Tag Archives: education

200 gallons sewage into Twomile Branch, N. Patterson St., Valdosta 2020-02-10

Received via email a few minutes ago, confirming what our WWALS agents saw earlier today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 10, 2020
Release #02-10-20

Grease Blockage Leads to Manhole Overflow

On February 10, 2020, The City of Valdosta Utilities Department staff responded to a call concerning a manhole discharge at the 2400 block of Patterson Street.

[Twomile Branch, N. Patterson St., Valdosta, GA]
Twomile Branch, N. Patterson St., Valdosta, GA, on the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

The cause of the spill was determined to be a grease blockage resulting in approximately 200 gallons of sewage to enter a storm drain that discharges into Two Mile Branch. The blockage was caused by a buildup of fats, oils, and grease that accumulated inside the sewer line.

City staff were able to capture and recover a large portion of the discharge before it entered state waters. The blockage was cleared and the site and its discharge point were cleaned and disinfected.

Although the level of potential contamination to the area is minimal, the public is advised Continue reading

Suwannee Riverkeeper asks Georgia EPD to require Valdosta to do better about its record sewage spill 2019-12-17

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, December 19, 2019 — Compelled by the severity of Valdosta’s record raw sewage spill and the expenses and stigma incurred nearby and downstream, Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS Watershed Coalition has sent a letter requesting ten enforcment actions to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD). WWALS member Deanna Mericle of Hamilton County, Florida, summed it up: “As a person living downstream on the Withlacoochee River in Florida, I feel shat upon by Valdosta over and over. I cannot drink the water from my well. I worry about the health of the river itself and the animals that live in it and drink from it. We in Florida were patient while Valdosta was improving their wastewater plant, which apparently was not adequate since we still have spills when it rains heavily. But this time it was not a rain event. It was gross negligence. I am out of patience. I believe it is time for legal action.”

The Suwannee Riverkeeper letter notes GA-EPD already has a legal action against Valdosta, a Consent Order. WWALS asks GA-EPD to use its enforcement power to require notification, water quality testing, education, and plans and procedures not only for preventing such spills but also for tracking them as they travel down our creeks and rivers and for remediation of effects on wells and reputation.

[2019-12-17--WWALS-GA-EPD-Valdosta-sewage-0001]
2019-12-17–WWALS-GA-EPD-Valdosta-sewage-0001

“Valdosta says it does what GA-EPD tells it to do, so we’re asking GA-EPD to tell them,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Today we’re forwarding the letter to Continue reading

WWALS at South Georgia Pride Saturday 2019-09-21

Come on down to the South Georgia Pride Festival in Saunders Park in Valdosta this Saturday. At the WWALS booth you can play the froggy toss game and talk about our outings and advocacy, including how you can volunteer to help keep our waters clean!

When: Noon-5PM, Saturday, September 21, 2019

Where: John W. Saunders Park, 1151 River Street, Valdosta, Georgia

Event: facebook

[Froggy Toss]
Froggy Toss

Maybe we’ll do water quality tests on Sugar Creek. Continue reading

Pictures: WWALS at South Georgia Pride 2018-09-15

It was a fun time last year at South Georgia Pride. Join us at Saunders Park again this Saturday!

[Gretchen at the booth]
Gretchen at the booth

Maybe Barber Spring will be running. Maybe we’ll do water quality tests on Sugar Creek. Continue reading

WWALS at VSU Happening 2019-08-29

Thousands of college students will come by the WWALS booth today on the front lawn of Valdosta at The Happening 2019.

[Gretchen and Sara]
Gretchen and Sara

When: 1PM to 4PM, Thursday, August 29, 2019

Where: VSU front lawn, 1500 N Patterson St, Valdosta, GA 31698.

Event: facebook Continue reading

Videos: Valdosta and Florida Counties about sewage 2019-07-10

Congenial yet sometimes testy, the Florida counties meeting Valdosta about sewage again last night.

The Valdosta catch basin many Floridians thought would be finished by now? Probably by December.

