Tag Archives: Fecal Coliform

Earth Day Cleanup Postponed due to pandemic: WWALS, Georgia Power, Valdosta, and Brooks County, GA, Madison County, FL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (PDF)

Earth Day Cleanup Postponed due to pandemic: WWALS, Georgia Power, Valdosta, and Brooks County, GA, Madison County, FL

Hahira, Georgia, March 4, 2020 — We are postponing the Earth Day Cleanup and Paddle previously scheduled for April 18, 2020, at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River. http://wwals.net/?p=51816 The organizers, WWALS, Georgia Power, Valdosta, and Brooks County, Georgia, remain committed to holding this event in the future, as does , and Madison County, Florida. Meanwhile, WWALS plans a virtual outing by livestreaming a few people at the site on the original day, six feet apart, of course.

[WWALS and Lowndes County]
WWALS and Lowndes County signs at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp.

“At Georgia Power our focus during this challenging time is to ensure uninterrupted power so you can keep your daily life running,” said Joe Brownlee, Southwest Region Director for Georgia Power. “We are currently taking preventive measures to keep our teams healthy as spring storm season approaches. Hopefully we’ll be past this soon and can again join in fun times on the river.”

[GA Power H Rgb]
GA Power H Rgb

“The City of Valdosta remains committed to this cleanup event and its partnership with Georgia Power and our area Suwannee Riverkeeper and will work with all to find an agreeable date down the road,” said Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson.

[City of Valdosta]
City of Valdosta

“We are looking forward to a later date for this cleanup and paddle, so we can assist with promoting the event on our Brooks County FB page, and to recruit some participation to represent us,” said Jessica J. McKinney, Brooks County, Georgia, Administrator.

[Brooks County]
Brooks County

“Madison County has postponed our river cleanup until a later date,” said Madison County, Florida, Chairman Donnie Waldrep, Sr., referring to a cleanup planned for that same day in Madison County on the Withlacoochee River. He added, “I’d love to see this be an annual event.”

Madison County, Florida, Board of County Commissioners

“Joe and Scott and I already discussed on the radio last week that we probably could not do the paddle part of this event, due to the shuttle requiring crowding people into a few vehicles. http://wwals.net/?p=51877 While a cleanup might be possible by simply keeping everybody spread out, we’d rather be safe than sorry,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Before that, we had Continue reading

Much better water quality: Withlacoochee River, Okapilco Creek 2020-03-11

Update 2020-03-16: More testing needed to track river pollution –Suwannee Riverkeeper in Gainesville Sun 2020-03-16.

No rain for a week (since March 5th) meant not much E. coli washed into creeks and rivers.

WWALS is testing upstream this weekend. You can help.

[Composite table]
WWALS Composite table
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of data from Georgia and Florida sources, see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Apparently the high numbers WWALS saw on Crooked Creek Saturday a week ago (March 7th) washed on down through Okapilco Creek and Brooks County to the Withlacoochee River by Monday. Apparently that contamination got diluted pretty quickly by all that rainwater coming down from as far north as Tifton.

The most recent numbers we have are Valdosta’s for Wednesday, March 11, 2020, with Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps only slightly above the longterm desired limit of 126 cfu/100 mL E. coli, and below that upstream.

Madison Health tested Tuesday, and got actually slightly lower (135.4) at State Line, and below 126 at CR 150 (Sullivan Launch) and FL 6 (upstream from Madison Blue Spring).

Nobody tested downstream from there in the past week. Nobody knows whether any of the most recent contamination reached the Suwannee River.

[Quitman and Valdosta to Suwannee River]
Quitman and Valdosta to Suwannee River
In the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

The USGS gauges upstream from US 84 peaked days ago, and the US 84 (Quitman) gauge is coming down now, soon to be Continue reading

Special meeting to approve an RFP for an environmental attorney –Madison BOCC 2020-03-06

Update 2020-03-07: Too Numerous To Count: E. coli, Madison County, Withlacoochee River 2020-03-05.

Tonight at 6PM in Madison, Florida. I’ll be there to discuss the recent water quality test results and to invite them to Earth Day cleanup at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River.

Madison County, Florida

NOTICE OF SPECIAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MADISON COUNTY, FLORIDA
,

NOTICE IS GIVEN that the Board of County Commissioners of Madison County, Florida will hold a special meeting, to which all persons are invited to attend, as follows:

March 6, 2020
6:00 p.m.
Madison County Courthouse Annex
229 SW Pinckney St., Room 107 Madison, Florida 32340

Review with Possible Approval of Draft Request for Proposals to Engage the Services of an Environmental Law Firm.

