JASPER, Fla. — A wastewater spill from Valdosta has possibly contaminated North Florida waterways once again.

The Florida Department of Health in Hamilton and Madison counties issued a joint health advisory Monday for residents and visitors near the Withlacoochee River. The advisory comes after the City of Valdosta reported a large spill on untreated sewage, which will impact the water quality flowing from Sugar Creek into the Withlacoochee.

DOH-Suwannee County issued a health advisory Tuesday afternoon for those near the Suwannee River down to County Road 250 near Dowling Park.

According to the city, more than 7.5 million gallons of wastewater discharged through a manhole into Sugar Creek adjacent to the 1800 block of Norman Drive.

“Sewer spills are not acceptable at any time,” city Public Information Officer Ashlyn Johnson said in the release. “It has been the city’s top priority to prevent them all.

“The city continues its ongoing efforts to improve the infrastructure of the sewer system to eliminate these issues in the future. Improving our sewer system has and will continue to be a main priority.”

According to a City of Valdosta release Tuesday, Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment plant employees noticed Monday that flow into the plant had decreased by 50 percent over the previous few days.

A brief investigation into the situation allowed staff to notice that a contractor working on the system disconnected a cable at the Remerton Lift Station during testing and failed to reconnect it, according to the city.

With the cable disconnected, the system did not alert staff that there was an issue at the station. Staff fixed the issue Monday after discovering the problem.

The health departments are urging people to take precautions when in contact with the Withlacoochee, at least until further information is known regarding the possible contamination of the river.

The DOH and the Department of Environmental Protection are conducting water sampling.

Water contaminated with wastewater overflow presents several health risks to people, according to the DOH release. Untreated human sewage with microbes could cause gastrointestinal issues and other conditions.

Anyone who comes into contact with the river should wash thoroughly, DOH urges, especially before eating or drinking. Children and older adults, as well as those with weakened immune systems, are especially vulnerable to disease, so extra precaution should be taken.

For more information about the potential health effects of the overflow, Florida residents should contact DOH-Hamilton at 386-758-1059 or hamilton.floridahealth.gov and DOH-Madison at 850-973-5000 or madison.floridahealth.gov.

For information regarding the spill, please contact the Valdosta Utilities Department Environmental Manager Scott Fowler at 229-259-3592 or sfowler@valdostacity.com.


Withlacoochee may be contaminated after another Valdosta sewage spill

JASPER, Fla. — A wastewater spill from Valdosta has possibly contaminated North Florida waterways once again.

The Florida Department of Health in Hamilton and Madison counties issued a joint health advisory Monday for residents and visitors near the Withlacoochee River. The advisory comes after the City of Valdosta reported a large spill on untreated sewage, which will impact the water quality flowing from Sugar Creek into the Withlacoochee.

The health departments are urging people to take precautions when in contact with the Withlacoochee, at least until further information is known regarding the possible contamination of the river.

The DOH and the Department of Environmental Protection are conducting water sampling.

Water contaminated with wastewater overflow presents several health risks to people, according to the DOH release. Untreated human sewage with microbes could cause gastrointestinal issues and other conditions.

Anyone who comes into contact with the river should wash thoroughly, DOH urges, especially before eating or drinking. Children and older adults, as well as those with weakened immune systems, are especially vulnerable to disease, so extra precaution should be taken.

For more information about the potential health effects of the overflow, Florida residents should contact DOH-Hamilton at 386-758-1059 or hamilton.floridahealth.gov, DOH-Madison at 850-973-5000 or madison.floridahealth.gov or DOH-Suwannee at 386-362-2708 or suwannee.floridahealth.gov.

For information regarding the spill, please contact the Valdosta Utilities Department Environmental Manager Scott Fowler at 229-259-3592 or sfowler@valdostacity.com.

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