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FDH extends health advisory to multiple Big Bend counties following sewage spill

Recent tests show high levels of E. Coli contamination
Sewage (generic)
Posted at 10:22 AM, Jan 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 10:22:55-05

MADISON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — The Florida Department of Health has issued an additional health advisory for residents near the Withlacoochee River and parts of the Suwannee River following last month's 7.5 million gallon sewage spill.

On December 9, 2019, the City of Valdosta reported that 7.5 million gallons of untreated sewage had spilled from a manhole and into spilled into Sugar Creek.

Since then, the spillage has impacted water quality of Sugar Creek and, most recently, the Withlacoochee River.

FDH says the flow of the spill has been slower than expected due to low amount of recent rainfall. Now, they say the contaminated water is expected to enter parts of the Suwannee River and will continue to impact residents living in Hamilton, Madison and Suwannee counties.

Health officials say the advisory for the Suwannee River will be from where the Withlacoochee River connects down to County Road 250.

At this time, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is conducting water sampling. In the meantime, warning signs have been posted at the spill area to advise the public to avoid any contact with the water.

Until further notice, people in the area are urged to take precautions when in contact with the Withlacoochee and parts of the Suwannee Rivers. Monday, a sampling of the Withlacoochee River, showed high levels of E. Coli.

Health officials say anyone who comes in contact with the river water should wash thoroughly, especially before eating and drinking.