Tag Archives: quality

The #Trashtag Challenge: Cleanups are good, but throwaway plastic needs to be stopped

It’s great the #Trashtag Challenge is getting people to clean up litter, but remember the straw and the sea turtle. Let’s also get on with fixing the problem, which is throwaway plastic and other discardable containers and wrappers.

[A new challenge.]
A new challenge.

It’s fun and useful to clean up a creek, like we did Sunday on Onemile Branch at Azalea Festival in Valdosta.

[Scotti downstream]
Scotti downstream

WWALS does this on every outing, which is also a cleanup, plus some specific cleanups, such as two at Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River and one at Sheboggy on the Alapaha River last year. We find the amount of trash tends to go down, as more people catch on that we need to take care of our waters.

Yet more needs to be done. Remember last year at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, the sea turtle and the straw? Continue reading

Onemile Branch Cleanup, Drexel Park, during Azalea Festival 2019-03-10

Update 2019-03-12: The #Trashtag Challenge: Cleanups are good, but throwaway plastic needs to be stopped.

Not bad for an idea from a few days before: a cleanup at Onemile Branch in Drexel Park during Azalea Festival.

[Beatriz assisting]
Beatriz assisting

Juan and Luisa from Colombia with the VSU English Language Institute waded into the stream, with Beatriz Potter holding the bucket and Tom Potter advising.

Sara Jay explained her WWALS water quality test kit.

[Sara explaining]
Sara explaining

Continue reading

Urge your Georgia state Senator to vote no on HB 545 to preserve rural property rights

Georgia HB 545 restricts property owners from filing a nuisance claim against an industrial agricultural operation. If a Chinese concentrated hog farming operation like those in North Carolina moves in next door, you may have no recourse if this law passes. Smells from pools of animal waste, pesticide drift, or underground contamination of your well water: all these things can travel for miles, and this bill could prevent you from objecting to them.

No on GA HB 545

In Georgia, people are living a “lightmare” from mega-greenhouses owned by an international conglomerate.

HB 545 would prevent property owners from protecting their own property values. Existing law already protects agricultural operations from neighbors who move in next to the farm. This bill favors newly arriving, disruptive industrial agricultural operations over long-established property owners.

Follow this link to send a message today to your Senator and the Governor to VOTE NO on HB 545. Protect rural property rights.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

WCTV on FL Counties Rivers Task Force and Valdosta Wastewater 2019-03-07

It turns out Valdosta can schedule a workshop for elected officials to meet with the Valdosta City Council, as the the dozen downstream Florida counties previously requested.

Local waterways, Protect

Emma Wheeler, WCTV, 7 March 2019, Task force looks to curb Valdosta sewage spills,

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) — Communities continue to push for more prevention of spills at Valdosta’s wastewater treatment system.

Several North Florida counties down the river from Valdosta formed a task force last year to try and protect local waterways. The group is now hoping the states can step in to help.

Priority to protect, Protect

Counties across North Florida and South Georgia are making it a priority to protect the rivers. The task force has passed a Continue reading

Urge your Georgia state legislators to stop coal ash pollution: HB 93, 94 and SB 123

Crossover day is this Thursday, by which bills have to pass one part of the Georgia legislature to be considered in the other. Please contact your state legislators today to stop coal ash pollution!

Coal ash from the infamous Kingston, Tennessee coal ash pond dam break in 2008 was shipped to at least five landfills in south Georgia, including the old landfill in Lowndes County, which is in an aquifer recharge zone and a quarter mile uphill from the Withlacoochee River. That landfill also has coal ash from Jacksonville, Florida. We don’t need any more coal ash in any landfills in Georgia. The power companies that produced it need to store it safely on their own land.

TVA aerial image of Kingston Ash Slide 2008-12-23
TVA aerial image of Kingston Ash Slide 2008-12-23.

Please call your Georgia state legislators today, to support:

SRWMD Board Packet 2019-03-12

The testing results promised last time will apparently be in the workshop, which is usually around noon or 1PM:

Also Bob’s River Place, on the Suwannee River in Dixie County, is on the agenda yet again, this time for a variance, after last time they said they had received new information.

Board Members, SRWMD
Current SRWMD Board Members.

