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More than 9 million gallons spill in Withlacoochee River

City of Valdosta
Posted at 1:19 PM, Feb 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-27 07:55:14-05

VALDOSTA, Ga. -- Due to the heavy rain, Valdosta city officials say more than nine million gallons of water from a waste-water treatment plant have spilled into the Withlacoochee River.

The spill happened over the two day period of February 22-23. The Valdosta area received about six inches of rain. As stormwater poured into the sanitary sewer collection system, it created a high-flow condition at the wastewater treatment plants. As a result of the high flow at the Withlacoochee Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP), the secondary system experienced a hydraulic overload that resulted in secondary solids spilling into the river.

The total suspended solids result from the effluent sample collected on Saturday, Feb. 23 was 172 milligrams per liter.  This is greater than 1.5 times the seven day average allowed by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System  permit, which constitutes a major spill. 

The volume of the major spill into the Withlacoochee River is the total flow for Feb. 23, which is 9,047,000 gallons. 

City of Valdosta officials say that changes are coming that will prevent spills like this from happening again. They are currently redesigning their pump stations and force mains to reduce the effects of river flooding on the collection system. They are also moving the WPCP to a higher elevation to prevent future flooding.

The City of Valdosta is currently seeking revenue sources to allow the completion of these necessary projects.

Upstream and downstream sampling of the Withlacoochee River is being initiated on Feb. 25.  For more information, contact Environmental Manager John Waite at 229-259-3592 or at jwaite@valdostacity.com.