, once complete, will identify and eliminate sources of stormwater inflow and infiltration that occur during heavy rain events and that are the cause of increased flows and wastewater surcharges in the system,” the city states.

These projects include:

he city is currently negotiating contract terms and prices to construct two new master lift stations, over six miles of force main, a new headworks structure for the future Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, and a six million gallon EQ Basin to handle stormwater inflow and infiltration into that facility at a cost of over $32 million.

Smoke testing of entire sewer collection system has been underway since early this year and will continue over the next four years.

The city plans to contract the rehabilitation of an over 1,200-foot section of an 8-inch sewer main downtown, discovered through the smoke testing process, that will eliminate stormwater inflow and infiltration in this area’s sewer main. This will be addressed and voted on at the April 10 City Council meeting.

The city recently advertised for the rehabilitation or replacement of four additional sewer lift stations.

Staff are preparing bid and advertisement documents for the rehabilitation or replacement of over 30 sewer manholes.

For more information, contact Environmental Technician Ed Strohl at (229) 412-0976 or at