Elsa leaves sewer spills in her wake

Accident of water supply, sewerage. Water flows from hatch of road sewage system. Dirty sewer flows down fountain along road. Water flows from hatch. Fountain flows down road from sewer
Photo by ALesik on Deposit Photos

VALDOSTA — Tropical Storm Elsa brought rain and sewage overflows to Valdosta Wednesday.

According to city officials, the City of Valdosta received more than three inches of rain from Tropical Storm Elsa in addition to about nine inches of rain received during the past two weeks. These rain events saturated the ground causing inflow and infiltration into the sanitary sewer system. The excess flow exceeded the capacity of the collection system causing intermittent sewage spills at several manholes.

On Wednesday the city identified seven seven locations in which these overflows occurred:

  • 800 Block of Gornto Road = 43,350 gallons
  • 200 Block of MLK Dr. = 320 gallons
  • 800 Block of E Brookwood Dr. = 90 gallons
  • 1200 Block of Wainwright Dr. = 37,500 gallons
  • 2700 Block of Berkley Dr. = 2,182 gallons
  • 1200 Block of Lee Street (A) = 4,125 gallons
  • 1200 Block of Lee Street (B) = 2,733 gallons

City staff began monitoring the impacted areas, as well as cleanup and disinfecting at the overflow locations. All appropriate regulatory and public health agencies have been notified, and warning signs have been posted at all the spill locations.

Officials say preventing sewer spills has 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 before, during and after major rain events, 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 as well. These programs are designed to specifically check each manhole and/or sewer line on or near water to verify proper operation, and go door to door to insure each house has their cleanout cap installed and the cleanout is in working order. 

For more information, contact the Utilities Department Environmental Manager Scott Fowler at 229-259-3592 or sfowler@valdostacity.com.

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