Something is still getting into Okapilco Creek, and even more into its tributary Crooked Creek. For last week, we could follow it downstream way into Florida, using data from WWALS, Valdosta, and Florida Departments of Health. Fortunately, Friday the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers were within health limits from US 41 above Valdosta down past Branford. You can help.
State Line Boat Ramp
Photo: Suzy Hall. Somebody stole all our signs from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, but we will reprint and replant. If you want a sign to hang on your wall, you can just buy it from WWALS; prices are reasonable.
Possible sources of contamination getting into Okapilco Creek and then into the Withlacoochee River from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp on down include (but are not limited to) the Quitman Land Application Site (LAS), a sewage settling pond and another sewage pond, and lots of cows. We continue testing to find out.
Whatever it was, it went way down the Suwannee mid-week last week, maybe even as far as Rock Bluff Ramp at CR 340 below Branford. Yet what I detected on Crooked Creek Friday didn’t even make much of a mark on Okapilco Creek downstream of US 84 that same day.
Where did that contamination go? Was it diluted by rainwater in Okapilco Creek and the Withlacoochee River? We don’t know.
Quitman to GA-FL Line
in WWALS map of Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).
We know as much as we do because not only does WWALS continue sampling, but Florida county Departments of Health (FDOH) are sampling daily still since their latest advisory. Thanks to Katelyn Potter of Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) for forwarding that FDOH information to us.
And Valdosta last week started testing three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). We don’t actually get the Florida or Valdosta results for a day or two, which means we don’t get Friday until Monday or Tuesday.
Since Friday, February 14, 2020, Valdosta posts its results on its Water Quality Data web page. Click on River & Creek Testing Data. If you’ve been there before, you may have to refresh your cache for the Water Quality Data page first (control-shift-R) to get the most current River & Creek Testing Data.
We are told by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) that any day now FDEP will start posting Florida results on a web page.
We do have WWALS Friday results by late Saturday, allowing us to post them Sunday.
We are working on a composite solution to display all the resultss in a more comprehensible form.
And of course we are still working to track down the sources of contamination. For example, I collected more samples Monday morning in Brooks County. Notice Suzy Hall also tested on Clyatt Mill Creek, looking for another reported possibility.
Suzy Hall with a Petrifilm.
Each bacterial test costs $6 for Petrifilms alone.
WWALS is spending about $40 a day on Petrifilms after this Valdosta spill.
Much more about recent water quality is on the WWALS website.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!