Many roads in Lowndes and Brooks Counties remain closed following last week’s flooding of the Withlacoochee River, according to officials.
The National Weather Service’s flood warning for Valdosta has been extended until Tuesday evening. Sunday morning, the Withlacoochee had dropped to 15.6 feet at Skipper Bridge Road, where the flood stage is 13 feet, and is expected to fall below flood stage Tuesday afternoon, according to the weather service.
According to weather service data, the Withlacoochee crested at Skipper Bridge Road at 21.79 feet Thursday. The flood stage there is 13 feet.
Lowndes County’s road superintendent will be evaluating the county’s roads this morning, said Paige Dukes, Lowndes County’s public information officer. She said the public works department has been at work all weekend long dealing with the roads.
Closed roads in Lowndes County include Clyattville Nankin, Rocky Ford, Marty, Wells, Rowland, Morven, Knights Ferry Road and Frank’s Creek Bridge on Shiloh Road, according to county officials.
Roads that remain closed in Brooks County include 751 Emerson Road to Grooverville Road, Ham City Road from S.R. Hwy 84 to Old Thomasville Road, Cannon Road between Marso Road and Hester Road, Lawson Pond Road at Lowndes County, Rocky Ford Road off Nankin Road, Spain Road off Jackson Road, Nankin Road Bridge at Lowndes County, McAllister Road, Hempstead Road to Alderman Road, Radford Road to Milton Road to Madison, Florida, Moody Road to Burton Road, Alderman Road North of State Hwy 122, Monument Church Road at Brooks Co. Dairy, Bethlehem Church Road of Greenville Highway, Reedy Creek Road to Pedrick Road to Tom Lodge Road, Lee Road, Tucker Road to 3306 Beasley Road and Intersection of Hempstead Church Road & Burton Road to Hempstead Church Road Bridge.
A statement from the City of Valdosta on the wastewater treatment plant
Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant Fully Operational
At approximately 1:30 p.m. today, March 3, the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant was brought online and returned to normal operation, after a loss of function for only three days compared to the nine days of complete loss of function experienced in the flood of 2009. Today, the river receded to the point where the temporary by-pass pumps could be connected to the existing valves. The system was turned on, became fully operational and began full treatment capabilities.
Lessons learned from the 2009 flood resulted in proactive measures which include the following:
• The installation of bypass pumps, pipes and valves to utilize in the event of an emergency or act of God.
• In 2009, the berm only protected the pump station, which did not prevent flooding of the chemical building, the chlorine contact building, the filters and the belt presses. The plant’s electrical system was destroyed in the flooded area and the filters and belt presses were inoperable.
• In this event, the electric system, chlorine cylinders, de-chlorination system and all flooded areas were turned off to avoid the damage that was experienced in 2009.
• In this event, the biological, natural occurring bacteria that are used in the treatment process were saved so that the system could treat wastewater immediately when it was turned back on. In 2009, the natural occurring bacteria were washed out of the plant as a result of the continuous pumping during the event.
• In this event, the plant was fully operational in three days. In 2009, the plant had a complete loss of function for nine days and was not fully operational for over a month.
The city’s drinking water supply is in no way affected by the recent flood event. The Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant flooded in its current location in the unincorporated area of Lowndes County, which is at the bottom of a 1,500 square mile drainage basin and the source of most of the flood waters received at the plant and throughout the city. The city’s Water Treatment Plant is located on Guest Road, over 15 miles northeast of the Withlacoochee Wastewater Plant, and the river flows south from the Wastewater Treatment Plant. There is no known connection between the Withlacoochee River south of the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Floridan Aquifer, where the City of Valdosta withdraws its drinking water for its citizens. Furthermore, the city’s seven wells, which withdraw the water from the aquifer 300 feet below the surface, are located near the Water Treatment Plant, adjacent to and within Freedom Park.
With the flood waters beginning to recede, the city has initiated cleanup efforts in low-lying and flooded areas, which include disinfection where necessary. Cleanup efforts will continue for several days or until all affected areas have been disinfected and cleaned. Until then, the city continues to encourage the public to avoid any contact with the flood waters for their health and safety. For more information, contact the Public Information Office at (229) 259-3548.