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.

1
Text Only
What We Think
  • Thumbs up

    THUMBS UP: To Carol Mikkelsen. Valdosta State University Opera’s “Dido and Aeneas” marks the last production before Mikkelsen’s retirement
    after 44 years with Valdosta State and the creation of the opera program. She plans to continue
    working with VSU part-time, but this weekend’s performance marks her last full-time participation with the opera productions. Ovations all around for her work.

    April 18, 2014

  • Feed the hungry, adopt a duck

    If you haven’t already adopted a duck, you have a little more than a week to do so.

    April 17, 2014

  • If I were mayor

    Each year, the City of Valdosta holds an essay contest, “If I Were Mayor,” with students in the area writing their ideas about what they would do as the head of the city.

    April 16, 2014

  • The real lessons of a mock drill

    Valdosta High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions held a powerful mock demonstration Monday morning on the school’s campus.

    April 14, 2014

  • Kudos to VPD

    Followed by a stellar report on Sunday about the drop in the crime rate in the City of Valdosta, city police officers prove their worth once again by arresting a dangerous fugitive in our community.

    April 13, 2014

  • It just plain stinks

    After every rain event, the pungent smell of sewage can be detected around the rivers and streams of south Georgia, and Florida residents brace for more to float their way.

    April 13, 2014

  • Pennsylvania school stabbings: Why?

    The following editorial appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday, April 10:

    April 11, 2014

  • European bans on emails unlikely in America

    Several European countries are banning work emails to employees before and after normal working hours, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., in an effort to curb the perceived abuse of employees by corporations.

    April 11, 2014

  • Strength of character

    It was an unusual friendship — a tiny 8-year old girl with long blonde hair and the 6’10” Michigan State basketball player.

    April 10, 2014

  • Daly’s return a boost for Valdosta

    Flashy, colorful and always a hit with the fans for his long drives and humble demeanor, John Daly’s return to Kinderlou Forest and the South Georgia Classic is a boon for Valdosta.

    April 9, 2014

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