Valdosta sure has an effective PR mechanism, famous all the way to Florida again, for the second time this month. Most cities wouldn’t think to dump stuff into the river to get in the news! But Valdosta buried the solution at the end of a traditional press release:
“The city has planned, designed and bid a force main project and will award a $32 million contract in May that will prevent the majority of these overflows from occurring in the future.”
That would be one of the projects Valdosta will use the $36.7 million GEFA loan to fund. Other projects are related to the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), which wasn’t the culprit this time. This sewer spill came from manholes overflowing.
Winnie Wright wrote for WCTV yesterday, Over 1 Million Gallons Of Wastewater Spills Into Local Waterways,
The Florida Department of Public Health is warning residents to avoid contact with water from the Withlacoochee River.
The warning comes after the City of Valdosta reported contamination of stormwater with wastewater during this weeks’ storms.
The water will flow downstream and continue to impact other communities on the Withlachoochee River.
“We got so much rain in a short period of time, it doesn’t have time to percolate into the ground, and so it’s just standing water,” said Henry Hicks, Utilities Director for the City of Valdosta.
The City of Valdosta has reported that over one million gallons of untreated wastewater has spilled into local waterways and onto local streets. The stormwater and sewage combination was overflowing from several manholes yesterday in local neighborhoods.
“That causes a lot of water to infiltrate and flow into the sewer system which is not designed to handle that water. So, that’s why we have the overflows occurring right now, because of that large amount of rain in a short period,” said Hicks.
Florida Health‘s own website link to their PR is broken, but the link on their twitter feed works: FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH ADVISES OF POSSIBLE WASTEWATER CONTAMINATION: ~Wastewater overflow from Valdosta, GA may impact Withlacoochee River~,
TALLAHASSEE- The Florida Department of Health today issued an advisory to residents in counties surrounding the Withlacoochee river. The City of Valdosta has reported a spill, made up of a combination of storm water and untreated sewage that has overflowed into One-Mile Branch, Two-Mile Branch, Sugar Creek and Cherry Creek which flow into the Withlacoochee River.
Until further information is known regarding possible contamination of the rivers, residents are urged to take precautions when in contact with the Withlacoochee River. This includes those individuals in the counties of Hamilton and Madison.
Water contaminated by wastewater overflow presents several health hazards to humans and may contain untreated human sewage with microbes that could cause gastro-intestinal and other diseases.
Anyone who comes in contact with the river water should wash thoroughly, especially before eating or drinking. Children and older adults, as well as people with weakened immune systems, are particularly vulnerable to disease so every precaution should be taken if in contact with the river water.
For more information about the potential health effects of wastewater overflow, Floridians are encouraged to contact their local county health department. To find contact information for your county health department, please visit www.floridahealth.gov.
Colter Anstaett wrote for WALB yesterday, Valdosta sewer leakage causing concern in Florida,
The city released this statement in response to the Florida Department of Health’s warning:
“The city is very sensitive to the effects of the recent overflows on the environment and neighboring, downstream communities. During this major rain event, the city’s wastewater treatment plant remained in compliance; however, several manholes inside the city limits overflowed. All overflows have now ceased, and clean-up is underway. The city has planned, designed and bid a force main project and will award a $32 million contract in May that will prevent the majority of these overflows from occurring in the future.”
Valdosta also put out this News Release yesterday, with the solution buried at the end, City Reports All Manhole Overflows Have Ceased,
The City of Valdosta has reported that all manhole overflows that occurred since March 17 have stopped. The inflow and infiltration of stormwater into the city’s wastewater collection system resulted from the combined heavy rain fall since last weekend, completely saturated soils and abnormally high ground water tables. This influx of water caused the carrying capacity of the sewer line to be exceeded and resulted in sewer overflows at several manholes in the city.
Below are the calculated totals for all manhole overflows in the city since Monday, March 17. (Note: These are total amounts from ALL overflows resulting from this week’s event and include amounts already reported in a March 18 press release):
- A manhole in the 600 block of Scott Drive overflowed into Sugar Creek. The estimated volume of this overflow is 264,000 gallons. Overflow stopped on March 19 at 8 a.m.
- A manhole at the intersection of Mystic Street and Cypress Street overflowed. Wastewater entered the separate storm sewer system (MS4) which is a tributary to Knights Creek. The estimated volume is 69,000 gallons. Overflow stopped on March 18 at 11 a.m.
- Two manholes on the west side of Bemiss Road in the vicinity of Skipper Bridge Road overflowed. Wastewater entered Cherry Creek near Skipper Bridge Road. The estimated volume is 27,000 gallons. Overflow stopped on March 17 at 5 p.m.
- One manhole in the 2400 block of Meadowbrook Drive overflowed into Sugar Creek. The estimated volume of this overflow is 207,000 gallons. Overflow stopped on March 19 at 10:40 a.m.
- Two manholes in the 2400 block of Meadowbrook Drive overflowed into Two Mile Branch. The estimated volume from these two manholes is 3,000 gallons. Overflow stopped on March 17 at 2 p.m.
- A manhole overflowed on Lake Drive. Wastewater from this overflow entered Two Mile Branch. The estimated volume is 414,000 gallons. Overflow stopped on March 19 at 10:40 a.m.
- One manhole in the 2400 block of Meadowbrook drive overflowed into Sugar Creek. The estimated volume of this overflow is 138,000 gallons. Overflow stopped on March 19 at 10:40 a.m.
- Two manholes overflowed in the area between Remer Lane and Rouse Road. Wastewater from these manholes entered One Mile Branch. The estimated volume is 648,000 gallons. Overflow stopped on March 18 at 11 p.m.
- A residential cleanout overflowed in the 2500 block of Berkley Drive. Wastewater entered the storm water collection system and discharged to Two Mile Branch. The estimated discharge is 3,000 gallons. Overflow stopped on March 18.
Public notice signs have been posted downstream from all spill locations, and the public is advised to avoid any contact with these areas. Although, wastewater will naturally degrade over time in the environment even without treatment, city crews have been cleaning and disinfecting at these sites.
The city also reports that on March 19, at approximately 11:30 a.m., staff discovered a broken sewer main just north of a bridge on Gil Harbin Industrial Boulevard, adjacent to S. Patterson Street. A local underground contractor has been contacted to make emergency repairs to this main.
The city has planned, designed and bid a force main project and will award a $32 million contract in May that will prevent the majority of these overflows from occurring in the future. The city will also continue the smoke testing of the entire wastewater system, which began earlier this year, to identify and eliminate sources of stormwater inflow and infiltration that occurs during heavy rain events and that causes increased flows and possible wastewater surcharges in the system.
For more information, contact Environmental Manager John Waite at (229) 259-3592 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.