Tag Archives: VDT

Videos: Valdosta and Florida Counties about sewage 2019-07-10

Congenial yet sometimes testy, the Florida counties meeting Valdosta about sewage again last night.

The Valdosta catch basin many Floridians thought would be finished by now? Probably by December.

That report the Utilities Manager last time said explained why 8 or 10 million gallons was big enough for a catch basin? No, it doesn’t explain that. Fortunately, Georgia EPD wants to know how many gallons will be needed for how much rain, and apparently won’t issue a permit for the catch basin until there are answers, so maybe we’ll finally find out.

GA-EPD also wanted to know what if the catch basin fills up? Valdosta’s answer: tanker trucks to ship the sewage from the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant to the Mud Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Or the other direction, if needed. That sounds like a fine idea. Although it doesn’t address the question of what if the heavy rains fall directly on Valdosta and both WTPs fill up.

Meanwhile, the catch basin is just one of a combination of fixes, mostly intended to alleviate infiltration of stormwater into the sewer system, and about 25% of those are done, says Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber.

Will all these projects be finished this year? No.

Floridians offer to get national elected officials to help.

Floridians also emphasized Ecotourism, and asked me to talk about the 350 people who just came through on Paddle Georgia (#PaddleGA2019), the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Florida to Georgia and back, and the proposed River Camp at the Little River Confluence west of Valdosta, like the ones on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail. Valdosta Mayor John Gayle wrote down the date of the WWALS Boomerang (October 26th), and afterwards both Hamilton and Madison Counties promised to help.

Tom Mirti of SRWMD described Florida water quality testing, but didn’t mention that FDEP’s monthly testing isn’t made public until four months later. He did mention that FDEP is now testing for sucralose. Merrillee Malwwitz-Jipson, who requested that, was sitting right there. Thanks to her and Jim Tatum for coming from Florida to this meeting.

Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber said Valdosta was still testing at the state line, which caused me to ask why I didn’t get any results for those locations this year in response to open records requests, then? Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse said that was because they haven’t actually tested at the state line this year. He also complained that he had staff working 100 hours a week. Which makes me wonder whether the city of Valdosta is really giving him what he needs, or whether he hasn’t asked for everything he needs.

Anyway, people were rightly impressed with how much Valdosta has done and with their current plans. However, there is still room for improvement.

Below are Continue reading

Agenda: Florida Counties meet Valdosta about sewage 2019-07-10

Here’s the agenda for tonight’s Special Called Meeting of the Valdosta City Council, with business of Valdosta Utilities presenting to the dozen Florida counties. You may wonder why you haven’t seen this City Council meeting on Valdosta’s website or in the Valdosta Daily Times. Well, Georgia Open Meetings law only requires one notice on the front of the venue and a notice to the newspaper of record 24 hours in advance.

When: 6PM, Wednesday, July 10, 2019

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

Event: facebook

[071019-Special-Called-Meeting-Agenda-0001]
071019-Special-Called-Meeting-Agenda-0001
PDF

Maybe Valdosta should consider that elected official embarassment does not outweigh informing the public.

Thanks to Valdosta City Clerk Teresa Bolden for the agenda. See also Continue reading

Testing for firefighting chemicals in wells and waterways 2019-01-18

Those firefighting chemicals that leaked from Moody Air Force Base are on the front page of the Valdosta Daily Times today:

Moody recommends private well owners contact their county representatives for information on testing personal wells.

Paige Dukes, Lowndes County clerk and public information officer, said this is an opportunity for county residents such as Tann to have their water tested. Not only for PFAS but for any other contaminants that might be there.

Indeed, and Lowndes County operates the Moody AFB wastewater treatment plant that spilled into Beatty Branch and Cat Creek. So it’s an opportunity for Lowndes County to help organize testing for these per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs), because testing for them isn’t nearly as simple or inexpensive as testing for other contaminants.

Reporter and photographer at Beatty Branch, 2019-01-07, VDT
Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, nearby resident Debra Tann, VDT reporter Thomas Lynn and photographer Derrek Vaughn, at Beatty Branch, January 7, 2019. Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS.

