Category Archives: Testing

Posted: Valdosta Country Club Sewage Spill, six days afterwards 2019-08-27

The GA-EPD person who enters the data was on vacation, but eventually the Valdosta Country Club sewage spill appeared in GA-EPD’s online reports, on August 27, 2019, with this:

“Note: Initial 24-hour spill notification received by EPD 8/21, via phone. Entered 8/26 due to employee vacation.”

As I noted to GA-EPD, this is a good example of a case where an automated email alert could have let them and us all know when it appeared. Alabama has been doing that for two years now, and Florida for almost as long.

3353 Plantation Drive is not the spill location, Google Map
Red marker: 3353 Plantation Drive. Yellow diamond sign: actual spill location.

That entry included a more precise address than Valdosta had previously reported: 3353 Plantation Drive. Unfortunately, that address is still incorrect. As I have pointed out to GA-EPD, the spill was Continue reading

Cost of reclassifying Georgia rivers from Fishing to Recreational in Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards

Recently I was asked if there would be water monitoring costs to cities or counties because of upgrading our main Suwannee River Basin waters in Georgia from Fishing to Recreational, as we have requested in Georgia’s Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards. Here’s the answer, as best I could determine. And how you can help. For those who wonder why upgrade from Fishing to Recreational, please see the previous blog post.

[Satellite Map]
WWALS Satellite Map of landing in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia

Specifically the question was: would reclassifying rivers or swamp from Fishing to Recreational cause cities or counties to have to spend more money on water quality monitoring, specifically if a wastewater treatment plant had a spill, more money on water quality sampling afterwards?

The brief answer is: probably not.

Recently, I asked James A. Capp, Chief, Watershed Protection Branch, EPD. He said that for that case, there should be no change, because sampling after a spill is determined mostly by the number of gallons spilled.

Let me use some NPDES permits I have on hand to illustrate.

Here is the language in NPDES Permit No. GA0020222 for Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, first about number of gallons, then about the required sampling. Continue reading

Training, Water Quality Testing 2019-09-14

Update 2019-09-07: Link to signup.

Volunteers for testing, you can get trained at this chemical and Bacteriological water testing training for Georgia Adopt-A-Stream standards by our local trainers. Already-trained trainers, here’s your chance to get a refresher to extend your certification for another year.

Yes, we can test in Florida and put the results in the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream database. For results to be actionable in Florida does require additional Florida training.

When: 9AM, Saturday, September 14, 2019

Where: SGRC, 327 W Savannah Ave., Valdosta, GA 31601

Event: facebook, meetup

[Julie, rope, Bobby, bucket]
Photo: John S. Quarterman, Julie Shutters, rope, Bobby McKenzie, bucket, Onemile Branch in Drexel Park, Valdosta, GA, 2018-09-16

If you want to get trained, please sign up so we will know how many are coming.

Please be prepared to start testing regularly after you are trained.

Thanks to Julie Shutters of Golden Triangle RC&D for previous trainings. Since we got local trainers trained back in May, they will be conducting this training: Continue reading

Valdosta sewage sign, golf course, Valdosta Country Club, Stillhouse Branch 2019-08-23

Friday we found the warning sign on the Valdosta Country Club green for the Wednesday force main sewage spill, thanks to Valdosta Utilities Environmental Manager Scott Fowler, who told me where it was. Sara Jay has tested downstream for WWALS, and maybe we can get the Valdosta water quality testing data, as well. Although there is some ambiguity as to which way downstream is.

[Sewage Spill]
Sewage Spill

“It stinks,” said a man on a golf cart on the green, as I was taking pictures. Continue reading

Valdosta Sewage spill into Stillhouse Branch, Withlacoochee River 2019-08-21

Credit for telling the public, but no credit for a very vague report, in the latest sewage spill in the City of Valdosta.

Every address on Plantation Drive is in the 3300 block, so that locates the spill only within 4,000 feet. Valdosta does know the name of that “local stream,” which is Stillhouse Branch, and where it goes, which is into the Withlacoochee River, upstream from US 41 and Langdale Park.