Received Monday, 4 March 2019: Board agenda and packet and Lands Committee Agenda and packet. See also the WWALS writeup and videos from the February SRWMD board meeting, which was mostly about Valdosta wastewater.

AGENDA
SUWANNEE RIVER WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
GOVERNING BOARD MEETING AND PUBLIC HEARING

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

March 12, 2019
9:00 a.m.

District Headquarters
Live Oak, Florida

Continue reading

Tifton: Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council 2019-04-24

Received Friday, this Meeting Notice:

Counties, Region

Announcement Date: March 1, 2019
TO ALL INTERESTED PERSONS AND PARTIES:

The Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council
will hold a council meeting at the following date, time and location:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Registration: 10:00 A.M. – 10:30 A.M.

Meeting: 10:30 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.

41 AND Main
343 Main St. S,
Tifton, GA 31794

For additional information Continue reading

Videos: Florida Rivers Task Force about Valdosta Wastewater 2019-02-28

Update 2019-03-17: Valdosta has agreed to meet with the dozen downstream Florida counties, elected officials to elected officials, 6PM, Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at Valdosta City Hall Annex, and “the public will have an opportunity to speak.”

A dozen downstream Florida counties want to meet with the Valdosta City Council, elected officials to elected officials, to present a resolution they passed urging the states of Florida and Georgia to do something about Valdosta’s sewage, and to discuss raising funds to help Valdosta fix its sewage infrastructure, so the Florida counties can restore their eco-tourism on the Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Suwannee, and Santa Fe Rivers. Restoring eco-tourism came up again and again. It’s not just the actual sewage, which never gets to Taylor or Alachua Counties. It’s the stigma of sewage in the rivers. Fixing Valdosta’s spills and regular testing to find other sources are needed.

Valdosta said no. So delegates from all dozen counties are going to come to the March 21, 2019, Valdosta City Council Regular Session and speak in Citizens to Be Heard, three minutes each, some time after 5:30 PM that Thursday evening.

[Movie: Approval of Resolution (115M)]
Movie: Approval of Resolution (115M) Task Force, clockwise from front: Scott R. Koons (NCFRPC), Ken Cornell (Alachua County), Anthony Adams (Lafayette County), Don Hale (Suwannee County), Gene Higginbotham (Dixie County), Kenrick Thomas (Gilchrist County), Danny Riddick (Bradford County), Thomas Demps (Taylor County), Beth Burnam (Hamilton County), Rick Davis (Chair, Madison County)

Apparently Valdosta told them that Valdosta doesn’t do workshops or joint meetings, which is curious, since Valdosta’s city council members a month earlier met with council members from all the other Lowndes County cities and the Lowndes County Commissioners about their Service Delivery Strategy, which includes wastewater. Last year, members of Valdosta Mayor and Council met with elected officials Continue reading

Resolution pending by Rivers Task Force in Lake City meeting 2019-02-28

Received Thursday. The Rivers Task Force of the dozen downstream Florida counties will be voting next Thursday on a resolution asking the State of Florida (FDEP, SRWMD, etc.) to do something about Valdosta’s sewage spills.

[4PM Thu 28 Feb 2019, Holiday Inn, Lake City, FL]
4PM Thu 28 Feb 2019, Holiday Inn, Lake City, FL

When: 4PM, Thursday, February 28, 2019

Where: Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, 213 Southwest Commerce Boulevard, Lake City, Florida

What: A meeting of the Middle and Lower Suwannee River and Withlacoochee River Task Force

Directions: From the intersection of Interstate 75 and U.S. Highway 90 (exit 427) in the City of Lake City turn, East onto U.S. Highway 90, travel approximately 450 feet to SW Commerce Blvd, turn right (South) onto SW Commerce Blvd, travel approximately 720 feet and the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites is on the left.

The agenda, after the customary introductory items, has only a resolution and Next Steps.

[Resolution and Next Steps]
Resolution and Next Steps

Not on the agenda, but mentioned in the minutes of the previous meeting:

The Task Force agreed that the next steps should be to request a meeting with the Governor and Commissioner of Agriculture. Chair Davis informed the Task Force that the next meeting will be held on 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