Category Archives: Testing

E. coli at GA 133 Withlacoochee 2019-03-05

Valdosta’s monthly water quality testing data shows E. coli down at three out of their six remaining stations, and up at the other three, highest at US 41 on the Withlacoochee River, upstream of most of Valdosta and its Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant. This data is for Tuesday, March 5, 2019, and was obtained as usual by an open records request from WWALS.

Graph, Withlacoochee River Basin, Withlacoochee

Even that 265 cfu/100 ml E. coli is barely above the Georgia limit of 200, and far below the alert line of 1,000.

US 41, Withlacochee River, Withlacoochee

GA 133, Withlacochee River, Withlacoochee

At the next station downstream from US 41, at GA 133, the Withlacoochee River still showed Continue reading

Help upgrade our Suwannee River Basins in Georgia

We asked the state of Georgia to upgrede our main Suwannee River Basin rivers (and some lakes and swamps) from their current lowest water quality classification as Fishing to what they really are: Recreational Use. You can help!

[Georgia landings in Suwannee River Basin]

Every three years, federal law requires each state to review its water quality standards. 2019 is such a year for Georgia, so the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) is conducting a Triennial Review. The request WWALS sent to GA-EPD, background, and their response are all on the WWALS website. Our request was rather long, with 23 pages asking for reclassification of the Suwannee River, the Okefenokee Swamp, the Alapaha River, Lake Irma, Banks Lake, Grand Bay, the Withlacoochee River, the Little River, and Reed Bingham State Park Lake, all from Fishing to Recreational Use. The WWALS cover letter is included at the end of this blog post. For the rest, see the WWALS website.

The response thus far from GA-EPD has some good news: Continue reading

WCTV on FL Counties Rivers Task Force and Valdosta Wastewater 2019-03-07

It turns out Valdosta can schedule a workshop for elected officials to meet with the Valdosta City Council, as the the dozen downstream Florida counties previously requested.

Local waterways, Protect

Emma Wheeler, WCTV, 7 March 2019, Task force looks to curb Valdosta sewage spills,

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) — Communities continue to push for more prevention of spills at Valdosta’s wastewater treatment system.

Several North Florida counties down the river from Valdosta formed a task force last year to try and protect local waterways. The group is now hoping the states can step in to help.

Priority to protect, Protect

Counties across North Florida and South Georgia are making it a priority to protect the rivers. The task force has passed a Continue reading

Monthly Valdosta WQ Data 2019-02-07

Valdosta has fallen down to only monthly water quality testing, instead of their former weekly schedule.

Graph, Withlacoochee River Basin, Withlacoochee

They’ve also dropped their two state line stations, so the GA-FL Line trace on this graph ends in December 2018.

Wide Map, Stations

Readings have risen since their January sampling, with Valdosta’s US 84 sampling station above the Georgia state limit at 265 cfu/100 ml of E. coli. Continue reading

The rest of the Valdosta wastewater story at SRWMD 2019-02-12

Valdosta Utilities naturally painted as rosy a picture as possible, and newspapers have limited space, so here is the rest of the story about Valdosta wastewater at the Suwannee River Water Management District board meeting last Tuesday. SRWMD Chair Virginia H. Johns understands the stigma, and Board Member Virginia Sanchez spelled it out:

SRWMD Chair Virginia H. Johns

“You don’t want to swim in a little sewage versus a lot of sewage either. Both of them are bad. A spill is bad.”

Featured in this post, drawing from the WWALS videos of all the relevant speakers, are Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse, who talked about the catch basin Valdosta is digging, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, who filled in many pieces omitted by Valdosta and FDEP, and Hamilton County resident Jim McBrayer, who got the attention of the SRWMD board by saying there was E. coli in his well and SRWMD should know where it came from, plus especially the very participatory SRWMD board, who made it pretty clear to FDEP they wanted data by their next meeting, and they wanted Valdosta to move along in fixing their problems in less than a hundred years.

