Tag Archives: USGS

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

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

Sturgeons Catching Air –Ken Sulak, USGS, retired 2012-10-01

Why do those prehistoric hundred-pound fish jump so far out of the water? Many reasons, explained in Catching Air—Those Magnificent Jumping Suwannee Sturgeons, by Ken Sulak.

[Page 1 of 3]
Page 1 of 3

Source: Continue reading

Vickers Branch and Hahira LAS 2020-05-11

How is the mysterious Vickers Branch south of Hahira related to the Hahira Land Application Site? What is that creek the rest of that LAS is on? And what does all this have to do with Lowndes County’s new IMPAIRED WATERS MONITORING AND IMPLEMENTATION PLAN? Why do we care about all this for the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail?

About six weeks ago, the bridge on Old US 41 North just south of Hahira broke and Lowndes County fixed it. Revealing that nobody knew a name for it. Except Phillip Williams, who says, “Some maps show it as Vickers Branch. The Vickers family were the ones who owned most of the land in the area back in the 1800s.”

[Map: Vickers Branch, Hahira LAS]
Map: Vickers Branch, Hahira LAS
in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

The Vickers Branch Bridge marker south of Hahira looks slightly too far south, but it’s where google street view and aerials show the bridge. It seems that the USGS stream trace I used in this map is not quite right.

[Photo: Lowndes EMA, of broken Vickers Branch Bridge]
Photo: Lowndes EMA, of broken Vickers Branch Bridge

Upstream of that Vickers Branch US 41 bridge, several branches or runs that drain quite an area. I have named them after Continue reading

Withlacoochee River good despite dirty creek 2020-05-01

Update 2020-05-04: Clean Withlacoochee River, less bad Crooked Creek 2020-05-02.

Update 2020-05-03: WWALS tester Suzy Hall says she got zero (no) E. coli at the GA 31 bridge (State Line Boat Ramp) for yesterday, Saturday, May 2, 2020.

Good news, boaters, fishers, swimmers: apparently the Withlacoochee River is clean this weekend. This is because of much river and Okapilco Creek water coming downstream; flow matters.

WWALS continues sampling, and you can help us afford testing supplies.

[WWALS Water Trail signs]
Photo: John S. Quarterman, WWALS Water Trail signs at Nankin Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River 2020-05-01

You may have some difficulty getting a boat into the water, but if you do, it appears that the small rain in Brooks County, Georgia, Thursday, April 30, was not big enough Continue reading

Not good: Withlacoochee River & Okapilco Creek 2020-02-11

Update 2020-02-18: Withlacoochee still not clean Thursday but not alarming in Florida results 2020-02-13.

Update 2020-02-14: Fixed typo; apparently FDOH tests were collected Monday, February 10, 2020.

Lowndes County’s upstream results for Tuesday, February 11, 2020, are as bad at US 84 as FDOH’s result at CR 150 (Sullivan Launch) the previous day.

Yes, Okapilco Creek downstream of US 84 is especially bad. But Okapilco Creek has more E. coli than anyone would like upstream at GA 76, too. And no, Valdosta is still not off the hook.

We still need to find out where all this contamination is coming from. You can help.

[Not Good Results 2020-02-11]
Not Good Results 2020-02-11
Thanks to Lowndes County Chairman Bill SLaughter for these Tuesday results, which are on the WWALS website, along with the full WWALS composite result table going back to December 10, 2019.

These results are much different from Lowndes County’s tests of Wednesday, February 5. There’s been no rain to speak of since last Thursday, February 6, five days before these recent Tuesday tests, so what’s going on?

[Quitman Gauge (US 84)]
Quitman Gauge (US 84)

Rain upstream is washing something downstream.

[Rain the week before]
Rain the week before

Much of that rain fell upstream and is still coming downstream. More than an inch fell that Thursday at the Continue reading

Clean Withlacoochee River; dubious Okapilco Creek; and rain 2020-02-05

Update 2020-02-12: Madison Co., FL Withlacoochee River Bacterial Advisory 2020-02-11.

Good another Wednesday: Lowndes County water quality results for the Withlacoochee River. Meanwhile, about an inch of rain registered upstream Thursday. We will have more WWALS results in a day or so. The only way to tell what is in our waterways is regular, frequent, closely-spaced testing. You can help.

[Good Withlacoochee]
Good Withlacoochee
Thanks to Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter for these Lowndes County results.
Along with the WWALS composite results spreadsheet, they are on the WWALS website.
There are no new Florida results; the Florida agencies stopped testing after 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

Video: River Gauges @ Lowndes County Commission 2019-10-21

Flood Inundation Maps (FIM) are related to Lowndes County taking over funding from Valdosta of the Skipper Bridge Withlacoochee River gauge, said EMA Director Ashley Tye.

[19.7feet]
19.7feet

Joint funding of $135,000 from Valdosta and Lowndes County started work on FIM for Skipper Bridge in 2016, with completion announced 22 May 2018.

The item about joint funding with USGS and SRWMD to fund the Skipper Bridge Withlacoochee River Gauge, in addition to the Folsom Bridge Little River Gauge, was the longest item at five minutes yesterday morning. Continue reading

Fecal coliform worse than E. coli, Valdosta testing 2019-05-07

While the numbers were way down at US 84 on May 7, bacterial counts were up upstream on the Withlacoochee River, and on Mud Swamp Creek; up more in Fecal coliform than E. coli. These readings seem to indicate nonpoint sources.

Withlacoochee

[Fecal coliform Graph, Withlacoochee River Basin]
Fecal coliform Graph, Withlacoochee River Basin

The high readings are all from stations upstream of Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the low reading at US 84 is downstream of the WWTP. Continue reading