Wastewater treatment plant is up and running - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Wastewater treatment plant is up and running

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

Valdosta's wastewater treatment plant is back to normal, after being out of commission for several days because of flooding.

Flood waters are receding and officials were able to bring the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant back online Sunday afternoon.

It was closed on Friday after the river flooded the plant and millions of gallons of sewage was sent into the Withlacoochee River.

The city wants to build a new facility on higher ground, but FEMA won't give money for the project and Lowndes County voters defeated a sales tax extension that would have provided money for it.

 

News release from the City of Valdosta:

Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant Fully Operational

At approximately 1:30 p.m. today, March 3, the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant was brought online and returned to normal operation, after a loss of function for only three days compared to the nine days of complete loss of function experienced in the flood of 2009.  Today, the river receded to the point where the temporary by-pass pumps could be connected to the existing valves.  The system was turned on, became fully operational and began full treatment capabilities.

Lessons learned from the 2009 flood resulted in proactive measures which include the following:

  • The installation of bypass pumps, pipes and valves to utilize in the event of an emergency or act of God.
  • In 2009, the berm only protected the pump station, which did not prevent flooding of the chemical building, the chlorine contact building, the filters and the belt presses.  The plant's electrical system was destroyed in the flooded area and the filters and belt presses were inoperable.
  • In this event, the electric system, chlorine cylinders, de-chlorination system and all flooded areas were turned off to avoid the damage that was experienced in 2009.
  • In this event, the biological, natural occurring bacteria that are used in the treatment process were saved so that the system could treat wastewater immediately when it was turned back on.  In 2009, the natural occurring bacteria were washed out of the plant as a result of the continuous pumping during the event.
  • In this event, the plant was fully operational in three days.  In 2009, the plant had a complete loss of function for nine days and was not fully operational for over a month.

The city's drinking water supply is in no way affected by the recent flood event.  The Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant flooded in its current location in the unincorporated area of Lowndes County, which is at the bottom of a 1,500 square mile drainage basin and the source of most of the flood waters received at the plant and throughout the city.  The city's Water Treatment Plant is located on Guest Road, over 15 miles northeast of the Withlacoochee Wastewater Plant, and the river flows south from the Wastewater Treatment Plant.  There is no known connection between the Withlacoochee River south of the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Floridan Aquifer, where the City of Valdosta withdraws its drinking water for its citizens.  Furthermore, the city's seven wells, which withdraw the water from the aquifer 300 feet below the surface, are located near the Water Treatment Plant, adjacent to and within Freedom Park.

With the flood waters beginning to recede, the city has initiated cleanup efforts in low-lying and flooded areas, which include disinfection where necessary.  Cleanup efforts will continue for several days or until all affected areas have been disinfected and cleaned. Until then, the city continues to encourage the public to avoid any contact with the flood waters for their health and safety. 

 

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