Tag Archives: St Marys River

Floridan Aquifer withdrawals affect the Okefenokee Swamp, so how could TPM’s withdrawals not? 1995-04-11

Water withdrawals from the Floridan Aquifer affect water levels and quality in the Okefenokee Swamp, a pair of researchers concluded 24 years before Twin Pines Minerals of Alabama proposed to withdraw 2.4 million gallons per day from the Aquifer for a titanium mine within a few miles of the Swamp:

Abstract. A rapid response is observed between water level fluctuations in the Okefenokee Swamp and water levels in the underlying Floridan Aquifer. A lag of approximately one month is common, and a hydraulic diffusivity of 3.83 x 10-3 m2 s-1 best matches the calculated aquifer response to the swamp water level perturbations. The magnitude of leakage between the swamp and the aquifer is uncertain because of a lack of knowledge about the specific storage coefficient in the aquitard separating the swamp and the aquifer which has not been explicitly measured. An intermediate value of specific storage within the likely range of values results in a down- ward vertical flow of 1.2 meters of water per year. This induced recharge can significantly alter the natural water balance within the swamp. Such a large loss of water from the swamp may be responsible for observed pH and water level changes, and increased beavy metal accumulations in aquatic organisms in the swamp.

We cited that study[5] on page 4 of the Suwannee Riverkeeper comments to USACE about TPM, just after noting Twin Pines application to withdraw 4.32 million gallons per day (mgd) of Floridan Aquifer water much closer to the Swamp than any other permitted withdrawal. TPM’s own hydrology study in that withdrawal application shows a cone of depression in the Floridan Aquifer extending under the Swamp:

[Figure 8. Drawdown 2930 days]
Figure 8. Drawdown 2930 days

How could that not affect Swamp water levels and content?

As pointed out to the Corps by Okefenokee Swamp Park (OSP), any change to the water level in the Swamp would Continue reading

TTM groundwater withdrawal and use permit application to GA-EPD 2019-07-24

At 4.32 million gallons per day (mgd) monthly average, Twin Pines proposes to withdraw more Floridan Aquifer water than almost anything in the surrounding six southeast Georgia counties: 4.32 times the City of Folkston, and almost four times the notorious Nestlé withdrawal request for Ginnie Springs on the Santa Fe River in Florida. You can still comment to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about the TPM mining application. Or to GA-EPD about this water withdrawal permit.

[4.32 mgd, 1.44 mgd from each of three wells]
4.32 mgd, 1.44 mgd from each of three wells

The only things bigger nearby are the City of St. Marys (6 mgd) and the Rayonier paper mill at Jesup (74 mgd).

For comparison, Kingsland 4, Waycross-Ware County Industrial Park 3.4, Waycross 3.16, Jesup 3, Kings Bay Submarine Base 2.9 + 1 for irrigation, Satilla Regional Water and Sewer Authority 2.2, Folkston 1.0. Even Chemours in Wayne County only wants 0.605 and Southern Ionics only 0.504 in Charlton County and another 0.504 in Pierce County.

All the permitted withdrawals in Charlton County add up to less than half what TPM wants for its titanium mine near the Okefenokee Swamp: Continue reading

GA-EPD cites Suwannee Riverkeeper and US EPA against TPM titanium mine near Okefenokee Swamp 2019-09-12

GA-EPD told USACE the mining application is incomplete, asked for comments to be reopened, and cited Suwannee Riverkeeper and Georgia River Network:

“Understanding that groundwater hydrologic effects associated with the Twin Pines project have been a central concern expressed by federal resource/regulatory agencies, NGOs (e.g. the Suwannee Riverkeeper and Georgia River Network), and the public at large, we respectfully submit that the 404/401 permit application as submitted thus far is not complete since it lacks full information and findings regarding hydrogeologic factors on site and post-project effects to hydrogeology/groundwater. We feel that it is inappropriate and premature to close the project comment window when such notable elements of the environmental documentation for this project have not yet been made available. documentation which we at GaEPD judge to be important to our review of this project.”

[the 404/401 permit application as submitted thus far is not complete]
the 404/401 permit application as submitted thus far is not complete

This was revealed by USACE in a Public Notice of September 17, 2019. So far, this is the only update posted by the Corps since it closed comments on September 12, 2019.

It also includes comments by U.S. EPA, also saying the application is incomplete, and also cited by GA-EPD. EPA cites cumulative effects and notes numerous lacking documents and studies. EPA concludes:

“Due to the potential for the proposed Twin Pines Minerals mine to adversely affect the hydrology of the Okefenokee NWR, the EPA believes that there is the potential for this project as proposed to cause adverse effects to water quality and the life stages of aquatic life or other wildlife dependent on aquatic systems. The EPA finds that this project, as proposed, may result in substantial and unacceptable impacts to aquatic resources of national importance, as covered in Part IV. paragraph 3(a) of the August 1992 Memorandum of Agreement between the EPA and the Department of the Army regarding CWA Section 404(q).”

Apparently USACE is at least listening to the public and the public and NGOs such as Suwannee Riverkeeper.

You can still send in comments. The Corps won’t say they will read them, but they explicitly won’t say they won’t read them, so keep sending them in, and publish them on social media, as op-eds, etc. Continue reading

Need EIS, public hearings –Okefenokee Swamp Park to USACE about titanium mine 2019-08-22

Excellent comments from Okefenokee Swamp Park, requesting at least three public hearings by the Army Corps, plus independent research, in addition to a full Environmental Impact Statement. When I received them from Dr. Clark last night, he asked me to circulate them widely; see also PDF.

