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The communities of
Madison, Suwannee and Hamilton have been dealing with sewage spillages for several years from Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant in Valdosta, Ga.
Cindy Vees, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, has sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott on March 25, addressing the “long lasting negative economic impact” that this is having on the community of Madison.
“This ongoing system has had, and will continue to have devastating economic impact on our local economy and tourism,” said Vees in her letter to the Governor.
In this letter, Vees stated she knows “we can depend on the State of Florida to seek not only a solution to the problem, but economic restitution from the State of Georgia for the counties that are being affected.”
According to the letter, over a million gallons of untreated wastewater has spilled into waterways that come through Madison County.
On March 11, Allen Cherry, Madison County Coordinator, sent an email to Larry Hanson, Valdosta City Manager, requesting a synopsis of the spillage that occurred on February 22 and a timeline for the temporary construction that may help the spillage problem and the construction of the new sewer treatment facility.
On March 12, Hanson responded to the email that the spillage issue was not a raw sewerage spill but a permit violation.
“Full treatment was not completed to the permit requirement on total suspended solids,” said Hanson in the email to Cherry.
On March 12, Hanson responded to the email that, in the past year, “the city has completed $2.5 million in short term repairs to the existing plant. Short of a regional flood event, we are optimistic that we will not experience a major raw sewerage spill.”
According to the email that Hanson sent to Cherry, the City of Valdosta has two projects to complete the permanent solution. The first one will be to build a new force main system, which will replace the gravity-fed system. Along with the new system, the City of Valdosta will build two lift stations, which will be over 40 feet deep and will be replacing miles of lines that are in low laying areas. According to Hanson, the second project is constructing the new wastewater management plant and the City of Valdosta will select the team to design and build it in May.
In the letter, Vees also addressed that “our tourism revenues do not meet the recent reported tourism trends by Visit Florida.”
According to Vees, Visit Florida’s President and CEO, Will Seccombe, contacted her after receiving a copy of her letter, and thanked her for bringing it to their attention and wanted to know what Visit Florida could do to support Madison.