MOULTRIE — Two recent spills at the wastewater treatment plant were caused by factors unrelated to improvements planned for the facility.

City of Moultrie Utilities Director Roger King said the spills were in areas not directly affected by improvement needs. Despite that, the facility is still in need of improvements to provide better flow, he said.

The most recent spill, which took place about two weeks ago, was caused when a drying bed failed, King said. Material collected from a digester was being poured into the bed to dry and remove impurities, and the bed failed, causing as much as 12,000 gallons of material to flow into a drain.

Once the material reached the drain, King said some could have flowed into a nearby ditch and then on to the Ochlocknee River. Most of the material, however, was sand and dirt that settled out of the material quickly before reaching the drain. Testing continues to be done to ensure if any raw materials are present, but there has been none found.

“It’s one of those things that regrettably failed,” King said.

The previous spill took place during a period of heavy rain when the amount of rainfall caused an overflow to the system, King said. The plant’s pumps were not big enough to handle the heavy amounts of water entering the system from the rainfall, and the water overflowed.

Neither of the spills, however, directly affected Moultrie’s drinking water system, King said. Neither was a direct result of the needs to make improvements at the plant to compensate for increased flow.

“Although we still need the improvements,” King said, “both spills are unrelated to it.”

King said the improvements are slowly coming along, but the city could get a big boost to the project in the near future. The city has applied for federal stimulus finding to help with costs for a surge pond project and to improve the digesters.

If the city is awarded the stimulus money, King said it could help get about 60 percent of the $7 million needed for the improvement projects. The city is waiting on a decision before doing any construction, however.

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