Let’s not forget Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, who pointed out something Valdosta doesn’t want to hear: it’s the stigma of sewage spills that is the big problem they are causing. For sure we need to find out what the specific health and other effects are of Valdosta sewage and other contamination on river water and nearby wells. But the stigma of Valdosta sewage goes far beyond that.

Darryl Muse, Utilities Director, Valdosta

In the WWALS video, Continue reading

EPA kicks PFAS regulation a year down the road

Yesterday’s EPA PFAS plan does nothing except to study for a year or more what has already been studied. Where are the limits on amounts of these firefighting chemicals in water that would enable EPA or GA-EPD to test private wells, for example for the PFAS that got into groundwater from Moody Air Force Base’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, causing Moody’s report to say be careful eating fish caught in Beatty Branch or Cat Creek, upstream from the Withlacoochee River? Where are the funds and methods to remediate the problem and to stop it getting worse?

[Figure 25 Waste Water Treatment Plant (AFFF Area 8) PFBS, PFOA, and PFOS in Soil and Sediment]
Figure 25 Waste Water Treatment Plant (AFFF Area 8) PFBS, PFOA, and PFOS in Soil and Sediment

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 14 February 2018, EPA’s Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan, Continue reading

Coal Ash, Trust Funds, and Water Quality Testing at Lowndes County Bird Supper in Atlanta 2019-02-13

Last night Georgia legislators from all over the state, including numerous committee chairs, feasted on quail supplied by Lowndes County and Valdosta in the annual Bird Supper, a six-decade tradition of local lobbying in the Georgia state capitol.

Packed house, Inside

I thanked Jeff Jones (District 167) for his new coal ash bills, and reminded other legislators to vote for them this year, like they did his earlier ones last year: Continue reading

Testing Water Quality, One Mile Branch, Valdosta, GA 2019-02-10

Reporter Patrick Barry of The Spectator, VSU’s independent, student-run newspaper, was there, came to One Mile Branch yesterday to follow up on the One Mile Branch Cleanup WWALS did in November 2017. He found more than one story.

[Plating a sample]
Plating a sample

Yesterday Sara Jay tested the water from One Mile Branch, downstream from VSU, at the bridge on Wainwright Drive. She plated bacterial samples upstream and down. The results will be interesting, considering the foul smell. Also, each set of four PetriFilm plates costs about $6, so maybe you’d like to contribute to the WWALS Water Quality Testing Program. Continue reading

Videos: All Georgia Riverkeepers speak to American Fisheries Society 2019-02-06

Possibly for the first time ever, all of the Riverkeepers of Georgia spoke at the same event.

[All Georgia Riverkeepers]
All Georgia Riverkeepers: Flint Riverkeeper Gordon Rogers, Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus, Ogeechee Riverkeeper Damon Mullis, Altamaha Riverkeeper Jen Hilburn, Upper Coosa Riverkeeper Jesse Demonbreun-Chapman, St Marys Riverkeeper Anna Laws, Satilla Riverkeeper Laura Early, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman (Chattahoochee had already left).

Below are links to the WWALS video of each talk, followed by a WWALS video playlist. See also the program, and a few more pictures.

All Georgia Riverkeepers speak Wednesday to American Fisheries Society 2019-02-06

Update 2019-02-08: Video.

Apparently for the first time ever, all the Riverkeepers of Georgia will be speaking at the same event. Flint Riverkeeper Gordon Rogers passed on the invitation from the Georgia Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (GA-AFS) to speak at their annual conference.

When: Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Where: Lake Blackshear Resort, 2459-H US Highway 280 West Cordele, GA 31015

What: 2019 GA-AFS Chapter Annual Meeting

Lake Blackshear Resort

Continue reading
Wednesday (continued), February 6, 2019
SESSION 3: GEORGIA’S RIVERKEEPERS (SYMPOSIA)