Tag Archives: Our Santa Fe River

Charlton County Commission passed resolution supporting titanium mine near Okefenokee Swamp 2019-08-15

Causing outrage from the packed house, the Charlton County Commission refused Thursday to let anyone speak who did not live in the county or own land there. This was after the Commission unanimously passed a resolution supporting the proposed titanium mine, without any public hearing and with citizens at all permitted to speak beforehand. The resolution apparently says it depends on the miners getting permits, and Charlton County does not decide on those permits. The opposition is now even more determined to stop those permits by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the state of Georgia. You, too, can comment to USACE and GA-EPD by the current deadline of September 12, 2019.

[Signs]
Photo: John S. Quarterman, before 2019-08-13 TPM meeting. L-r: Mark Lyons of Citizens Against Phosphate Mining, Alice Keyes of One Hundred Miles, Hilda Gilchrist of Our Santa Fe River (OSFR), Jim Tatum of OSFR and WWALS, Rena Peck Stricker of Georgia River Network, Mike Roth and Kristin Rubin of OSFR and WWALS, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper, Merillee Malwitz-Jipson of OSFR and WWALS.

The Charlton County Commission’s public speaking rule is indeed new, since the previous month Continue reading

Nestle water supply @ SRWMD 2019-08-13

Nestlé’s permit request to with draw even more massive amounts of water from Ginnie Springs on the Santa Fe River does not explicitly appear in next Tuesday’s SRWMD board packet.

Nonetheless, you can go ahead and ask SRWMD not to approve that permit: OSFR explains how.

Nestlé has long sucked up water next to Madison Blue Spring on the Suwannee River, paying nothing per gallon, and now Nestlé has bought the bottler at Ginnie Springs on the Santa Fe River, Seven Springs Water Co., which is applying for a new permit to pay nothing to withdraw even more water for nothing; see Cindy Swirko, Gainesville Sun, 1 August 2019, Permit sought for bottled water from Ginnie Springs. Gilchrist County already approved the permit, but the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) has not yet.

[Location Map]
Location Map
PDF

This is in Tuesday’s SRWMD packet: Continue reading

Videos: Parker Pond water withdrawals, BMAPs, Valdosta, and Testing @ SRWMD 2019-05-14

The deputy went in to see what the ruckus was about. It was Lu Merritt, Mike Roth, Jim Tatum, Mike Kern, and then me, in extensive discussion about a water withdrawal permit request, that Jim Tatum called Words of Truth to the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) Board.

On the agenda for that Monday, 14 May 2019:

20. Approval of New Water Use Permit 2-001-234425-1, Authorizing a Maximum 0.1462 mgd of Groundwater for Agricultural Use at the Parker Pond Project, Alachua County

I was actually there for this later item:

30. Valdosta Wastewater Update

In interaction with Tom Mirti, I confirmed that FDEP is doing DNA and sucralose (human waste marker) testing monthly at the GA-FL line on the Withlacoochee and Alapaha (not Alapahoochee) Rivers, and at the Withlacoochee Confluence with the Suwannee River. However, SRWMD has no plans for doing complementary weeks.

I found the public relations method research by Katelyn Potter to be fascinating.

Below are links to each WWALS video of each speaker, with some notes, followed by a WWALS video playlist. 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

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

Videos: Valdosta Wastewater at SRWMD Board 2019-02-12

Update 2019-02-18: The rest of the Valdosta wastewater story at SRWMD 2019-02-12.

The most direct interaction by the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) Board that I’ve ever seen, yesterday, when Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse came to explain what Valdosta has done and is doing to stop its sewage spills. Neither the board nor the audience seemed satisfied.

