On Thursday, July 6th, 2023, a City of Valdosta employee observed a wastewater overflow near the 1800 block of East Park Avenue. Upon investigation, it was determined that the cause of the spill was a bypass pumping operation installation and unknown sediment blockage. The Utilities Department continues to work around the clock to adjust and remove blockages to prevent spills and repair the collapsed sewer main. An estimated 194,251 gallons of wastewater was released into the wetland watershed area of Knights Creek. Staff immediately began cleanup and disinfecting at the overflow location. All appropriate regulatory and public health agencies have been notified, and warning signs are posted.
Preventing sewer spills has been, and will continue to be, the city’s top priority through the ongoing Collection System Rehab Program, which includes Manhole Rehab, the Smoke Testing Program, Sewer Main Lining, and Sewer Main Replacement. In addition, the Utilities Department has an ongoing River Sampling Program that tests waters at different locations down the Withlacoochee River and has continued to install generators at the lift stations to ensure uninterrupted operation during power failures.
In addition to the programs listed above, in 2020, the Utilities Department initiated two additional programs, The “Creek Crossing” program and the “Cap the Cleanout” program, to help locate Infiltration and Inflow in the Collection System. These programs are designed to specifically check each manhole and/or sewer line on or near water to verify proper operation and to ensure each house has its cleanout cap installed and the cleanout is in working order.
The city will continue its ongoing efforts to improve the infrastructure of the sewer system to eliminate these issues in the future. For more information, contact the City of Valdosta Utilities Department, Environmental Division at 229-259-3592.