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South Georgia sewage spill prompts health alert for Suwannee, Withlacoochee rivers

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(Michael Rivera photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Florida health officials are warning that a wastewater spill last week in Valdosta, Georgia, could affect people who live near or visit the Suwannee or Withlacoochee rivers.

The advisory said 7,500,000 gallons of untreated sewage from a Valdosta wastewater treatment plan overflowed from a manhole into Sugar Creek, which flows into the Withlacoochee River, then into the Suwannee.

A spokesperson for the city of Valdosta said the spill happened after a contractor at the treatment facility forgot to reconnect a device that would keep an overflow from happening while working on the system. Utility employees in Valdosta were not notified about the issue for roughly four days.

Members of the Suwannee River Water Management District told WCJB that they have not detected bacteria levels that are high enough to cause concern as of yet but they will continue sampling until they are certain.

Health officials said anyone who comes in contact with the river water should wash thoroughly, especially before eating and drinking.


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