Valdosta sewer main leaking hundreds of gallons per minute -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta sewer main leaking hundreds of gallons per minute

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Valdosta Wastewater Treatment Plant Valdosta Wastewater Treatment Plant
Sementha Matthews Sementha Matthews

Tens of thousands of gallons of sewage are pouring out of a broken Valdosta sewer main and into a swamp East of town.
The leak is in an area between South Blanchard Street and Howell Road. It's pouring a sewage-water mixture at a rate of 250 gallons per minute. Some of the mixture is leaking into nearby Knights Creek. 

City officials assure residents that they are doing everything they can to stop the leak as soon as possible. 

"Work has begun today to do two main things. One is to create the bypass. It's about a thousand foot long bypass that will stop the flow," said Sementha Matthews, Public Information Officer for the city of Valdosta. "The second thing they want to do is to create a totally new replacement sewer line for the one that collapsed, and three additional manholes. That will prevent it from happening again in the future."

People are asked to avoid contact with the water in Knights Creek until the city determines it is safe.

The city released this statement regarding the spill:

A local contractor began emergency work today on a City of Valdosta 21-inch sewer line that collapsed on March 24 south of South Blanchard Street. Crews began welding the bypass pipes on site today while waiting for the necessary equipment to arrive from Atlanta and Jacksonville to complete the nearly 1,000-foot bypass line. 

Approximately 250 gallons per minute of combined stormwater and wastewater is being discharged to a wetland area drained by Knights Creek between South Blanchard Street and Howell Road. Once the bypass line is complete, the overflow can be stopped.  

This emergency work is extremely complicated since the spill location is adjacent to several railroad tracks, underneath an electric transmission line and surrounded by predominantly wetlands and swamp. Two large excavators were brought on site today to start excavation. 

Directional drilling equipment arriving from Atlanta will be used to drill over 20 feet underneath the tracks to create the bypass line, as well as the 500 to 700-foot line that will replace the collapsed line.  The extensive work involves excavating trenches on each side of the railroad tracks, well pointing to allow crews to work in the trenches, the directional drilling of two new 200-foot casings underneath the tracks, and the installation of three additional manholes.

Valdosta Utilities Department staff have been monitoring streams entering Knights Creek from the affected spill area and have not found any visible impacts from the spill on those streams as yet.  Signs warning of the major spill have been placed at public access areas downstream of the spill location.

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