[About OSP]
About OSP

Continue reading

Okefenokee overflight with GA Rep. John Corbett 2019-08-24

Flying over the affected area appears to have made at least one elected official think harder about whether the supposed titanium mining jobs could be more important than the effects on the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, both its economic importance and the potential environmental detriments to the swamp, to the Suwannee and St. Mary’s Rivers, and to the Floridan Aquifer. You can still write to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking for denial or at least an Environmental Impact Statement.

Gordon Jackson, The Brunswick News, 28 August 2019, Getting the aerial perspective on a titanium mining project,

[WC6170, 22:40:34]
Photo: Jim Tatum, of the Chemours North Maxville Mine, Baker County, Florida. This is the mine pictured in the Brunswick News article.

…The mining company Twin Pines Minerals, LLC [(TPM)], said it plans to employ 150 people, but [Georgia State Representative John] Corbett acknowledged most of the employees will not come from Charlton County.

Corbett went on a two-hour flight Saturday Continue reading

Strip mine proposed near Okefenokee wildlife refuge 2019-07-18

Mindy Morris, Tribune & Georgian, July 18, 2019, Strip mine proposed near Okefenokee wildlife refuge,

[Front page]
Front page

It’s not the first time Okefenokee swamp became the pointed interest of a mining operation. DuPont Co, attempted in the 1990s and agreed to end their plan after a roughly $90 million deal. That deal was supposed to protect from future mining. Less than 20 years later, Twin Peaks [Pines] Minerals is proposing a strip mine.

Continue reading

QUARTERMAN: Swamp, Suwannee more valuable than titanium in VDT 2019-07-23

In the Valdosta Daily Times, page 4A, July 24, 2019, and online July 21: QUARTERMAN: Swamp, Suwannee more valuable than titanium (updated here in light of recent developments, with links):

A company wants to mine on Trail Ridge, between the St. Mary’s River and the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee River.

[Suwannee River Basin Landings]
Suwannee River Basin Landings
For much more about the mine application, see wwals.net/pictures/2019-07-12–tpm-usace/.
See also WWALS the interactive google map, Landings on the rivers in the Suwannee River Basin: Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, upper and lower Suwannee River watersheds and Estuary, plus Santa Fe River, by Suwannee Riverkeeper, WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.

The Charlton County Commission passed Continue reading

Charlton County, GA, BOCC 2019-07-18

Three people came up from Baker County, Florida, to get another copy of the mine application from Twin Pines Minerals (it matches the earlier copy) and then had to leave early. Emily Jones of Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) came from Savannah. Suwannee Riverkeeper (I) asked the Charlton County Commissioners to consider asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to extend the application comment date. The Chair of St. Mary’s Riverkeeper spoke. The miners’ lobbyist sat silent.

[Attorney?, County Administrator Hampton Raulerson, Absent Jesse Crews (3), Vice Chair Alphya Benefield (1), Chair James E. Everett (2), , Drew Jones (4), Luke Gowen (5), County Clerk Jenifer Nobles, Finance Coordinator Rebecca Harden]
Thanks for hospitality to Attorney?, County Administrator Hampton Raulerson, Absent Jesse Crews (3), Vice Chair Alphya Benefield (1), Chair James E. Everett (2), , Drew Jones (4), Luke Gowen (5), County Clerk Jenifer Nobles, Finance Coordinator Rebecca Harden.

Since we learned that Twin Pines Minerals still has a hydrogelogical study in process with some unknown completion date, the thirty-day extension GPB announced the next day does not seem adequate, since a key study is missing. Remember to comment on the Corps’ and GA DNR dockets, and see below for the dates, times, and locations of upcoming meetings in Charlton County.

There was nothing on the agenda about the mine, so everything about it was in Continue reading

Deadline Extended to September 14 12 on mining proposal near Okefenokee NWR 2019-07-19

Update 2019-07-22: Corrected headline to match extension date in GPB story. See also Charlton County, GA, BOCC 2019-07-18.

I asked the Charlton County Commission just yesterday to ask the Corps for an extension, and numerous other people and organizations have done so. The Corps has already responded.

Emily Jones, Georgia Public Broadcasting, 19 July 2019, Army Corps Extends Comment Deadline On Mining Near Okefenokee,

The Army Corps of Engineers is extending the deadline for public comments on a proposal to mine for minerals near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

The new deadline is September 12, an additional 30 days from the original deadline of August 13.

Environmental groups were calling for the deadline extension.

Since there’s nothing on the Corps’ Public Notices website about that, I asked her how she knew. She said Senior USACE Public Affairs Officer Billy Birdwell, 912-652-5014. So I called him.

Billy Birdwell received a Certificate of Appreciation
Photo: USACE. Continue reading

Complete permit application, Twin Pines Minerals 2019-07-17

The complete 565-page permit application by Twin Pines Minerals, SAS-2018-00554, is now on the WWALS website.

News about it is all over North America, with more coming out daily.

You can go ahead and send in comments to the Army Corps of Engineers or to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

[Twin-Pines-Individual-Permit-Application--complete-0006]
Twin-Pines-Individual-Permit-Application–complete-0006

You can retrieve the complete application from Continue reading