MOULTRIE, Ga. — Two thousand and seven hundred gallons of sewage spilled into the wetlands near 31st Avenue Southeast Jan. 2, leaving the City of Moultrie to clean it. City Manager Pete Dillard said it could’ve been worse.
The spill was the result of a partial line blockage caused by “unauthorized materials” improperly dumped by an upstream customer. Dillard said these materials included rags and adult diapers.
“Typically, your problem [that] comes in with rags and diapers are things that deal with nursing homes, hospitals — things like that,” he said. “They’re not supposed to be putting them in the sewer.”
The city was able to mitigate and clean the spill quickly, which left no effect on the environment around it, Dillard said. He said he was glad the spill wasn’t as big as it potentially could’ve been.
“Twenty-seven hundred gallons will dissipate,” Dillard said. “The good thing about a wetland area is it spreads it out and nature takes care of it. It’s not like a hazardous chemical spill.”
Dillard said the debris came from a medical facility but said he didn’t want to release its name until he personally spoke with its managers. That conversation will be happening soon, according to him.
He said he knows the problem didn’t come from malicious intent but rather unfamiliarity.
“It’s just reached a point that you’ve got to talk to them,” Dillard said. “We’ve had problems with it, but it was never big enough that we could figure out who it was.”
The city couldn’t pinpoint a perpetrator with the presence of multiple nursing homes and Turning Point in the upstream area. With the blockage created this time, finding them was easy, Dillard said.
“They didn’t break the law or anything but it’s not a satisfactory practice and they know that,” he said. “I just feel it’d be fair if I notify the person in charge. I’m confident they’ll cooperate with us.”
The customers will face no repercussions this time, Dillard said. He plans to show the customer the proper way to dispose of things that can’t be flushed. He said he knows it’ll take some getting used to, so they can call the city anytime for assistance.
However, there won’t be any excuse should a similar event happen again.
“I don’t expect that,” Dillard said. “These are good, community people. They’ll do what’s right.”