That report the Utilities Manager last time said explained why 8 or 10 million gallons was big enough for a catch basin? No, it doesn’t explain that. Fortunately, Georgia EPD wants to know how many gallons will be needed for how much rain, and apparently won’t issue a permit for the catch basin until there are answers, so maybe we’ll finally find out.

GA-EPD also wanted to know what if the catch basin fills up? Valdosta’s answer: tanker trucks to ship the sewage from the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant to the Mud Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Or the other direction, if needed. That sounds like a fine idea. Although it doesn’t address the question of what if the heavy rains fall directly on Valdosta and both WTPs fill up.

Meanwhile, the catch basin is just one of a combination of fixes, mostly intended to alleviate infiltration of stormwater into the sewer system, and about 25% of those are done, says Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber.

Will all these projects be finished this year? No.

Floridians offer to get national elected officials to help.

Floridians also emphasized Ecotourism, and asked me to talk about the 350 people who just came through on Paddle Georgia (#PaddleGA2019), the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Florida to Georgia and back, and the proposed River Camp at the Little River Confluence west of Valdosta, like the ones on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail. Valdosta Mayor John Gayle wrote down the date of the WWALS Boomerang (October 26th), and afterwards both Hamilton and Madison Counties promised to help.

Tom Mirti of SRWMD described Florida water quality testing, but didn’t mention that FDEP’s monthly testing isn’t made public until four months later. He did mention that FDEP is now testing for sucralose. Merrillee Malwwitz-Jipson, who requested that, was sitting right there. Thanks to her and Jim Tatum for coming from Florida to this meeting.

Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber said Valdosta was still testing at the state line, which caused me to ask why I didn’t get any results for those locations this year in response to open records requests, then? Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse said that was because they haven’t actually tested at the state line this year. He also complained that he had staff working 100 hours a week. Which makes me wonder whether the city of Valdosta is really giving him what he needs, or whether he hasn’t asked for everything he needs.

Anyway, people were rightly impressed with how much Valdosta has done and with their current plans. However, there is still room for improvement.

Below are Continue reading

LNG in Florida: Land Use in 1 mile exclusion zone 2019-04-16

Sixty five schools are within one mile of explosive Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) facilities or transport routes in Florida.

[65 schools in 1 mile exclusion zones]
65 schools in 1 mile exclusion zones

Fifteen percent is high intensity urban of the area a mile around the 7 LNG plants studied. That means lots of people near these dangerous facilities.

24% of land within a mile of Florida LNG transport routes is high intensity urban, with another 7% low intensity urban. So many people are at risk, in addition to estuaries, wetlands, forests, crops,a nd pastures.

This study was done by Continue reading

Paddle Georgia 2019 Educator Scholarship 2019-04-20

South Georgia K-12 educators, you can get a scholarship to paddle for a week in June 2019 on the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers from Georgia to Florida, with 300 people on Paddle Georgia.

Your assignment afterwards will be to write an essay about your experiences on that paddle.

[Description]

To apply, you need to write on the application form “why you want to participate and how you would use the experience and environmental education curriculum in your classroom.”

There are many opportunities for you and your classes, such as backpack water quality monitoring, cleanups, more paddles, taking accounts of wildlife and native and invasive species, and interning with your local watershed nonprofit organization, WWALS Watershed Coalition to help organize outings and advocacy. WWALS and its program Suwannee Riverkeeper® will be here after Paddle Georgia moves on to another river next year.

Let’s use this opportunity to get local youth and educators engaged with fishable, swimmable, drinkable water!

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

VSU Panel Discussion, Environment –Hardy, Thieme, Quarterman 2019-04-18

Thanks to Prof. Cristobal Serrán-Pagán and the VSU Philosophy and Religious Studies Club for organizing this Panel Discussion on the Environment with Valdosta Public Works Director Richard Hardy, VSU Geology Prof. Don Thieme, and Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.

When: 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m., Thursday, April 18th, 2019

Where: Odum Library Auditorium, 500 N Patterson St, Valdosta, GA 31698

Event: facebook, meetup

[Valdosta Public Works Director Richard Hardy, Prof. Donald M. Thieme, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman]
Valdosta Public Works Director Richard Hardy, Prof. Donald M. Thieme, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman
PDF

Who:

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