Category Archives: River

Followup water quality data after big Valdosta 2018 spills 2018-09-21

Here is (at least some of) the water quality testing data Valdosta was required to collect after its major spills of June in the Withlacoochee River basin and August in the Alapaha River basin. Maybe Valdosta is right that neither of these spills got into waterways, but something sure did, according to this data. Curiously, in both cases the worst fecal coliform readings were upstream from the spill location.

Mud Creek WTP after the 13 August 2018 spill

Below at Johnson Road, Mud Creek WTP
Downstream at Johnson Road on Mud Creek from the Mud Creek WTP after the August spill

There’s only one datapoint (the yellow dot) on that graph below the Georgia safe limit for fecal coliform of 200 colony forming units per 100 milliliters of water (cfu/100 ml). You’d think it would be better upstream, right? Continue reading

Stream Monitoring after Lowndes County Val-Tech Road Spill 2017-09-23

Here is Lowndes County’s (not Valdosta’s) stream monitoring data for a year after its September 23, 2017 raw sewage spill into a ditch that goes to the Withlacoochee River. The data show often worse water quality upstream than downstream. This is a good illustration of why WWALS is starting a water quality testing program.

Graphs, Below at GA 133

These graphs are in Water Reporter, where I put the data under the Suwannee Riverkeeper group. The first two graphs are from below the spill, downstream on the Withlacoochee River at GA 133 (St. Augustine Road).

Graphs, Below at GA 133

Fecal Coliform, Below at GA 133

The other graphs show nothing unusual for blackwater tannic acid rivers. This is the interesting graph, Continue reading

Naylor Boat Ramp status @ LCC 2018-09-10

The Naylor Boat Ramp should finally be complete within a few weeks, said Project Manager Chad McLeod at Monday’s Lowndes County Commission Work Session. It will be interesting to see what paddlers report back from that site after yesterday’s paddle starting there as part of the Alapaha Quest to paddle in segments the entire Alapaha River Water Trail.


Status of Naylor Boat Ramp by Chad McLeod in LAKE video @ LCC 2018-09-10

What Chad McLeod said Monday morning, 10 September 2018, transcribed from Continue reading

Lowndes County sewage spills, July 2018

Regarding rumors that Lowndes County had a spill July 5th, no it didn’t. The spill was July 6th. It was 9,300 gallons of untreated sewage apparently from the same place as the bigger spill last September, which would be on the green line on this map near the green dot at the top, into a drainage ditch that leads to the Withlacoochee River:

VALORGIS Lowndes County Sewer Line, Val Tech Road
VALORGIS Map → Streams Waterbodies plus Utilities Service Areas and Lowndes County Sewer Line.

While that is far fewer gallons than Valdosta spilled in June or in August, Valdosta’s August spill was almost completely treated effluent, while Lowndes County’s was raw sewage. And Valdosta went to some trouble to announce that August spill, to go talk to people about it, and to apologize for it. Lowndes County did none of those things.

And apparently there was a second July spill, according this email received 11 September 2018 from Lowndes County per my request earlier that same day for all Lowndes County spills since Hurricane Irma: Continue reading

Suwannee Riverkeeper on Steve Nichols radio 105.9FM WVGA 2018-09-13

Thursday morning Suwannee Riverkeeper will be on the “top rated morning talk show in south Georgia” with Steve Nichols, talking about paddle outings, water trails, paddle races, and the Sabal Trail pipeline federal eminent domain jury trials going on right now in Valdosta.

When: 8:30AM, Thursday, September 13, 2018,

Where: The Morning Drive with Steve Nichols, 105.9FM WVGA
Live streamed on the show’s facebook page

Event: facebook, meetup

Suwannee Riverkeeper banner, Interview

What:

Guest: Suwannee Riverkeeper® John S. Quarterman

Host: Valdosta Today bills The Morning Drive with Steve Nichols as:

The top rated morning talk show in south Georgia, Steve Nichols offers both sides of every story from Berrien County to the Beltway, and everywhere in between.

Should be fun. Do tune in.

