Heavy rain in Valdosta causes more sewage spills - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Heavy rain in Valdosta causes more sewage spills

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VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

People in a Valdosta neighborhood are dealing with a second major sewage spill in a month following more heavy rain over the weekend.

The city has a plan to prevent future spills. But even if they come up with the money, the problem won't be solved anytime soon.

WALB News Ten's Lydia Jennings spoke to fed up residents in the Meadow Brook Drive community.

The only way to get through Gabe Fisher's back yard right now is on a four-wheeler. With 400,000 gallons of sewage spilled in the Meadow Brook Drive neighborhood yesterday, residents are left wondering if the spills will ever stop.

"I have an 8 and a 10-year-old son who can't even play in their own yard. We had not even a substantial rain, and its happened again. And this is going to continue to happen every single time we have any amount of rain until this is addressed," said Fisher.

Through a gate, Fisher's backyard is just a few steps away from the sewer main.

Fisher shot video of yesterday's spill. He says every time there's excessive rain, the sewer main overflows -- leaving products like toilet paper draped over the trees and bushes.

"We're going to put our trust in the city to make the right decisions but something has to start and we have to see action soon; this can't just continue to happen," said Fisher.

But it may take another two years until the city can solve the issue. City leaders have applied for a $32-million loan from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority to build a new force main that will send the sewage under pressure to the new elevated plant, which will eliminate sewage spills.

"I sympathize with the people there, it's not a good situation. But you know there's nothing we can do until we get one step at a time. Once we had that denial from FEMA that they weren't going to fund it, then we immediately moved forward," said Utilities Director, Henry Hicks.

Hicks hopes to have the project bid on and start construction this summer.

FEMA has denied the city's requests for money for the project. City leaders say voters need to pass a SPLOST referendum in November so they can pay off the loan from GEFA and have money to move the wastewater treatment plant to higher ground.

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