Tag Archives: Henry Hicks

Valdosta receives water treatment award

Rather ironic, wouldn’t you say, what with all the problems at the other end of the water usage pipeline? This award is for treating water as it comes out of the city’s wells.

WCTV posted a City of Valdosta press release yesterday, Valdosta Receives GAWP Water Treatment Plant of the Year Award,

The City of Valdosta Water Treatment Plant has been recognized as the 2013 Water Treatment Plant of the Year by the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP).

The plant was recently evaluated by GAWP inspectors on its well field operations, chemical processes and documentation, and scored 90% or better in all areas. City staff will accept the award in the category for groundwater systems that pump over 10 million gallons daily (MGD), at the GAWP Conference in Macon, Ga., on Tuesday April 16.

“Every day,

Continue reading

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.


Continue reading

Water Plant Planning —Henry Hicks @ VCC 2013-03-07

Henry Hicks Valdosta Utilities Director Henry Hicks gave a detailed history of flood control projects and work on the Withlacoochee Waste Water Processing Plant at the Valdosta City Council Meeting last night during the "Manager's Report" section of the agenda. Several Council members expressed their distaste for the VDT’s recent reporting on the subject, and thanked Hicks and other city employees for their work.

$40 million already spent Hicks said they had spent $4 million on repairs to the Withlacoochee plant, and that didn't include the $40 million they'd already spent on upgrades in general. Also, it took three days to build the berm around the plant in 2009, and FEMA wouldn't approve any improvements to it.

He said he would Continue reading

VDT v Valdosta Re Wastewater

The VDT has apparently decided the City of Valdosta is to blame for the Withlacoochee Wastewater Woes, and has made its case in a story and two editorials. They seem to have forgotten about the overflow in 2012 already. And the VDT seems to have forgotten about it and its editor's own apparent roles in the loss of the recent SPLOST election that would have funded a new wastewater plant.

Jason Schaefer wrote for the VDT today, Money saved at river's expense: EPD investigates cause of sewage release as waters recede,

When the flooding occurred in April 2009, the City made extraordinary efforts to hold back the flooding, bringing in dirt and heavy machinery to build a berm around the influent pump station and other treatment equipment, working round the clock.

The efforts were successful. The treatment plant remained on during the duration of the flood, and Valdosta's raw sewage remained contained, though the facility incurred damages to its electrical and biological purification systems, according to Utilities Director Henry Hicks.

This year, the City opted for a different approach—cut electricity to the underwater portions of the plant, submit to the flooding and clean up afterwards.

The plant was “taken offline” Thursday at 9 a.m. “to prevent further damage to equipment and associated electrical and control systems,” according to a statement issued by the Department of the City Manager.

The City stated that as a result of the shutdown, “untreated sewage will be discharging directly into the river” at a rate of between five and six million gallons of raw sewage per day.

In addition, the floodwaters were allowed into the plant and around the remaining portions of the berm that was constructed in 2009 during the rising flood. Only half of the berm now remains, as the other half was removed to allow access to the lower portions of the plant, Hicks said.

So far, this year's response strategy seems to have saved the City money. In 2009, about $500,000 was spent in manpower, equipment and supplies to build the berm alone, and the plant, kept running, incurred significant damages though raw sewage was kept out of the river. This year, the money was not spent on the berm or to prevent the flooding, and at least 15 to 20 million gallons of raw sewage will have been released into the Withlacoochee by the time the plant is back online.

There's more in the story, which is well worth a read. Also note this inserted in the middle of the story:

Editor Kay Harris contributed to this story.

The VDT cites the EPA report, National Enforcement Initiative (FY 2011 – 2013) Keeping Raw Sewage and Contaminated Stormwater Out of Our Nation’s Waters, (more about that EPA initiative here) and continues:

Continue reading

Videos of the Withlacoochee River in flood

Here are pictures and videos of the Withlacoochee River at GA 122 18 Feb 2013 Withlacoochee River @ GA 122 27 Feb 2013 Withlacoochee River @ GA 122 on 18 February 2013 (on the left when the river was rising) and 27 February 2013 (on the right, when it was clearly in flood stage).

Pictures and videos of the Withlacoochee River at GA 122 by John S. Quarterman and Gretchen Quarterman for WWALS Watershed Coailition.

Brandon Powers for the VDT
And the Valdosta Daily Times has discovered video! VDT posted 25 February 2013, The effects of rain, which includes video of numerous locations around Lowndes County. This is all relevant to the Withlacoochee Wastewater Woes for Valdosta and Lowndes County.


Withlacoochee Wastewater Woes for Valdosta and Lowndes County

AP picked up the story about flooding at Valdosta's Withlacoochee wasterwater treatment plant, citing the VDT and the City as sources. The City of Valdosta thinks the County should contribute to replacing the plant, or maybe the legislature will authorize a municipal option sales tax (MOST).

AP in GPBNews 1 March 2013, Valdosta Treatment Plant Floods,

Authorities shut down a Valdosta wastewater treatment plant as a river flooded critical buildings and structures. The city estimates an average of 5 million to 6 million gallons of untreated sewage will discharge daily into the Withlacoochee River until the flood waters recede and the plant can resume operation. (Photo Courtesy of John S. Quarterman via Flickr.)

Authorities shut down a south Georgia wastewater treatment plant as a river flooded critical buildings and structures.

Valdosta city officials said power at the plant was shut down Thursday to prevent further damage to equipment and control systems.

The city estimates an average of 5 million to 6 million gallons of untreated sewage will discharge daily into the Withlacoochee River until the flood waters recede and the plant can resume operation.

The AP story continues, but let's cut to the sources.

Continue reading