Tag Archives: record

Valdosta Sewage Public Meeting, Valdosta City Hall Annex, 2020-01-08

Update 2020-01-05: Earlier this same Wednesday: Florida Sen. Bill Montford hosting Valdosta sewage public meeting in Madison, FL 2020-01-08.

A Special Called Meeting of the Valdosta City Council, about Valdosta’s record-largest raw sewage spill in December 2019, and what to do going forward. Attendees will include the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council (presumably its Task Force on this subject), and apparently GA-EPD, EPA, FDEP, SRWMD, and of course Suwannee Riverkeeper. It is a public meeting, so anyone can attend. If it’s run like previous such meetings, anyone can ask questions. We have plenty. I hope you do, too.

When: 6 PM, Wednesday, January 8, 2020

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

Event: facebook


“What storm events keep you up at night?” Alachua County Commissioner Ken Cornell asked Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse, 2019-10-07.

Continue reading

Valdosta sewage from Sugar Creek to Florida 2019-01-01

Update 2020-01-03 Valdosta Sewage Public Meeting, Valdosta City Hall Annex, 2020-01-08.

You can see Valdosta’s sewage going down the Withlacoochee River as the high red numbers in these composite tables WWALS has cobbled together from various data sources (all acknowledged below).

Early on, the sewage apparently mostly sat in Sugar Creek downstream from the spill site, due to low water and no rain.

[Early (12/10-12/18)]
Early (12/10-12/18)

Most of the Georgia numbers in above table are from Valdosta Utilities data. The ones marked with a W are WWALS data using the Georgia Adopt-a-Stream 3M Petrifilms method.

Fecal coliform numbers started dropping in Sugar Creek at Gornto Road on December 14, and were much more acceptable by December 15 and 16th. Where did the sewage go? Continue reading

Even filthier E. coli counts at Knights Ferry on Withlacoochee River 2019-12-24

Update 2019-12-28: Contamination apparently spread to Nankin Boat Ramp by December 26, and still no warning signs.

Suzy still saw no Valdosta warning signs yesterday at Knights Ferry or State Line, despite even higher E. coli counts at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River. There were still no warning signs there or at State Line Boat Ramp, even though the only source of contamination this bad that seems plausible is Valdosta’s record-largest raw sewaage spill. Why does Valdosta not put up warning signs for the public health situation it has apparently caused?

[Knights Ferry Boat Ramp]
Photo: Suzy Hall, of Petrifilms of water from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp 2019-12-24.

“I kinda want to call Knights TNTC (Too Many To Count), but I did my best and count 6,767/100 mL.” reports Suzy Hall on test results from a sample she took at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp yesterday, Tuesday, December 24, 2019.

That’s more than six times the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream alert level for E. coli. And we thought 4,966.67 from three days earlier was ridiculously high.

Please don’t let your children play in that water with these readings. Continue reading

E. coli at Troupville, Little River Confluence, and Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-21

2019-12-25: Even filthier E. coli counts at Knights Ferry on Withlacoochee River 2019-12-24.

The Withlacoochee River is still filthy with Valdosta’s record-largest raw sewage spill. Please don’t even touch the river water from Sugar Creek in Valdosta all the way to the Florida state line and beyond into Hamilton and Madison Counties, Florida. If you have a well near the Withlacoochee River in that area, there is free well testing available from Lowndes County (and maybe Brooks County), Georgia, and Hamilton and Madison Counties, Florida.

[Green at the Confluence]
Photo: Scotti Jay, Green at the Confluence, with Sara Jay preparing to test, 2019-12-21.

Slightly upstream from the Little River Confluence, Sara Jay tested Saturday and got 533 cfu/100 ml E. coli. This is in between the numbers she got a bit upstream at the GA 133 Withlacoochee Bridge, 633 last Tuesday and 433 on Thursday.

[Sugar Creek via Ga 133 to US 84]
Sugar Creek via Ga 133 to US 84, Withlacoochee River with the GA 133 bridge highlighted,
on the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

As reported yesterday, Saturday Suzy Hall saw 4,966 cfu/100 ml at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, which is up in the ranges of Continue reading

E. coli at Little River Confluence, Spook Bridge, and Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-21

2019-12-24: E. coli at Troupville, Little River Confluence, and Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-21.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, GA, Monday, December 23, 2019 — At Knights Ferry Boat Ramp Saturday Suzy Hall tested 4,966.67 cfu/100 ml E. coli, far higher than anything previously recorded there, and almost five times the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream alert level. There were still no warning signs, not at Knights Ferry, and not at State Line Boat Ramp, where Suzy Hall got 100 cfu/100 ml, when all our previous readings were zero (0).

“It appears that Valdosta’s record-largest wastewater has caused a public health emergency in the Withlacoochee River and Valdosta is not even warning people about it at river access locations,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Florida is being proactive; what is Valdosta doing? How about Lowndes Health? Lowndes County (didn’t cause this problem, but needs to help deal with it). GA-EPD? EPA? Statehouse and Congressional delegations? This report will go to all of them today.”

[Knights Ferry & State Line Ramps]
Photo: Suzy Hall, of her Petrifilms of water samples taken from the Withlacoochee River at Knights Ferry & State Line Boat Ramps.
Method: count blue dots with bubbles (E. coli colonies) on each plate.
Add the counts, divide by three, and multiply by 100, to get colony forming units (cfu) per 100 mililiter of water.