More: For more WWALS outings and events as they are posted, see the WWALS calendar or the WWALS outings and events web page. WWALS members also get an upcoming list in the Tannin Times newsletter.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Sheboggy Boat Ramp 2018-08-11

Thanks to GDOT, the stolen Sheboggy signs have been replaced. Remember, we’ll sell you one for $25.

Meanwhile, come on down to Sheboggy 1PM today for a cleanup and upstream paddle.

With bridge, Boat Ramp

Context, Left sign
Context, Left sign

Continue reading

Bradford BOCC 2018-09-04

All the public speakers were against the phosphate mine. Before the Commissioners decided, Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson spoke about rain, the Chemours mine, and how what Bradford County does affects her business downstream. (I think Stasia Rudolph also spoke before I got there.) After some confusion on timing, afterwards Marc Lyons reminded them Citizens Against Phosphate Mines (CAPM) is ready to sue, and Kate Ellison said she hopes this means we will all see the consultant’s report before the public hearings. I sent a letter and a resolution the previous day and gave them paper copies.

The actual decision was much better than expected. While some Commissioners wanted to hold Continue reading

WWALS Boomerang, Withlacoochee River, Langdale Park, 2018-11-03

Update 2018-09-19: You can buy tickets online, and two outfitters are supporting the WWALS Boomerang.

Downstream and up again: it’s the WWALS Boomerang, from Langdale Park Boat Ramp to Sugar Creek Landing on the Withlacoochee River. Join us for a fun filled day of kayak and canoe racing and leisurely paddling.

WWALS Boomerang, Logo New WWALS board member Bobby McKenzie, whose son Zavier was the youngest finisher at our spring BIG Little River Paddle Race, has volunteered to organize a fall race, with the enthusiastic support of the board and the Outings Committee.

We would also like to thank George Page, Executive Director of Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority (VLPRA), for his and VLPRA’s support. VLPRA renovated Langdale Park last year, so let’s go boat from there.

When: 11:00 AM, November 3, 2018

Put In: Langdale Park Boat Ramp, 3781 N. Valdosta Rd., Valdosta, GA 31602. This is just outside the Valdosta City limits in Lowndes County, off of North Valdosta Road (US 41 North). Only 5.5 miles from downtown and only 4 miles from Valdosta State University.

GPS: 30.88727, -83.32395

Tickets: $20 per boat early registration,
or $30 per boat after October 6 or at the event.
We also recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

The very picture of a lazy river
Withlacoochee River, 2016-03-20.

Continue reading

Big Georgia Wastewater Permits in the Suwannee River Basin

Schedules of testing, with permissable levels: these are in National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) wastewater permits, so we need to see those permits. You’d think they’d be on the EPA or GA-EPD website, but….

The U.S. EPA has delegated NPDES permitting to Georgia. You can get draft wastewater permits right off the GA-EPD website, but to get the actual current approved permits, you must get GA-EPD to send them to you. I found this out from Audra Dickson, Wastewater Regulatory Program Manager. I asked her for permits for half a dozen cities and one county, and the next day Alyssa Thomson, Environmental Specialist, Wastewater Regulatory Program, Municipal Permitting Unit, sent them via email.

They’re on the WWALS website now.

Instream Monitoring Requirements, Valdosta Mud Creek WPCP
Instream Monitoring Requirements, Valdosta Mud Creek WPCP

Why this list? Continue reading

Valdosta Consent Order from GA EPD 2013-09-23

Due to tens of millions of dollars spent by Valdosta, we don’t see spills of tens of millions of gallons anymore. The most obvious Valdosta Sanitary System Improvement is the new, uphill, out of the flood plain, Withlacoochee Wasterwater Treatment Plant, pictured here on Scott Fowler’s office wall at Valdosta Utilities:

Withlacoochee WPCP 2016, Wastewater Plants
Withlacoochee WPCP 2016

The old, now-closed, Withlacoochee WTP was the plant that had the biggest problems back in 2009 and 2013. As found on the City of Valdosta website, the 23 September 2013 Valdosta Consent Order from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division is now also on WWALS website, including I made a web version, from which I extracted the paragraphs quoted below.

This was the original problem: Continue reading