Tag Archives: FEMA

Hurricane Andrew was record-breaking, Irma is much worse

Seth Borenstein, NBC Miami, 8 September 2017, Hurricane Andrew Was a Monster; Irma Could Blow It Out of the Water: Andrew, “an incredible buzz saw giant tornado of a hurricane,” killed 65 people; Irma is much larger,


Satellite imagery of Hurricane Andrew (inset, at left) from Aug. 23, 1992, is digitally superimposed, to scale, over imagery of Hurricane Irma on Sept. 7, 2017.
Photo credit: NOAA

At the time, Andrew was the costliest hurricane in U.S. history with damages of $26.5 billion in 1992 dollars (about $50 billion in current dollars), according to the National Weather Service.

“The effect of Irma on the state of Florida is going to be much greater than Andrew’s effect,” said Continue reading

Valdosta and Army Corps of Engineers in Flood Risk Management Study

First public update since May: Valdosta has had several recent meetings with other governmental groups and has agreed to co-fund a flooding study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

WCTV has also picked up Valdosta PR 23 July 2013, City Enters Agreement with USACE for Flood Risk Management Study,

The City of Valdosta hosted a Regional Flood Preparedness meeting with the Georgia Silver Jackets on June 25—a continuation of discussions that began earlier in the year focused on regional interests and on maximizing area resources.

Representatives from the cities of Moultrie, Sylvester, Tifton and Valdosta and from the counties of Lowndes and Turner attended the meeting to discuss current and future flood monitoring and forecasting issues throughout the Little River and Withlacoochee River watersheds. These two watersheds are part of the overall Suwannee Basin that is approximately 10,000 square miles in Georgia and Florida.

Among other information shared, Continue reading

Valdosta Plans Flooding Discussions

Valdosta is finally announcing the 11 April 2013 watershed-wide flooding meeting organized by the Army Corps of Engineers.

WCTV yesterday carried a press release from the City of Valdosta; PR which, oddly, does not appear to be on the city’s website. I have added a few links. Prominently missing from the PR is any mention of water quality, the Floridan Aquifer, or sinkholes. -jsq

The City of Valdosta initiated planning discussions recently that brought together representatives from key local, state and federal agencies to seek solutions to a regional flood issue.

The 50-year flood event that occurred in late February, early March 2013 was a vivid reminder of the 2009 flood event that significantly impacted south Georgia. Since 2009, the city has worked to help identify potential causes and the scope and area of the regional flooding that occurred. This information has been shared with various state and federal officials and agencies in the hopes of gaining their interest and support to work together to address the regional flooding. Since Valdosta is located

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Watershed meeting organized by Army Corps of Engineers

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) didn’t know there was a large water problem hereabouts, but now they do, and they want to take a watershed-wide approach, from the headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico, including both surface water and aquifer issues, perhaps starting with redrawing FEMA’s flood maps, and maybe even including once again funding the state water council.

Thursday 11 April 2013 there was a rather large governmental meeting organized by USACE in response to the City of Valdosta’s request of 11 March 2103. Yesterday, Valdosta City Council District 5 Tim Carroll sent the appended list of attendees, augmented by a conversation with him on the phone 13 April and a blog comment by him later that same day on the original post on the WWALS blog, in which he also remarked:

Very good preliminary meeting that hopefully will yield real action on our region wide water issues. Thanks for sharing this info with WWALS.
We know little else, because no media or private citizens were invited.

  • USACE Savannah office: Jeff Morris, Georgia Silver Jackets Coordinator and Beth Williams, Hydraulic Engineer
  • USACE Jacksonville office: David Apple, Chief, Watershed and Restoration Planning Section
  • GADNR: Christopher Hill and Tom Shillock, GAEPD Floodplain Management Unit
  • GEMA: Dee Langley, Planning Program Manager and Terry Lunn, Director, Hazard Mitigation Division
  • GEMA: Gary Rice – Regional Field Coordinator
  • USGS: Brian McCallum, Supv. Hydrologist/ADir and Keith McFadden, Physical Scientist
  • FEMA Region 4: Susan Wilson, CFM, Floodplain Management and Insurance Branch Chief and Janice Mitchell, Insurance Specialist and Lender Compliance

Those state and national agencies were brought by:

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Valdosta PR about wastewater issues

The city of Valdosta responds. I have decorated this PR with a few images with links, and a few comments after it. -jsq

Mayor and Council Address Recent Wastewater Issues,

The Valdosta Mayor and City Council are committed to providing quality municipal services that meet the expectations of our citizens. In addition to providing fire and police protection and other beneficial quality of life services, the city leadership is equally committed to providing adequate water and wastewater treatment services to its citizens, maintaining a functioning sewer collection system and discharging treated water in an environmentally responsible manner.

