BAINBRIDGE, GA (WALB) - Recent Flint River flooding has undermined a buried sewer pipe near the Bill Reynolds I Ball Fields, causing that pipe to rupture, and pull water, sand, and grit into the sewage treatment plant.
Engineers got the plant up and running for a brief time Monday, until a gear broke. They expect to replace it and be back in business Tuesday.
Officials said bout 7.5 million gallons of influent flowed into the plant, as compared to a normal volume of 1.5 million gallons, as the collapsed pipe acted as a suction to pull river water, sand and sediment into the treatment plant.
Last Tuesday, Blankenship Construction began making repairs to this line. This process was made much more difficult because the ground was saturated.
Late Friday the water treatment plant was shut-down so that sand could be removed, and will remain shut-down until a bypass pump is in place that will stop the flow of river water into the plant.
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division has been notified of the situation and they are monitoring activities. The City of Bainbridge and Blankenship both had crews working over weekend.
The cities of Thomasville, Moultrie, and Blakely, as well as Decatur County are providing assistance. The Georgia EPD as well as US EPA have been notified and are providing technical assistance.
Officials expect to get a by-pass in place very soon, and things will be back to normal operation at the Treatment Plant.
Sewage is backed up and is currently free-flowing into the Earle May Boat Basin, as well as the Flint River. As a precautionary measure, the Boat Basin has been blocked to public access for safety reasons. Fishing has also been banned, from the Boat Basin (Chamber of Commerce) down river approximately one mile, to the sandbar in the "No Wake Zone."