[Plantation Drive]
Plantation Drive

By “on a golf course” we can deduce the spill must have been Continue reading

Valdosta sewer spill into Onemile Branch, Drexel Park 2019-08-03

Why do we get to find out in the newspaper Tuesday about a Saturday sewage spill that just “occurred”, and didn’t even show up in GA-EPD’s online Sewage Spill Reports until after the newspaper was printed and distributed? Rest assured it’s not Valdosta’s responsibility, according to Valdosta.

[Pipe under bridge by apartments]
Pipe under bridge by apartments

Katelyn Umholtz, Valdosta Daily Times, 5 August 2019, Sewer spill occurs near Drexel Park, Continue reading

Troupville, Little River Confluence, shoals, creeks, and Spook Bridge 2019-06-15

Update 2019-07-05:: Some WWALS videos on YouTube.

The first day of #PaddleGA2019 was a fun day, with a confluence, greetings by VIPs, creeks, small rapids, a limpkin, Valdosta’s notorious Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant Outfall, one bad water quality reading (not there), swimming, an even more notorious fracked methane pipeline, and Spook Bridge, with a pet deer across the river. Thanks to The Langdale Company for that takeout and the Port-A-Potty location, and thanks to the Battery Source for the loan of the golf cart to WWALS.

Here’s Gwyneth Moody, Georgia River Network Water Trail coordinator, getting her orange kayak in the water.

[Load 'em up, 07:51:54, 30.8515032, -83.3476099]
Load ’em up, 07:51:54, 30.8515032, -83.3476099

Somebody was flying a drone. Continue reading

Testing One Mile Branch after Sewage Spill 2019-06-24

Pretty clean at the bottom of Vallotton Park (33.3 cfu/100 ml), but rather dirty at the top of Drexel Park (533 cfu/100 ml), on Onemile Branch, with the site of last week’s FOG sewage spill in between; that’s what WWALS water quality testers Sara Squires Jones and Scotti Jay found Monday. These numbers are for the disease-causing bacteria E. coli. The state limit is 200 colony-forming units per 100 mililiters of water (cfu/100 ml). That 533 reading is still below the state’s 1000 limit for real alarm, but it’s still not good.

[#1: 6 colonies]
Downstream #1: 6 colonies

This map shows in red the spill location on Ashley Street near La Jalisco Supermercado, with the testing locations in blue, at North Lee Street near Mr. B’s IGA at Vallotton Park, and at Williams Street at the east end of Drexel Park.

[Spill and testing locations]
Map: Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT), with added Spill and testing locations. Continue reading

Valdosta sewage spill and Suwannee Riverkeeper on WALB TV 2019-06-22

WALB TV in Albany, Georgia called me while I was at Lafayette Blue Spring on the Suwannee River in Florida, because reporter Ri’Shawn Bassette had read the WWALS report, Sewage spill, Ashley Street, Valdosta, GA 2019-06-19. Later that same day, Friday, WALB carried his story, Valdosta sees manhole sewage overflow.

[No sewage]
No sewage

He had already contacted Valdosta Utilities, which had confirmed it happened, and blamed it on Continue reading

Sewage spill, Ashley Street, Valdosta, GA 2019-06-19

According to a WWALS member eyewitness, raw sewage ran across Ashley Street, with a very strong odor, about 11:50 AM yesterday, Wednesday, June 19, 2019.

Google Map, Ashley Street
About 1300 block of Ashley Street. WWALS google map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

She said it was near the old Coca-Cola bottling plant. Which means near One Mile Branch, which runs through Drexel Park and VSU, then into Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River.

There was nothing about this in yesterday’s GA-EPD Sewage Spill Report, which was published before the eyewitness saw the sewage.

I called Valdosta Utilities. After a delay due to a FOG (Fats, Oils, and Greases) meeting, Utilities Continue reading