Another sewage overflow after FEMA finally decides about Valdosta wastewater plant

Since the floods of 2009 Valdosta had been waiting on FEMA to say whether it would grant some funding for improving the wastewater treatment plant that flooded then. Finally, FEMA gave a decision, no, which allowed the Valdosta City Council to choose another path. But not in time for improvements before the same plant had another wastewater overflow.

WCTV posted PR from the City of Valdosta of 17 August 2012, Major Sewage Overflow from Withlacoochee Water Pollution Control Plant,

At approximately 1 a.m. on Aug. 16, 2012, the pumps in the Influent Pump Station of the Withlacoochee Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) stopped working.

An emergency bypass pump system was placed into service at 12:45 a.m., on Aug. 17; and as a result, the sewer spills are no longer occurring. Contractors are currently on site investigating the cause of the failure, which has not yet been determined, while also making necessary repairs to the damaged equipment.

Sewer overflows were recorded at the following locations within the sewer collection system:

  • A manhole on Meadowbrook Drive, which overflowed into the Sugar Creek;
  • A manhole near Exit 18, which overflowed into Withlacoochee; and,
  • A manhole located on Meadowbrook Drive, which did not enter the waterways.

Based on the average daily flow for the Withlacoochee WPCP during current operating conditions [ 8.0 MGD] the combined amount of sewage spilled at these locations on Aug. 16 is estimated to be approximately five million gallons, constituting a major spill. Clean up and disinfection at affected spill locations are currently underway, and warning signs have been posted at these spill sites and at downstream public access points.

Following the FEMA denial of the City of Valdosta’s Hazard Mitigation Claim to relocate the Withlacoochee WPCP to a higher location outside the current 100-year flood plain, the Valdosta City Council approved a 100% design for a new pump station force main project at their Aug. 9 meeting. The relocation of the current WPCP will eliminate this problematic pump station, as well as future sewer overflows in the areas listed above.

Questions regarding this major spill may be directed to Environmental Manager John Waite at (229) 259-3592 or or the city’s Public Information Office at (229) 259-3548.