Recently, citizens have been inundated with information about the current state of the city’s wastewater treatment plant and sewer collection system, as well as the decisions made during the recent flood event. The following information is provided to explain the recent event and to help citizens better understand these important issues and the dedicated work of their elected officials and municipal staff.

THE SITUATION

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Spilling Sewage Pictures by Gabe Fisher 3:30 PM 24 March 2013

Received yesterday. -jsq

Date: Sun, 24 Mar 2013 15:43:47 -0400

Manhole

All, just so everyone is on the same page- the sewer line is currently spilling sewage. It just started at mu house but has been going strong at sugar creek for awhile by the looks of it. Here are some current pictures as of 3:30 today. It will get worse until the river crests..

Gabe

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More Valdosta wastewater correspondence

Some interesting questions have come up in Gabe Fisher's continuing correspondence with the City of Valdosta about sewage in his back yard and under his house, while City Council Tim Carroll continues to respond, both copying a long list of people.

From: Gabe Fisher
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013 14:23:12 -0500

All, I appreciate the update on where the city stands on moving the sewer all together—I just wish we had been kept informed of the plans over the last 4 years. Living with the *real* threat of flooding is stressful enough, add in the guaranteed associated sewage spill is more than I can handle.

I also appreciate the city workers spreading lime and working on the sewer line behind my house today. But I have questions—What about the sewage in my yard and under my house? Is this my responsibility?

Thanks, Gabe

Tim Carroll responded with a couple of suggestions:

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Valdosta Neighborhood Covered In Raw Sewage —WCTV

Valdosta Flooding As he indicated yesterday, Gabe Fisher got his sewage-covered neighborhood on WCTV last night.

Greg Gullberg wrote for WCTV yesterday, Valdosta Neighborhood Covered In Raw Sewage,

Chad Harrison After days of torrential rain, the same rain that caused the rivers to flood, the sewage pump has been overwhelmed in the Meadow Brook Subdivison just off Gornto Road.

“You know how bad it smells in a bathroom when someone goes in and uses a public restroom. Multiple that ten times,” said Chad Harrison, a local resident.

Greg Gullberg The whole area behind their houses is just covered in raw sewage. Your boots sink down into it with every step. We’re talking everything from human waste, to toilet paper, to hygiene products and a whole other list of things that are just too graphic to mention.

“Probably about 12 to 14 inches of raw sewage,” said Harrison. “It’s just everywhere. It’s all up and down the creek. It’s all behind everybody’s houses.”

House There’s more in the WCTV story, such as that the city has included neighbors in meetings, but has not yet changed anything. The city’s PR about the flooding says:

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Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant Fully Operational

Received today. -jsq

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release #03-13-02
March 3, 2013

Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant Fully Operational

Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant At approximately 1:30 p.m. today, March 3, the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant was brought online and returned to normal operation, after a loss of function for only three days compared to the nine days of complete loss of function experienced in the flood of 2009. Today, the river receded to the point where the temporary by-pass pumps could be connected to the existing valves. The system was turned on, became fully operational and began full treatment capabilities.

Lessons learned from the 2009 flood resulted in proactive measures which include the following:

  • The installation of bypass pumps, pipes and valves to utilize in the event of an emergency or act of God.
  • In 2009, the berm only protected the pump station, which did not prevent flooding of the chemical building, the chlorine contact building, the filters and the belt presses. The plant's electrical system was destroyed in the flooded area and the filters and belt presses were inoperable.
  • In this event, the electric system, chlorine cylinders, de-chlorination system and all flooded areas were turned off to avoid the damage that was experienced in 2009.
  • In this event, the biological, natural occurring bacteria that are used in the treatment process were saved so that the system could treat wastewater immediately when it was turned back on. In 2009, the natural occurring bacteria were washed out of the plant as a result of the continuous pumping during the event.
  • In this event, the plant was fully operational in three days. In 2009, the plant had a complete loss of function for nine days and was not fully operational for over a month.

The city's drinking water supply is in no way

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The WWTP is firing back up as we speak. —Tim Carroll

Tim Carroll’s response to Gabe Fisher. -jsq

Gabe,

I know you are frustrated and pissed. My hope was with the info below all could see the city has not just been idly sitting by. What has been so frustrating for us is that our biggest problem is outside of the city limits.

As discussed below, we are about 90% complete on the design for the big force main project. Once completed it will eliminate the sewage spills during high rain events in your neighborhood.

Just spoke with Larry Hanson and the WWTP is firing back up as we speak. Soon you should start seeing the current spills end as the system is brought fully back up and running.

Something I might add we could not have done so quickly had we not taken the steps we did these past several days.

In regards to clean up —

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