The sanitary sewer overflow located just west of the Withlacoochee River crossing on Highway 133, discovered by the City of Valdosta on April 24, was confirmed on April 25 to actually be a Lowndes County force main that runs parallel to a City of Valdosta sewer main. Upon discovery of the burst main by a City of Valdosta Utility Department staff, the city immediately hired a contractor to begin accessing the line to make the necessary repair.
“The city has a 54-inch gravity main and a 8-inch jail main in that area, so we made an assumption that it was our line and immediately began mobilizing staff and equipment to excavate and repair the leaking main,” said Utilities Director Henry Hicks. “We were not 100 percent sure this was our line, so we ran dye through the system. When the dye didn’t show up at the site, we were convinced it was not a city main and were also able to confirm this information with the contractor.”
Once Lowndes County verified it was their line, they took over the repair process. To assist Lowndes County in stopping the sewer overflow as quickly as possible, the City of Valdosta offered to allow Lowndes County to pump their sewage into the city’s 54-inch line, which immediately stopped the flow of sewage into the river and prevented any further spill and violations during the repair process.
“Lowndes County would have to either allow the sewage to flow into the river or pump into our system,” said Hicks. “We agreed to help them by allowing them to pump their sewage into our 54-inch main taking the flow off their force main until the repair can be completed. We are glad to help, understanding these issues can happen to anyone.”