City of Valdosta
On Saturday, March 23, 2013 heavy rains moved through the Valdosta/Lowndes County area with accumulations of nearly five inches in some areas of the City. Stormwater from these rains entered the sanitary sewer collection system and overloaded the collection and treatment system. As a result of continuing high flow, the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment facility discharged a total suspended solids concentration of 70 milligrams per liter (mg/l) on March 24, 2013. This is in excess of 1½ times the permitted maximum concentration, which constitutes a “major spill” as defined by the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and by State law. The volume of the major spill is the total flow through the facility for March 24, 2013, which is 12,917,000 gallons.
On August 9, 2012 the Mayor and City Council approved a contract for the design of the Withlacoochee Plant pump stations, force main, equalization basin and Plant headworks, as well as a find-and-fix program for leaking sewers—all of which will resolve the issue of sewer overflows in the low lying areas along Sugar Creek and the first portions of the new Treatment Plant. Later in 2012, the City applied for a GEFA loan for $32 million. This project will be bid in June of this year, and completion is anticipated in August, 2014. The City will also issue the Design/Build RFP for the relocation of the Withlacoochee Plant within the next few months, which is expected to cost $20 million and be completed by August, 2015.
On March 22, 2013, the City of Valdosta issued a Press Release titled “Mayor and Council Address Recent Wastewater Issues”. This Press Release gives greater detail concerning the infrastructure improvement efforts made over the past few years and the plans for the immediate future. The Press Release is available on the City of Valdosta web site at www.valdostacity.com.
Due to the possibility of high bacteria counts the public is advised to avoid contact with area streams, especially Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River, for the next seven days.
Questions concerning these overflows may be directed to John Waite, Environmental Manager, at 229-259-3592 or firstname.lastname@example.org.