AP picked up the story about flooding at Valdosta's Withlacoochee wasterwater treatment plant, citing the VDT and the City as sources. The City of Valdosta thinks the County should contribute to replacing the plant, or maybe the legislature will authorize a municipal option sales tax (MOST).AP in GPBNews 1 March 2013, Valdosta Treatment Plant Floods,
Authorities shut down a Valdosta wastewater treatment plant as a river flooded critical buildings and structures. The city estimates an average of 5 million to 6 million gallons of untreated sewage will discharge daily into the Withlacoochee River until the flood waters recede and the plant can resume operation. (Photo Courtesy of John S. Quarterman via Flickr.)
VALDOSTA, Ga. —
Authorities shut down a south Georgia wastewater treatment plant as a river flooded critical buildings and structures.
Valdosta city officials said power at the plant was shut down Thursday to prevent further damage to equipment and control systems.
The city estimates an average of 5 million to 6 million gallons of untreated sewage will discharge daily into the Withlacoochee River until the flood waters recede and the plant can resume operation.
The AP story continues, but let's cut to the sources.
Valdosta News 28 February 2013, Public Notice of Major Spill,
Over the two day period of Feb. 22-27, 2013, the Valdosta area received 8 to 10 inches of rain. Inflow and infiltration of stormwater into the sanitary sewer collection system have caused high flow conditions at the wastewater treatment plants. The high flow at the Withlacoochee Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) caused a hydraulic overload of the secondary system with a resulting loss of secondary solids into the plant effluent. As stated in yesterday's public notice, this condition is expected to continue until the Withlacoochee River drops below flood level.
The total suspended solids result from the effluent sample collected on February 26th was 290 milligrams per liter. This is greater than 1.5 times the seven day average allowed by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, which constitutes a major spill. The volume of the major spill into the Withlacoochee River is the total flow for Feb. 26, which is 15,173,000 gallons. As stated previously, we expect the treatment plant to remain in violation until the River levels drop below flood conditions.
Some manholes along the Withlacoochee Interceptor line and trunk lines feeding the interceptor are now under flood water. Inflow from the flood will continue to cause high flow at the treatment plant until the flood waters recede.
The City of Valdosta is currently having a system of pump stations and force mains designed that will replace the existing 52” gravity main that runs along the river basin to deliver flow to the Withlacoochee WPCP. This will greatly reduce the effects of river flooding on the collection system. The City is also having a new headworks facility and equalization basin designed for the Withlacoochee WPCP that will reduce the effect of inflow and infiltration on the plant processes. Both of these designs are 60% complete.
During the federally declared disaster flood of 2009, one-third of the Withlacoochee facility was under flood waters. The City of Valdosta plans to move the facility to a higher elevation to prevent future flooding. This move will allow the plant to be completely redesigned and re-built.
These three projects should remove the potential for hydraulic overflow due to inflow and infiltration in the future. 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 has started. If you need further information please contact Environmental Manager John Waite at (229) 259-3592 or at email@example.com.
Valdosta News 28 February 2013, Withlacoochee WPCP Off Line Until Waters Recede,
On Feb. 28, 2013, at approximately 9 a.m., the Withlacoochee Wastewater Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) was taken off line as the Withlacoochee River continued to rise and began flooding critical buildings and structures at this facility. Power to these buildings and structures was shut off to prevent further damage to equipment and associated electrical and control systems. As a result, an estimated 5 to 6 million gallons of untreated sewage will be discharging directly into the river each day until the flood waters recede and the treatment plant can be returned to normal operation.
It is expected that sewer service to customers in this facility's service area will continue uninterrupted. However, it is possible that some customers in extreme low lying areas could experience slower than normal flow into the sewer system. Signs have been posted along the river, and citizens should avoid fishing, boating, swimming or any contact with river water until the flood waters recede and the treatment plant returns to normal operation.
Upstream and downstream bacteriological sampling has been ongoing and will continue until the emergency is over.
For more information, contact Environmental Manager John Waite at (229) 259-3592 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Schaefer wrote for the VDT 28 February 2013, Withlacoochee flooding causes major treatment plant spill: Safety hazards expected to continue until waters recede
The eight to 10 inches of rain coupled with rainwater from upstream caused the Withlacoochee River to swell to high flow conditions Wednesday afternoon, causing a major wastewater spill at the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant.
At the plant, floodwaters continued to rise and encroach onto plant property Wednesday afternoon, causing inflow of an effluent pipe that runs downhill into the river. Workers on scene guessed the floodwaters were rising at about four to six inches per hour, and they did not expect them to recede soon.
The City expects inflow into the system and the major spill of wastewater to continue until the floodwaters recede, according to a statement from the office of the City Manager.
The waters should rise another seven feet in the next two to three days, reaching levels about the same as those experienced during the 2009 flood, according to Utilities Director Henry Hicks.
The inflow has placed low-lying portions of the sewer system and plant completely underwater, spreading contaminants into the river. While Valdosta's drinking water will not be affected by the conditions, swimming, fishing and boating along the river have been deemed unsafe until the river recedes.
The VDT story goes on about how it will be almost as bad as the flood of 2009, and the city needs to replace the 40-year-old plant, adding:
The city is hoping to rebuild and relocate the plant as it is now operating outside limits set for water quality. City officials are in negotiations with county officials to split a potential SPLOST to give the city a much larger percentage of the money that would be collected from the one cent tax.
The City has also worked through the local legislative delegation to see if they can put a MOST, or municipal option sales tax, on the ballot in November or next year, in case SPLOST fails again or the county and other municipalities are unwilling to donate a portion of their share to the city.
It is curious how Valdosta seems always wanting the county to donate to the city. However, Lowndes County may want to remember that much of the county is downstream of that plant, not to mention parts of Florida.
The story continues.