If you are Continue reading

WWALS, Georgia Power, and Valdosta: Knights Ferry Cleanup, optional Nankin Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2020-04-18

Update 2020-03-19: Earth Day Cleanup Postponed due to pandemic: WWALS, Georgia Power, Valdosta, and Brooks County, GA, Madison County, FL.

Update 2020-03-14: Radio TV, and unfortunately the novel Coronovirus may curtail the paddle, but the Cleanup is still on.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (PDF)

Earth Day Cleanup at Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River: WWALS, Georgia Power, and Valdosta, April 18, 2020

Hahira, Georgia, March 4, 2020 — Celebrate the fiftieth Earth Day by helping clean up Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, Saturday morning, April 18, 2020. Afterwards, those who want to can paddle with us down the Withlacoochee River to Nankin Boat Ramp, cleaning up on the water and when we get to Nankin . This event is the first ever sponsored by WWALS, Georgia Power, the City of Valdosta, and Brooks County, Georgia.

[During Paddle Georgia 2019-06-16]
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, During Paddle Georgia 2019-06-16.

“Through this clean up effort we think we’ve found a way to create synergy around environmental stewardship with groups such as Continue reading

Cleaner Withlacoochee Monday, Tuesday; Suwannee unknown 2020-03-03

Update 2020-03-06: Special meeting to approve an RFP for an environmental attorney –Madison BOCC 2020-03-06

Tuesday data from Lowndes County, Georgia, shows much better water quality in Okapilco Creek upstream from Quitman and in the Withlacoochee River downstream. Remember, Lowndes County has its own sewer system, which did not spill. And one of Lowndes County’s results for the previous week is very interesting.

All the maps and charts in this post are on the WWALS website in a PDF for printing. They’re also on facebook.

The most recent data we have from Valdosta and Florida is for Monday. WWALS has not tested this week because of rain, but soon. You can help.

Yesterday and today, five inches of rain fell on Tifton, and all that water is washing downstream, with the Withlacoochee already in flood at Pinetta.

[Quitman to Withlacoochee River]
Map: Quitman to Withlacoochee River.
In the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

In the above map, northeast of Quitman near Okapilco Creek, are the Quitman sewage settling ponds, which Continue reading

Suwannee River contamination running downstream to the Gulf 2020-03-01

Update 2020-03-05: Cleaner Withlacoochee Monday, Tuesday; Suwannee unknown 2020-03-03

Whatever the Saturday contamination is, by Monday it had apparently moved downstream from FL 51 (Hal W. Adams bridge between Mayo and Luraville). Unfortunately, it is not expected to dilute or dissipate. More likely it will be unhealthy all the way to the Gulf. You can help.

[2020-03-01 Suwannee river downstream]
2020-03-01 Suwannee river downstream
The entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of all known data sources is on the WWALS google drive.
For context, see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Katelyn Potter of SRWMD forwarded a message from SRWMD Water Resources Chief Darlene Velez, saying “results below from samples collected Sunday 3/1/2020.”

Suwannee at US90: Fecal – 98 mpn/100ml; E. coli – 172 mpn/100ml
Suwannee at CR250: Fecal – 131 mpn/100ml; E. coli – 116 mpn/100ml
Suwannee at SR51: Fecal – 187 mpn/100ml; E. coli – 114 mpn/100ml

She depicted all those numbers as green. By our color scheme, the 172 E. coli is orange, because it’s higher than the 126 cfu/100 mL that is what longterm averages should be below. See also what do these numbers mean?

She continued:

I also ran some calculations:

From Withlacoochee (Pinetta) to Suwannee (Ellaville) the dilution factor is 0.49

From Suwannee above Santa Fe River (Luraville) to Suwannee below Santa Fe River (Rock Bluff) the dilution factor is 0.78

We have several springs backflowing now with river levels up, and we are losing approximately 1000cfs to the aquifer between Ellaville and Luraville gages.

On the Suwannee the water velocities are between 1 and 1.5 mph, so the high bacteria we got at SR51 on Saturday morning should be near Manatee Springs tomorrow (Tuesday 3/3) morning and to the Gulf of Mexico sometime Wed (3/4). Based on the dilution factors above the 980 E. coli we got at SR51 is unlikely to be diluted below health threshold below the Santa Fe River.

