“Into every life, a little rain must fall.”
This old adage is meant metaphorically. That each person will face troubles in their lifetime. Sometimes, the metaphor becomes literal.
While the rains may have ended in our region Monday night, they continued falling as they moved north. Three days of sunshine and clear skies later, the combination of what fell here and what fell to the north and flowed south converged.
On a bright Thursday morning, several Valdosta and Lowndes County residents faced calamity. Rising waters threatened their houses and businesses. Authorities helped some people evacuate. Others held their breath as water flowed closer to properties, flooding yards and roadways.
For many residents, Thursday was a nightmarish deja vu of the 2009 floods that caused thousands of dollars of property damage in various areas throughout Valdosta. Many of these same people could only watch helplessly Thursday as the houses they had repaired from flooding four years ago were swamped in water again.
Meanwhile, throughout the week, the rising Withlacoochee River has caused sewage from the City of Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant to spill into the waterway. From Monday to Thursday, more than 15 million gallons of partially treated wastewater and an estimated five million gallons of raw sewage had flowed from the overwhelmed city treatment plant — the same 40-year-old plant that has deteriorated to a point where portions of the operation can no longer operate on the best of days.
While we can all consider that old saying about a little rain falling into each life as a warning that troubles are inevitable, city leaders should have long ago grasped that it also serves as cautionary advice.
Through experience, the city should have known that areas flooded in 2009 may flood again at some future date when faced with similar conditions. These conditions returned this week, but nothing has been done in the past four years to halt a repeat of the 2009 flooding.
Also, since that flood, the city knew the wastewater treatment plant could no longer withstand heavy rains and a non-stop influx of rising waters. Given the plant’s aging infrastructure, the city may also face environmental penalties in the form of tainted waterways and payments to the feds until the problem is resolved.
These situations remind us of another old, yet appropriate, quote.
Before he was the 34th American President, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the supreme commander of Allied Forces in World War II. He oversaw the operations of D-Day, the most massive invasion in human history. Eisenhower said, “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
A better plan may not have resolved the issues faced by the city and within the city this week, but better planning may have had officials and residents better prepared for an occasion when more than a little rain fell.
“Into every life, a little rain must fall.”
- What We Think
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pennsylvania school stabbings: Why?
The following editorial appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday, April 10:
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.
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.
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.
Too many pinwheels
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, with numerous volunteers assisting the Child Advocacy Center in placing pinwheels on the lawn of the Valdosta City Hall. Each pinwheel represents one child that was a victim of abuse in 2013. Volunteers placed 887 pinwheels in remembrance.
Take some kid time this week
Spring break returns this week for many South Georgia schools. Both Valdosta and Lowndes County school systems are out through the week for the traditional spring break.
- More What We Think Headlines
- If I were mayor