Tag Archives: Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson

Waterkeepers in Tallahassee 2019-03-13

Three of the Waterkeepers of Florida were at the Capitol in Tallahassee Wednesday, two of them for Reclaiming Florida’s Future for All, an annual event organized by ReThink Energy Florida and others. Of course Our Santa Fe River (OSFR) was prominently represented. Banning fracking was top of the long list of issues on the agenda. Water Quality and Quantity included Valdosta (and other) wastewater.

[Speaking]
Speaking

Lake Worth Waterkeeper Reinaldo Diaz advocates for the Lake Worth Lagoon and its watershed, a coastal estuary running along the eastern edge of Palm Beach County.

[Lisa Rinaman et al.]
Lisa Rinaman et al.

Scariest of all to polluters is St Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman, seen here with Continue reading

Monthly Florida bacterial monitoring 2019-02-21

Two weeks ago, WWALS member Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson asked the state of Florida what baseline water quality testing had been done downstream of Valdota, and:

Please begin water samplings for the isotope for sucralose, fecal coliform testing and any other water testing establishing what or who is culpable of contamination in our protected, Outstanding Florida Waterways.

Yesterday she got an answer. She agrees with my assessment of the data supplied: “Sparse locations and only monthly, but better than nothing.”

[DEAR bacterial monthly sampling stations]
DEAR bacterial monthly sampling stations

However, how can the state of Florida be “committed to monitoring and stopping this recurring problem.” when they “do not allow for enforcement actions directed at the source of sanitary sewer overflows, nor for routine water quality surveillance for sources of river water contamination”?

Now it’s true that last restriction was only cited as applying to the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), not the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration (DEAR), and not to the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD). But which of this alphabet soup of agencies should be doing “routine water quality surveillance for sources of river water contamination”?

The beginning of the final paragraph of the response does not indicate any intention 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

Anyone who understands fracking opposes it 2015-05-12

This popular meme has lacked any indication of who wrote those words. Words that are relevant right now, when we need you all to support Florida SB 314 to ban fracking.

Now with authors, Meme

Here are the authors of those words: Jim Tatum and Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Pensacola News-Journal, online 11 May 2015, on paper the next day, Anyone who understands fracking opposes it,

Anyone who understands fracking is opposed to it. If they understand it but still support it, then they must be gaining profit from it. There is no “gray area” with fracking. There is nothing good about it. There is no such thing as safe fracking.

Rotated, Op-Ed

Millions of gallons are used for each and every frack, polluted Continue reading

Wastewater at Valdosta City Council, Winter 2018-2019

While the Rivers Task Force of the dozen downstream Florida counties is looking for something to do to help, Valdosta clearly hasn’t yet done enough to stop its sewage spills, but they are doing more. Here’s some context that may indicate what might help. Spoiler: water quality monitoring, funding for further fixes, and enforcement if necessary. Unless raw sewage spills really are what Valdosta wants to be known for in Tallahassee and Atlanta.

Totals, Table
See Valdosta December 2018 sewage and Hamilton County, FL legislative delegation 2019-01-16″>

Also: come on up and talk to the Valdosta City Council. Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson did, and it got their attention. They keep hearing from me for years now, and it helps to see somebody directly affected downstream come up and speak.

This post is mostly about two Valdosta City Council meetings, that included much discussion of the recent Valdosta wastewater spills, on on Continue reading

Energy Book co-authors 2018-08-07

We went to Rum 138 to see Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, when Janet Barrow and I needed to know about the early move of the Sabal Trail pipeline off of the Ichetucknee River. Merrillee, Janet, and I are writing a book about five years working together promoting solar power and opposing that hazardous fracked methane boondoggle.

Festive, Co-authors
Janet Barrow, John S. Quarterman, Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, 7 August 2018

Three laptops and mounds of paper were used. Almost three months later, we’re still digesting what Merrillee turned up out of her archives. Things we didn’t realize about fossil fuel feints and many solar successes are becoming clear as we compare notes.

Merrillee’s halo seems to be slipping in this picture, and my hat fell off: Continue reading

Sabal Trail, WWALS, OSFR’s Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, and FERC’s John Peconom in Jasper, FL 2014-10-21

Four years ago Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson set the festive tone outside a special Sabal Trail Open House:

Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson and family, Open House
Photo: John S. Quarterman, the family that demonstrates together stays together: “No pipeline in springs heartland” and “No pipeline in my future” and “Stop fossil fuel production”.

Merrillee has been in the thick of opposing fossil fuel boondoggles and promoting clean solar power since at least 2013.

Why was this one of only two Sabal Trail Open Houses in fall 2014, way back when FERC’s John Peconom actually answered when any of us called? Continue reading

Videos: Tour of Valdosta WTPs 2018-10-03

Thanks to Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse and staff for the Tour of Valdosta wastewater treatment plants Wednesday. Afterwards, I got them to sit down in a conference room and say again the most important points. They said what they had done to prevent future spills like the big ones this year.

Valdosta staff,
Counterclockwise from front: Utilities Director Darryl Muse, Public Information Officer Ashlyn Becton, Environmental Manager Scott Fowler, Mud Creek WTP Superintendent Mud Creek Stanley K. Martin.

We also elicited Valdosta Utilities’ view on the letter establishing the Middle and Lower Suwannee River and Withlacoochee River Task Force, which was mainly Continue reading

Bradford BOCC 2018-09-04

All the public speakers were against the phosphate mine. Before the Commissioners decided, Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson spoke about rain, the Chemours mine, and how what Bradford County does affects her business downstream. (I think Stasia Rudolph also spoke before I got there.) After some confusion on timing, afterwards Marc Lyons reminded them Citizens Against Phosphate Mines (CAPM) is ready to sue, and Kate Ellison said she hopes this means we will all see the consultant’s report before the public hearings. I sent a letter and a resolution the previous day and gave them paper copies.

The actual decision was much better than expected. While some Commissioners wanted to hold Continue reading

HPS II phosphate mine in Union and Bradford BOCC meetings

Steve Pieczenik called the Union County Commissioners brave, honest, respectful, efficient, and transparent public servants. Jim Tatum said they had foresight and had taken appropriate steps. Both complimented the many mine opponents who showed up and spoke their piece briefly and effectively. Here are a couple of reports from Union BOCC’s Monday workshop about the HPS II phosphate mine.

Aerial: From the New River across the HPS II mine site to Lake Butler
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS on Southwings flight, 17 Sep. 2017, N from New River across mine site: l. New River P. r. Beasley; left center prison; top left Lake Butler, 09:55:21, 29.9550800, -82.3183000

The next one is coming up 5PM Tuesday, January 16, 2018, at which Union BOCC is scheduled to vote on extending its moratorium against phosphate mining, as well as reviewing their proposed Comprehensive Plan changes.

Meanwhile, across the New River, Bradford BOCC Continue reading