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
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
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
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.
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.
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..
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
Tim Carroll responded with a couple of suggestions:
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.
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
“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
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.
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.
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.