Tag Archives: Hamilton County

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

Agenda: Florida Counties meet Valdosta about sewage 2019-07-10

Here’s the agenda for tonight’s Special Called Meeting of the Valdosta City Council, with business of Valdosta Utilities presenting to the dozen Florida counties. You may wonder why you haven’t seen this City Council meeting on Valdosta’s website or in the Valdosta Daily Times. Well, Georgia Open Meetings law only requires one notice on the front of the venue and a notice to the newspaper of record 24 hours in advance.

When: 6PM, Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Where: General Purpose Room,
Valdosta City Hall Annex,
300 North Lee Street, Valdosta, GA 31601

Event: facebook

[071019-Special-Called-Meeting-Agenda-0001]
071019-Special-Called-Meeting-Agenda-0001
PDF

Maybe Valdosta should consider that elected official embarassment does not outweigh informing the public.

Thanks to Valdosta City Clerk Teresa Bolden for the agenda. See also Continue reading

Again: Florida Counties meet Valdosta about sewage in rivers and wells 2019-07-10

Update 2019-07-11: WWALS Videos.

Update 2019-07-10: The agenda.

Like three months ago, the dozen downstream Florida counties will meet with Valdosta again tomorrow. It’s a public meeting and anyone may attend. Presumably, like last time, anyone may ask questions.

When: 6PM, Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Where: General Purpose Room,
Valdosta City Hall Annex,
300 North Lee Street, Valdosta, GA 31601

Event: facebook

[Movie: 10% completion of 162 years? --Tom Mirti, SRWMD]
Movie: 10% completion of 162 years? –Tom Mirti, SRWMD

We already knew about this from Continue reading

Waterfalls, rapids, and a lawn chair: Statenville to Sasser Landing 2019-07-06

Nineteen paddlers in fifteen boats braved the early morning deluge, which quit just in time to start paddling the Alapaha River from Statenville Boat Ramp to Sasser Landing, past many waterfalls, quite a few shoals, one real rapid, and an incoming river too fast to paddle up. Even a couple of unexpected boat ramps, one of them concrete.

[Ronnie, Shirley, Fountain, 13:50:02, 30.6253002, -83.0480667]
Ronnie, Shirley, Fountain, 13:50:02, 30.6253002, -83.0480667

Around every corner, a waterfall. Continue reading

Moms for Clean Water, Allen Ramp, Withlacoochee River, Hamilton Co., FL 2019-06-01

Five #MomsforCleanWater took pictures before paddling from Allen Ramp on the Withlacoochee River, past Powerline Spring, Fairy Spring, and Corbett Spring in Hamilton County, as well as four shoals, inclding the infamous Melvin Shoals, and second magnitude Suwannacoochee Spring in Madison County, all in Florida.

[Cathy and Debra #MomsforCleanWater]
Cathy and Debra #MomsforCleanWater

You can print the PDF of the form they’re holding and post your own selfie, hashtags #MomsforCleanWater #SuwanneeRiverkeeper. Waterkeepers Florida has a handy web form to send your picture on to the First Lady of Florida. Continue reading

Water Trails and River Camps @ Paddle Georgia 2019-06-17

Last night at Paddle Georgia, #PaddleGA2019, Gwyneth Moody explained Georgia Water Trails, Edwin McCook explained the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail and its River Camps, and Katie Conrad explained the Suwannee Headwaters Project, which is about arranging camping betweent the Okefenokee Swamp and White Springs, in Georgia and Florida. Here are videos of what Edwin and Katie said.

[Georgia Water Trails --Gwyneth Moody]
Georgia Water Trails –Gwyneth Moody

Yes, Edwin left copies of the SRWT Pamphlets, which we will have at the Suwannee Riverkeeper table at Camp Suwannee tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday.

See also the WCTV report of that same day, River Camp between the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers? 2019-06-17.

Shoals and Springs, Allen Ramp to SRSP, Withlacoochee River 2019-06-01

This Saturday, four shoals (Battery, Wipe-Out, Deer, and Melvin) and four springs (Powerline, Fairy, Corbett, and second-magnitude Suwannacoochee), all on the Withlacoochee River, from Allen Ramp to Suwannee River State Park.