[Movie: Darryl Muse, Utilities Director, Valdosta (1458M)]
Movie: Darryl Muse, Utilities Director, Valdosta (1458M)

Stay tuned for another post about some of what was said. Meanwhile, below are links to each WWALS video of each speaker or agenda item, with a few notes. These WWALS videos are under a Creative Commons Attribution license, which means you can use them, provide you cite the source, which is WWALS. There are a few more pictures on the WWALS website. See also the agenda. For background and data, see: Continue reading

Seven more Georgia, Three more Florida, plus slides: ask GA-EPD to tell everyone about spills in Georgia; you can, too! 2018-11-15

Update 2018-12-21: GA-EPD daily online Sewage Spill Reports!

Update 2018-12-14: Now plus a petition individuals can sign.

Update 2018-12-12: Four more Georgia groups make 31: Georgia Women (And Those Who Stand With Us), Atlanta Audubon Society, Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy, and No Ash At All—Wayne County.

[More Signatures]

Florida groups: you can sign on, too, like some already have!

Update 2018-11-15: Three more Georgia groups make 27: GARC, Ogeechee Riverkeeper, and SELC. Plus slides: Continue reading

Phosphate mines on agenda, Gilchrist BOCC, 2018-06-18

Mike Roth, president of Our Santa Fe River, requests:

On Monday, June 18, at the Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners meeting in Trenton which starts at 4PM, we will get the opportunity to appeal to the Board to issue a “letter of concern” regarding the phosphate mine applied for in Bradford and Union Counties. As you certainly know, OSFR has stood in opposition to this mine on the grounds that it is a substantial threat to the health of the Santa Fe River and to all those who live by the river and all those who use the river recreationally. Further, it threatens the aquifer that is recharged by the river and as such, anyone and anything that uses groundwater.

When: 4PM (hearing 4:45 PM), Monday, June 18, 2018

Where: Board of County Commissioners Meeting Facility,
210 South Main Street, Trenton, Florida

What: Letter of concern about HPS II Phosphate Mine in Bradford and Union Counties, Florida

Gilchrist County Commissioners from left to right: Sharon A. Langford, Kenrick Thomas, Todd Gray, D Ray Harrison, Jr., and Marion Poitevint
Gilchrist County Commissioners from left to right: Sharon A. Langford, Kenrick Thomas, Todd Gray, D Ray Harrison, Jr., and Marion Poitevint

Gilchrist County is downstream 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

Aerial photographs of Phosphate Mine site: WWALS to Union BOCC 2017-09-18

Sent today (as PDF) before this afternoon’s 4:30 PM Union County BOCC meeting at Union County High School.

September 18, 2017

To: James Tallman, Chairman
Union County Board of County Commissioners
15 NE 1st Street, Lake Butler, FL 32054
(386) 496-4241
ucbocc@windstream.net

Cc: Scott R. Koons, Executive Director
North Central Florida Regional Planning Council
2009 NW 67th Pl, Gainesville, FL 32653
(352) 955-2200
koons@ncfrpc.org

Re: Aerial photographs of Phosphate Mine site

Dear Chairman Tallman, Commissioners, Staff, Director Koons, and NCFRPC,

Sometimes it helps to see the problem from a different point of view, so on September 1st Suwannee Riverkeeper organized an overflight of the proposed HPS II mine site. Here are a few aerials from that flight. I hope they help encourage you to rezone to prevent mining in Union County, regardless whether from the current proposals or from others.

In addition to the few examples below, a few hundred more pictures are online here:

http://www.l-a-k-e.org/issues/phosphate/2017-09-01–southwings-phosphate/

The Howard mine site at the corner of CR 231 and the New River includes Five Mile Creek and other wetlands. Between there and the Pritchett mine site many people own land that could be affected. Just beyond is Worthington Springs, downhill and thus downstream from the mine.

W across Howard mine site, Five Mile Creek, SW 48th Path, CR 18A, Pritchett mine site, Worthington Springs
W across Howard mine site, Five Mile Creek, SW 48th Path, CR 18A, Pritchett mine site, Worthington Springs, 09:53:54, 29.9461300, -82.3565700

From the air, Union county looks Continue reading