ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A sewage spill was reported in Albany late Monday afternoon, according to city officials.
A sanitary sewer overflow at Lift Station 26, which is located at the Flint River.
"It was pretty much raw waster water with some storm runoff in it as well. There were some rags and stuff that we cleaned up between here and the river," said Jeff Hughes, the Sewage Superintendent.
And an investigation is underway to find out what caused the spill.
"We're continuing to look into if there were any other issues that contributed to the spill," said Hughes.
But as of right now, the city says heavy rainfall caused the latest spill.
"We got over half an inch of rain in 15 minutes, which is a pretty good bit pretty quick," Hughes said.
Hughes said this isn't a common problem. He said usually heavy rain happens over a longer period of time. But the city will have continue to have crews at the lift station.
"They'll be doing some inspection work, identifying any deficiencies they find, and we'll be doing rehab work on that," Hughes said.
Hughes said, since they have not found any pump failure yet, they are considering this spill to be unrelated from the city's previous ones. This will be the fourth sewage spill since May. The city did already receive a notice of violation from the Environmental Protection Division because of the previous spills.
"Now we're supposed to meet with EPD in Atlanta on the 30. And that meeting is still going on, so I'm sure we'll discuss this at that time, as well," said Hughes.
Some residents said they understand this spill was caused by heavy rainfall, but they may still keep away from the Flint for the time being.
"You know it's understandable that people would be, you know, would have some caution. And, uh, that's just human nature," said Standup Strain, a resident.
Jacobs Environmental and City of Albany crews responded and found two pumps in the lift station functioning at full capacity.
The crews also started up the auxiliary diesel pump at the exterior of the station. Despite efforts, some of the excess flow spilled out of the manhole located between the station and the Oglethorpe Bridge, city officials said.
ALBANY SEWAGE SPILLS SINCE MAY:
Currently, there does not appear to have been any equipment or operational malfunctions at the station.
An estimated 29,700 gallons of sewer overflowed into the Flint, according to an Albany spokesperson.
As required by the City's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit, the City of Albany is collecting water quality samples upstream and downstream for analysis. Proper notification to The Georgia Environmental Protection Division and the Environmental Health Department was done, officials said.
Gordon Rogers, the Executive director of the Flint Riverkeeper, released the following statement after the announcement of the sewage spill:
Jamese Poole and her family came to the Turtle Park to try and enjoy some sunshine despite the spills.
"We would rather come up here at the water than out there because of the sewage problems," said Poole.
But their experience would be much more pleasant if they didn't have to worry about what is in the Flint River.
"What if I wanted to jump inside the river? You know? I don't want manure all over me and stuff like that," said Trrence Byrd.
Byrd said he will continue to bring his 14 month old daughter to the park but would not let her play in the water.
"It would be more peaceful and a more pleasant experience," said Byrd.
Poole believes that's the reason why Turtle Park isn't packed with people.
"It's hot, nobody wants to smell, you know, manure, in the process," said Byrd.
Residents said they expect more from the city and hope this doesn't continue.
"I hope they come up with some type of resolution or plan to get it up under control with the sewage spills and stuff like that," said Byrd.
Public notices have been posted at the spill location and the site has been cleaned of any debris.
The City of Albany drinking water has not been affected, according to a release from the City of Albany.
Jacobs and city staff will continue to monitor all lift stations around the clock during these heavy rain events.
After the sewage spill, the Flint Riverkeeper said the recent readings are "elevated and give some cause for concern."