Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

March 2, 2013

What’s worth more?

-- — Four years ago, the City of Valdosta went to extraordinary lengths to keep the Withlacoochee River from overtaking the wastewater treatment plant, organizing sandbag brigades, recruiting hundreds of volunteers from the community and Moody Air Force Base and city officials personally monitored the situation 24/7 until it was resolved. At the time, a plant failure and subsequent sewage discharge was deemed “catastrophic” if it were to occur.

The city has tried to obtain grant money to move the plant and improve the sewer infrastructure, but has done little to ensure a repeat of the 2009 event. So when it occurred again this week, the city took the plant offline on purpose and let the raw sewage flow into the river, at a rate of 5 to 6 million gallons daily. There was no attempt to rebuild the berm so urgently built four years ago.

There has been no statement concerning potential health effects from the millions of gallons of raw sewage poured into the river.

City officials stated that the decision was a monetary one. Councilman Tim Carroll sent a statement to the Times Saturday to lend his support to officials, saying “in the long run it will be less costly to the tax payers. Plus we will be able to more quickly bring it back on line when waters recede,” echoing the utilities director, who acknowledged that the berm was successful in 2009 but expensive.

The city received money from GEMA following the flood in 2009 to reimburse them for costs associated with the damaged plant, but it was far short of the amount needed to rebuild it on higher ground.

So this year, they let the waters into the plant, didn’t try to stop the river from encroaching, and let the sewage flow untreated from 80 percent of the city, including the hospital, into the Withlacoochee River.

When questioned about the reasoning for not protecting the plant from flooding this time, the only answers have been about money. Perhaps if more of the plant is damaged now, FEMA will approve the funding to move and rebuild it. In the long run, the cost benefits of letting it flood and being able to replace it were weighed against environmental harm, and the river lost.

In four short years, dumping raw sewage went from a potential catastrophe to a barely noticed non-issue. In the long run, the community will have to decide if it was worth it.

Text Only
What We Think
  • Countdown for voter apathy

    If you don’t think your vote counts, talk to Ellis Black and John Page today.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vote to remove signs

    Congratulations to the winners in the primary runoff election Tuesday.

    July 23, 2014

  • Runoff election counts today

    Today is an election day that started just a little more than two months ago.

    July 21, 2014

  • PSST! Only one week left

    Peach State Summer Theatre enters its final week of performances for the 2014 season. This means there are only a few more opportunities left to see “Mary Poppins,” “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” and “42nd Street.”

    July 20, 2014

  • The wisdom of animals

    Animals may be smarter than us. If you don’t think so take a look at how we humans deal with the oppressive heat of summer. Compare our activities with those of animals.

    July 19, 2014

  • Welcoming home the ‘Unseen Project’

    Two months ago, they embarked on an ambitious endeavor: Two friends, riding on motorcycles criss-crossing the United States, followed by a film crew, on a faith-based tour to find America the Unseen.

    July 17, 2014

  • A downtown church’s faith

    First Baptist Church made a leap of faith this past weekend.

    July 16, 2014

  • Overpass has double potential

    They say it will be here sooner than we think.

    July 16, 2014

  • Precautions for what’s left of summer

    Summer is a time of rest, vacations and trips. It is a time when school is out, when people take time off from work, when people may stay out a little later. It is a time of swimming, trying new things, and seeking adventure.

    July 14, 2014

  • Golf tourney battles cancer

    Battling cancer seems a never-ending war. Yet, for anyone who has ever had cancer, for anyone who has a friend or relative who has struggled against cancer, it is a battle worth waging.

    July 13, 2014

Top News

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results