Valdosta Daily Times

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April 8, 2014

City reports no spills or permit violations at plants, some local manhole overflows

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta area received almost four inches of rain from 3 p.m. on April 7 through 6 a.m. on April 8, resulting in completely saturated soils and causing abnormally high ground water tables. The city’s wastewater treatment plants remained in compliance and effectively processed the excess flows at the facilities. However, ongoing inflow and infiltration of stormwater into the wastewater collection system due to the saturated soils and high ground water table caused manhole overflows in several areas of the city, on April 7.


As of 8 a.m. on April 8, five of the six overflows were still ongoing, and below are the estimates calculated for each. 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.


Upstream and downstream sampling has begun in the above locations to collect and document bacteria levels in the various impacted waterways. Public notice signs have been posted downstream from all spill locations, and the public is advised to avoid any contact with these areas. A follow-up report will be issued once all spills have stopped.


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 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 6 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


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