Please let me know if you have questions. Continue reading

SRWMD slides and water quality data after Valdosta raw sewage spill, Withlacoochee River 2020-01-14

Update 2020-01-17: Mostly clean in Georgia, not in Florida, Withlacoochee River 2020-01-15

Here’s why we keep sampling.

Suwannee Riverkeeper sampling water at Troupville Boat Ramp
Suwannee Riverkeeper sampling water at Troupville Boat Ramp, Emma Wheeler, WCTV, January 15, 2020, Withlacoochee River tested ahead of Mayor’s Paddle.

SRWMD reports high bacterial counts for the third time at State Line (GA 31), and again at CR 150 (Sullivan Launch).

[SRWMD 2020-01-14 (WWALS composite spreadsheet)]
SRWMD 2020-01-14 (WWALS composite spreadsheet)

Will the Mayor’s Paddle happen as scheduled this Saturday, January 18, upstream (See Albany Herald, January 15, 2020)on the Withlacoochee River?

That depends on Continue reading

Well testing results, Madison County, FL, after Valdosta sewage spill 2020-01-03

The Madison County, Florida, Board of County Commissioners is meeting again this Wednesday morning before the two other meetings about Valdosta wastewater that same day.

When: 9 AM, January 8, 2020

Where: Courthouse Annex – Commission Meeting Room,
229 SW Pinckney Street, Madison, FL 32340

What: Regular Meeting, Madison County Board of County Commissioners

Speaking: Sign in for Petitions from the Public, 5 minutes each, at the beginning of the meeting.

The Madison BOCC has had three special called meetings about Valdosta wastewater, in which it allocated $5,000 for water well testing, declared a State of Emergency, extended it twice, and received a report of results of testing of private wells. Madison BOCC also also distributed information from Madison County Health Department about testing water wells and when and how to disinfect a water well.

Hamilton County, Florida BOCC and Health Department implemented the same measures. Will Valdosta pay for these extraordinary expenditures of money and resources by downstream counties?

What did Valdosta, Lowndes County, or Brooks County, Georgia, do? It seems that there are fewer people living along the Withlacoochee River in those counties than in these Florida counties, but some concern for those that do would seem appropriate.

In the agenda packet, on page 12, are the one-page MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL MEETING, FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2020:

[Well testing results]
Well testing results
PDF

New Business #1: Discussion and Possible Approval of Extension of Declaration of State of Emergency in Response to the City of Valdosta Sewage Spill into the Withlachoochee River. Continue reading

Valdosta sewage from Sugar Creek to Florida 2019-01-01

Update 2020-01-03 Valdosta Sewage Public Meeting, Valdosta City Hall Annex, 2020-01-08.

You can see Valdosta’s sewage going down the Withlacoochee River as the high red numbers in these composite tables WWALS has cobbled together from various data sources (all acknowledged below).

Early on, the sewage apparently mostly sat in Sugar Creek downstream from the spill site, due to low water and no rain.

[Early (12/10-12/18)]
Early (12/10-12/18)

Most of the Georgia numbers in above table are from Valdosta Utilities data. The ones marked with a W are WWALS data using the Georgia Adopt-a-Stream 3M Petrifilms method.

Fecal coliform numbers started dropping in Sugar Creek at Gornto Road on December 14, and were much more acceptable by December 15 and 16th. Where did the sewage go? Continue reading

Water fast and dirty at Nankin Boat Ramp after Valdosta record sewage spill 2019-12-26

2019-12-28: High E. coli at state line in Florida DOH water quality data 2019-12-24.

At Nankin Thursday: 533 cfu/100 mL E. coli, well above the state limit of 200, and up from 33 on December 15, and zero on December 11 and 8 and November 23.

Florida already saw elevated bacterial counts at the state line on Tuesday, so the Withlacoochee River is apparently contaminated with Valdosta sewage all the way from Sugar Creek down to the Florida line. Yet Valdosta still hasn’t put up any warning signs on the Withlacoochee River downstream from Sugar Creek.

[Across]
Across

That December 26th reading by Suzy Hall at Nankin Boat Ramp isn’t as high as her recent numbers at Knights Ferry: 6,767 on December 24 and 4,966 on December 21st (with 100 on December 15th and zero on December 11th). Nonetheless, it looks like Valdosta’s sewage has spread downstream from Knights Ferry to Nankin.

At 533 cfu/100 ml, you probably don’t want to get that river water on you. Georgia standards indicate Continue reading