[Shoals and springs]
Shoals and springs

Location of shoals from Chris Mericle, Blackwater River Guide. River mile calculations for them by Shirley Kokidko, both in the interactive map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

For outing details, see: Continue reading

Allen Ramp to SRSP, Withlacoochee River: Paddle Georgia Preview, 2019-06-01

Update 2019-05-30: Map of shoals and springs along the way.

Wild and beautiful Withlacoochee River to the Confluence. We will pass numerous rocky shoals requiring some skills so this outing may not be appropriate for beginners and young children. There are clear springs to explore, such as Suwannacoochee Spring at Ellaville. This is a preview of part of Paddle Georgia 2019. #PaddleGA2019

When: Gather 8:00 AM, launch 9:30 AM, Saturday, June 1, 2019

Put In: Allen Ramp, From Jasper, travel north on US 41 to SR 6; turn left; travel south on SW CR 141 to SW CR 143; turn right and follow SW CR 143 to SW 64 Way and follow to ramp. Also known as CR 143 ramp (SRWMD).

GPS: 30.449167, -83.221333

Take Out: Suwannee River State Park Ramp, 3631 201st Path, Live Oak, FL 32060, in Suwannee County.
Taking out requires a very brief paddle upstream on the Suwannee River.

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Don’t forget a rope in case you need to drag your boat across shoals. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Park: Remember to have $5 cash for the state park fee, for each vehicle that will be shuttled to the take out at Suwannee River State Park.

Event: facebook, meetup

Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Allen Ramp, 2014-09-21
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Allen Ramp, 2014-09-21.

Continue reading

Florida Folk Festival Saturday 2019-05-24-26

Volunteers are signed up for the WWALS booth at Florida Folk Festival. We’ll have the froggy toss game for small children, paddling and advocacy material for adults, the Enviroscape for those in between.

When: 6:30 PM – 11 PM, Friday, May 24, 2019
10 AM – 11 PM, Saturday, May 25, 2019
10 AM – 11 PM, Sunday, May 26, 2019

Where: Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, 11016 Lillian Sanders Dr, White Springs, FL 32096

What: Music, food, dance, crafts, and culture, since 1952.

Event: facebook

Children, Enviroscape, froggy toss, raffle kayak, Nearby
Photo: John S. Quarterman, at 2018 Florida Folk Festival.

Maybe some songwriters would like to send in songs for the Second Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

Thanks again to Continue reading

Jim Tatum reports on FL Rivers Task Force meeting 2019-04-25

Thanks to Jim Tatum of OSFR for reporting from the April 25th meeting of the twelve-Florida-county Rivers Task Force meeting in Lake City. His Task Force on Valdosta Spills says the Task Force is asking Florida Senator Rubio to speed permitting for Valdosta’s WWTP catch basin. It doesn’t say whether they get the point that the other third of Valdosta’s December spills would not be affected by that.

It says they’re still agonizing about direct notification of spills. Our experience with Valdosta and that of many others is that it’s not worth wasting time expecting Valdosta to notify anybody except the state of Georgia, which is why it’s so useful that GA-EPD publishes Sewage Spill Reports each business day. That’s been going on since December 20, 2018, after 30 organizations in Georgia and Florida, including OSFR, signed a resolution asking GA-EPD to do that.

Photo: Jim Tatum for OSFR; Darlene Velez of SRWMD explains the water quality missions of the state agencies.
Photo: Jim Tatum for OSFR; Darlene Velez of SRWMD explains the water quality missions of the state agencies.

The hot button at the moment is water quality monitoring and sampling. Thanks to OSFR’s Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson and WWALS ‘ John Quarterman, it was revealed some time ago that water sampling has been less than adequate by our (and Georgia’s) agencies, lacking even a baseline for comparison in places.

Once called out, the agencies have been scrambling and Ms. Velez’ PowerPoint covered this wonderfully. Your writer did not know that Continue reading