The Georgia Adopt-A-Stream Bacterial Monitoring manual says: Continue reading

Raining now, sending Valdosta sewage downstream; Florida warns; Valdosta does what? 2019-12-22

Update 2019-12-23: E. coli at Little River Confluence, Spook Bridge, and Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-21

The National Weather Service predicts rain coming down now will raise the Withlacoochee River from Low to Action stages above Valdosta starting today. This is after WWALS already apparently detected Valdosta sewage passing GA 133 on Tuesday, continuing Thursday, so Valdosta’s record-largest sewage spill is likely headed downstream. Florida has put out alerts, allocated funds for testing, and at least one county has declared a state of emergency. When will Valdosta even post signs downstream to the state line? When will Valdosta reimburse the downstream Florida Counties and health departments for their expenses?

[Skipper Bridge Gauge, Withlacoochee, above Valdosta, 2019-12-22, 7:30 AM]
Skipper Bridge Gauge, Withlacoochee, above Valdosta, 2019-12-22, 7:30 AM
water.weather.gov, with predicted water levels.

There’s a lot of concern downstream in Florida. Hamilton County put warning signs at all its boat ramps and Florida Parks put one at Madison Blue Spring. Those signs were still in place when I looked Monday afternoon, December 16, 2019.

[Florida Health Advisory on kiosk]
Florida Health Advisory on kiosk at Florida Campsites, upstream from Madison Blue Spring, 2019-12-16.

But Valdosta has only posted warning signs at a few places within its own city limits and at Troupville Boat Ramp, with no signs at US 84, Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, Nankin Boat Ramp, or State Line Boat Ramp. Continue reading

Valdosta sewage at GA 133 on Withlacoochee River? 2019-12-17

Update 2019-12-19: Still dirty at GA 133 Bridge, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-19.

It looks like Valdosta’s record raw sewage spill may finally be washing downstream after the recent small rains.

[Sugar Creek via Ga 133 to US 84]
Sugar Creek via Ga 133 to US 84, Withlacoochee River with the GA 133 bridge highlighted,
on the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

Valdosta’s numbers went way down at Gornto Road on Sugar Creek on Sunday, December 15 and Monday, December 16, in this table the Valdosta City Clerk sent this data today in response to my open records request: Continue reading

WWALS Water Quality Testing US 84 & FL Campsites, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-16

Update 2019-12-18: Valdosta sewage at GA 133 on Withlacoochee River? 2019-12-17.

There’s good news from the recent WWALS water quality tests that fill in the gap between Valdosta’s water quality testing inside Valdosta and at US 84 in Lowndes County, Georgia, and SRWMD’s testing in Florida. Valdosta’s sewage had not even reached US 84 as of 5 PM yesterday, Monday, December 16, 2019.

[Looking down]
Looking down onto the rapids above US 84 bridge.

You can donate to the WWALS water quality testing program and help pay for the Petrifilms and other equipment.

For Sunday, December 15, Suzy Hall found 100 cfu/100 ml E. coli at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, 33 at Nankin Boat Ramp, and 100 at State Line Boat Ramp. Those numbers are higher than the zeros I got for Wednesday, December 11, at Knights Ferry and Nankin, and the zero Sara Jay got for that Wednesday at State Line. However, Suzy’s Sunday numbers are Continue reading

Valdosta and Florida water quality data after Valdosta record raw sewage spill 2019-12-16

Update 2019-12-17: WWALS Water Quality Testing US 84 & FL Campsites, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-16.

Here is Valdosta’s water quality testing data since the spill was discovered.

Apparently the spill was so bad it actually went upstream on Hightower Creek to St. Augustine Road, judging by the 1530 Fecal coliform cfu/100 ml reading on December 10th and 1275 on December 11th. Sugar Creek at Gornto Road was 5100 that day, and 8100 on December 11th. A reading of 1000 indicates a real problem. This was far worse.

The good news is that the levels are decreasing at those sampling stations.

The better news is that the sewage had not made it downstream even as far as US 84 (Valdosta sampling) or anywhere on the Withlacoochee or Suwannee Rivers in Florida (SRWMD sampling) as of December 15, 2019. (WWALS already got SRWMD’s data from Wednesday, December 12, 2019 last week and published it).

[Testing locations]
Testing locations

You may notice a big gap between US 84 and CR 150 (Sullivan Launch). We have already published some WWALS data for Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, in which we also did not yet see the Valdosta sewage. More will follow today.

You can donate to help pay for the Petrifilms and other equipment.

Also notice that the Florida Department of Health titles this: “SITUATION REPORT – Dec 3 2019 Valdosta Sewage Spill”. So apparently Valdosta’s record-largest raw sewage spill started Tuesday, December 3rd, not Continue reading

WWALS adds evidence, again asks FERC to stay Sabal Trail, revoke its permit, plus do a SEIS 2017-06-05

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 5, 2017, Hahira, GA — Citing the sea change of solar power overtaking natural gas in new U.S. electricity last year, and generational damage to the fields of farmers such as Randy Dowdy, WWALS Watershed Coalition today filed more evidence and reasons to stop the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline from going into service and to revoke its permit. WWALS filed the same Monday that Sabal Trail Friday asked FERC to authorize turning on the gas. Plus WWALS explicitly requested FERC do a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to take into account LNG export from Sabal Trail, copious environmental permit violations, and especially new scientific evidence about the Floridan Aquifer.

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman said: “Such irreparable harm outweighs a few billion dollars spent in error by a few companies.”


And that’s without even getting into risks to education, such as Sabal Trail only a mile from Clyattville Elementary School.

WWALS filed the document today with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The WWALS cover letter is included below in this message, and the FERC filing is available online.

WWALS wrote in Attachment 1:

“Solar power has actually more than doubled every two years since 2013. Yet FERC only counts utility-scale solar power. Adding rooftop and community solar panels, already a sea change has occurred.

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