Tag Archives: rain

Very clean Withlacoochee River 2020-10-15

Update 2020-10-20: Adel spilled ten days ago; did not show up in downstream water quality data 2020-10-10.

Water quality results from WWALS and Madison Health for Thursday and from Valdosta for Wednesday concur: happy boating, swimming, and fishing on the Withlacoochee River this weekend!

While all such results are merely advisory, because conditions can change very quickly, also there has been very little rain to wash anything into the river, and no reported sewage spills.

[KF, Nankin, State Line, Results, Swim Guide, plate]
KF, Nankin, State Line, Results, Swim Guide, plate

WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach got 33 cfu/100 mL E. coli at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp for Thursday, October 15, 2020, and zero for Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps. Continue reading

Ashburn spilled sewage three times in September 2020-09-27

Update 2020-10-17: Very clean Withlacoochee River 2020-10-15.

Ashburn, Georgia, spilled 210,000 gallons of raw sewage spread over three times in September and the public only got notified Wednesday, four weeks after the first spill. There’s not enough water quality testing data downstream from those spills to know what effects they may have had for example on Reed Bingham State Park.

[Charts and Map: Ashburn spills to GA-FL line]
Charts and Map: Ashburn spills to GA-FL line

Ashburn spilled once into Hat Creek, which runs into the Alapaha River, and twice from its MLK Lift Station into a tributary of Ashburn Branch, which runs into the Little River. We don’t have any data downstream on the Alapaha for that time period, so we don’t know anything about downstream effects. We do have quite a bit of downstream data for the other two spills, but so far downstream and with so many other things going on that it’s hard to tell if there were any effects showing up in that data.

About the only thing we know for sure is it would be great for Ashburn to get a grip on its chronic sewage spill problem, starting by at least reporting spills in a timely manner. That and it would be great if the state of Georgia or the federal government would resume testing on the Little and Alapaha Rivers as they apparently used to do up until about 1998, so we would know, for example, did this spill affect Reed Bingham State Park.

These are the spills, as reported in the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) Sewage Spills Report. WWALS commends GA-EPD for those online reports. GA-EPD can’t publish spills until it receives reports from the spilling organizaiton. Maybe Ashburn could be a bit more timely in reporting. Continue reading

Health Advisory, Withlacoochee River, State Line 2020-10-02

Update 2020-10-06 Two or more sources last Tuesday, advisory lifted Monday, Withlacoochee River 2020-10-05.

A Health Advisory was isssued today by Madison and Hamilton Counties, Florida, for fecal bacteria in the Withlacoochee River, apparently based on a too-high water quality test result at the GA-FL line on Thursday (yesterday). As that washes downstream, it’s probably best to avoid the river. Upstream, Valdosta reported a too-high reading at GA 133, and that is probably also washing down the river, so this is not a good weekend for boating.

[Chart, State Line, Swim Guide, Advisory]
Chart, State Line, Swim Guide, Advisory
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida water quality results, see:
http://wwals.net/issues/testing/

You sure can’t tell what’s in Withlacoochee River water by looking at it. Continue reading

GA 133 and Knights Ferry in 2.5 weeks of Valdosta and Florida water quality data 2020-09-24

Update 2020-10-02: Health Advisory, Withlacoochee River, State Line 2020-10-02.

Mostly all clear on the Withlacoochee River in a bunch of data Valdosta and FDEP posted recently, except a bad reading at Knights Ferry Friday a week ago, and yet again a problem at GA 133 this past Monday.

The latest (Wednesday by Valdosta and Thursday by Madison Health) indicates good quality for this weekend. Since there has been hardly any rain to wash anything into the river, all the WWALS Withlacoochee River “beaches” remain green on Swim Guide.

Happy boating, so far as we can see!

[Charts and map]
Charts and map

Valdosta’s new data goes back two and a half weeks downstream, and FDEP filled in Tuesday a week ago as well as this Tuesday and Thursday.

That long chart is hard to read, so let’s take it a week at a time. Continue reading

Bad far upstream and far downstream: Withlacoochee, Clyatt Mill Creek, Suwannee, Santa Fe 2020-09-21

Update 2020-09-26: GA 133 and Knights Ferry in 2.5 weeks of Valdosta and Florida water quality data 2020-09-24.

The most diverse set of testing data ever! It’s not bad upstream on the Withlacoochee River, but worse the farther down the Suwannee River, and, surprisingly, also the Santa Fe River.

[Rivers and Results]
Rivers and Results

Valdosta has reported for upstream on the Withlacoochee River for last Wednesday (good) and Friday (bad at GA 133, good at US 84).

Suzy Hall reported for WWALS at Clyatt Mill Creek (not bad, and thanks Langdale Company), and on the Suwannee River at Gibson Park (good for E. coli but very puzzling) and Anderson Spring Launch (good).

Loretta Tennant reported for WWALS on the Santa Fe River at Lemmons Ramp (alert!) and on the Suwannee River at Ivey Metropolitan Park in Branford (bad) and at Yellow Jacket Ramp between Manatee Springs and Fowlers Bluff (horrible). That’s enough to make us wonder if some of what’s getting into the Lower Suwannee River might be coming from the Santa Fe River.

We have no new data from FDEP or other Florida government agencies. Floridians, maybe you’d like to ask your elected and appointed officials for more water quality testing, especially downstream where we’re finding these bad results.

