Over the weekend, the city of Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant was over capacity due to heavy rains, resulting in intermittent sewage spills.
According to city officials, the spill was caused by large amounts of rainfall received within a 24-hour period in addition to heavy rainfall over the past two weeks.
The plant has a normal average daily flow of 3.5 million gallons, but the flow over the weekend was seven times the normal rate, coming in at 22 million gallons at its peak.
The plant’s structures were overwhelmed. According to officials, the city is working with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to design and install additional storage at the facility.
Currently, the plant has four processing units, all of which were running during the storm event, along with the excess flow equalization basin. During normal operation, the plant only runs one of the processing units.
“Sewer spills are not acceptable at any time. It has been the city’s top priority to prevent them all through the construction of the new WWTP and the Force Main, as well as the Lift Station Rehab Program, Smoke Testing Program, Annual Manhole Rehab Program, and the ongoing River Sampling Program that tests waters before, during and after
major rain events,” city spokesman Ashlyn Becton said in a statement.
According to Becton, improving the sewer system will continue to be a main priority for the city.