Meanwhile, all the WWALS “beaches” on Swim Guide remain green. That’s because we don’t have as beaches GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River nor as yet anything on the Suwannee River.

[Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers]
Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers
in the WWALS map of all public boat access in the Suwannee River Basin.

Withlacoochee River

Valdosta reported late this afternoon on its usual Continue reading

Bad lower Suwannee, good Withlacoochee and Alapaha 2020-09-14

Update 2020-09-18: OK Withlacoochee River Quality, sewage spill Suwannee, FL, Suwannee River 2020-09-17

Sunday, Suzy Hall tested for WWALS at Sullivan Launch @ CR 15 on the Withlacoochee River, and got good results.

This despite a report of cows in a creek near the river just upstream in Hamilton County, Florida: that’s right, Florida, not Georgia.

Loretta Tennant’s WWALS results for the lower Suwannee were not so pretty.

And while Valdosta’s results for late last week corroborate those of WWALS and Madison Health, for Wedensday, September 2, Valdosta got bad results at State Line Boat Ramp.

[Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers]
Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers

Lower Suwannee River

Monday, September 14, 2020, Loretta Tennant tested again for WWALS at Continue reading

Good downstream, but recurring GA 133, Withlacoochee River 2020-08-27

Update 2020-09-01: Valdosta concurs last week, but not week before, Withlacoochee River 2020-08-28

The good news: all WWALS results for Thursday were good downstream on the Withlacoochee River, and for Tuesday from Madison Health. So as far as we can tell, happy boating, swimming, and fishing this weekend on the Withlacoochee River.

The bad news: something is still getting into the Withlacoochee River above GA 133, and it does not seem related to rainfall. This bad news has been going on too long. It really needs to be resolved for the Troupville River Park.

[Good Troupville, Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line Boat Ramps; bad GA 133]
Good Troupville, Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line Boat Ramps; bad GA 133

Thursday (yesterday) I sampled at Continue reading

Valdosta concurs: Withlacoochee River quality still looks good 2020-08-17

Update 2020-08-21 Looking clean downstream, Withlacoochee River 2020-08-20

Valdosta’s Friday and Monday results upstream and down concur with WWALS’ Sunday upstream results: the Withlacoochee River looks good for boating, swimming, and fishing. All such indications are merely advisory, of course, because water quality can change rapidly. There was rain upstream on the Little River Tuesday, but very little in Brooks County, so chances are good conditions will continue until there’s heavier rain.

[Chart and Swim Guide map]
Chart and Swim Guide map

The high E. coli in Crooked Creek Sunday apparently really did get diluted in Okapilco Creek and the Withlacoochee River before it reached Continue reading

Good upstream water quality, Little, Withlacoochee, Okapilco, worst Crooked Creek @ 2020-08-16

Update 2020-08-19: Valdosta concurs: Withlacoochee River quality still looks good 2020-08-17.

WWALS testers for Sunday after little rain found low water and good water quality upstream on the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers and Okapilco Creek in Cook, Lowndes, and Brooks Counties, Georgia, but very bad E. coli on Crooked Creek @ Devane Road in Brooks County.

[Green Swim Guide, pictures, results]
Green Swim Guide, pictures, results

Conn and Trudy Cole got 200 cfu/100 mL E. coli on the Little River @ GA 76 (Cook County Boat Ramp). That’s above the 126 long-term average limit, but still good enough to mark Cook County Boat Ramp green on Swim Guide. They remarked that’s the highest they’ve gotten there. Well, recently: back on April 25, 2020, after very heavy rain, they got 433, which is above the 410 one-time sample limit. That would be a red mark on Swim Guide, so it’s good they got 200 this time. See also What do these numbers mean?

[Good upstream, nasty Crooked Creek]
Good upstream, nasty Crooked Creek
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida water quality results, see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/

A bit downstream on the Little River @ GA 122 (Folsom Bridge Landing) I got Continue reading

WWALS concurs, good to boat, Withlacoochee River 2020-08-06

Update 2020-08-15: Moultrie rain washed E. coli down Okapilco Creek; good now 2020-08-13

WWALS testers Jacob and Michael Bachrach also got good results from their Thursday samples: 66 cfu/100 mL E. coli at State Line Boat Ramp and zero (0) at Nankin and Knights Ferry Boat Ramps. Can’t get much better than that!

WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall did remark that the Petrifilms for State Line showed quite a bit of other Fecal coliforms. But we can’t quantify those with the Petrifilm method, and we go by E. coli.

Of course, something else could have gotten into the river since Thursday. All of these results are always merely advisory.

But as far as we can tell, it’s a great weekend for boating on the Withlacoochee River!

[Good WWALS results, Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line]
Good WWALS results, Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line
For context and the complete WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida results, see: http://wwals.net/issues/testing/

As you can see, the WWALS 66 at State Line was quite similar to the Madison Health 10. The Florida agencies use laboratories with more precision in their results than WWALS can get with Petrifilms: 66 is the lowest WWALS can show before zero.

These Thursday WWALS results at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line corroborate what Valdosta got Wednesday at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line, shifted downstream somewhat due to water flow and a day later. Note Valdosta got slightly higher results at Nankin Wednesday, and WWALS got slightly higher at State Line, which is about what we would expect from water flow.

Until the next big rain (or dumping or, we sure hope not, sewage spill), water quality will probably remain good.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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