Debra Tann and I were back at Beatty Branch on January 7, 2019, this time with the VDT, about the firefighting chemical issue that was in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the first week of January. This time it was for local reporters. Moody neighbor wants water tested, Continue reading

Watershed Coalition to hold film festival –VDT 2018-05-29

Today in the newspaper of record for the biggest city in the Suwannee River Basin, Amanda M. Usher, Valdosta Daily Times, May 29, 2018, Watershed Coalition to hold film festival

VALDOSTA — The WWALS Watershed Coalition will host the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, 7 p.m. Thursday, May 31, at the Mathis City Auditorium.

The festival will feature 13 films from national filmmakers, one of which will focus on coral reef restoration and another on the Chattooga River.

Gretchen Quarterman, executive director, said one of the purposes of the festival is to observe the 50th anniversary of rivers reaching the designation status by Congress in 1968.

“We’re trying to raise awareness of the rivers in the Suwannee Basin, which is our area, so that people will appreciate them more,” Quarterman said….

Gretchen, Before

There will be Continue reading

VDT corrects Valdosta drinking water story 2017-05-17

Congratulations City of Valdosta! You got the VDT to issue a correction for that one sentence a week ago, even though the VDT blamed it on “a source cited in the article”, and came up with yet another number of violations that doesn’t match what NRDC says nor what Valdosta says, with still no specific comparisons to other local governments. So it’s a correction that doesn’t resolve anything. And you’re not helping your credibility problem, Valdosta, by quibbling over a single digit while neglecting to mention an entire year in which you did have drinking water violations that match what’s in NRDC’s map.

Correction, red faced non-admission
Valdosta Daily Times, page 3A, 17 May 2017

CORRECTION

An article headlined “Report. Georgia 5th in drinking water violations,” published 1n the May 10 edition of The Valdosta Daily Times contained an error that originated from a source cited in the article.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division said in an email, “Valdosta had six violations: two total coliform violations (one monitoring violation and one MCL exceedance) and four haloacetic acid violations (four consecutive quarters of a running annual average MCL exceedance from one sample location). These violations have all been resolved in an old database that preceded our current database. This actual violation was resolved in 1998.”

This correction is on page 3A, below the Crime Report. It does have a big red CORRECTION header, but Continue reading

Video: Randy Dowdy in VDT 2017-05-05

“We’ve got loss of production for the future that will take not my lifetime, not my kids’ lifetime, but my kids’ kids’ lifetime to recover from,” Randy Dowdy

Daniel DeMersseman, Valdosta Daily Times, 5 May 2017, Farmer: Sabal Trail devastated farm,

QUITMAN — A Brooks County farmer said Wednesday the controversial Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline has ruined his farmland.


“We’ve got loss of production for the future that will take not my lifetime, not my kids’ lifetime, but my kids’ kids’ lifetime to recover from,” Randy Dowdy, interviewed by Daniel DeMersseman, Valdosta Daily Times.

Randy Dowdy is a major corn and soybean producer. In fact, he holds a world’s record for soybean production and a U.S. record for corn production but now he says his award-winning farm is in jeopardy.

Daniel Demersseman (VDT), Randy Dowdy (farmer)
Daniel Demersseman (VDT), Randy Dowdy (farmer), photo by John S. Quarterman for WWALS Watershed Coalition

Environmentalists held a press conference this week alongside Dowdy to say their worst fears about the pipeline have been realized.

“Sabal Trail gouged its pipeline through Continue reading

Paddle or Race, Scott James Talk 92.1 FM radio 2017-04-27

Paddle Race logo Scott James had already been talking to WWALS Outings Chair Phil Hubbard about the BIG Little River Paddle Race Saturday morning at Reed Bingham State Park, so he knew some good questions to ask on his Talk 92.1 FM Radio show this morning. Scott also had this morning’s Valdosta Daily Times, which has a nice writeup on the paddle race on the top of page 5A.

Remember to register online or at the event Saturday morning. On-site registration is at Red Roberts Landing, from Exit 41 on I-75.

You do not have to actually race, you can just paddle. But the long-time winner has some real competition this year, with multiple people training seriously to win that $50 first place prize. You could win one of many other prizes, for young, old, male, female, or single, double, or triple kayak or canoe.

Come on down and paddle, eat the lunch grilled by Phil Hubbard, and bid in the silent auction!

And you can get tickets for the kayak raffle, either at the race or online.

Here’s the video: Continue reading

Live Oak Rivers Rally 7PM tonight in Valdosta Daily Times 2017-01-12

See you tonight at 7PM at the Women’s Club of Live Oak 1308 11th St. SW, Live Oak, FL (facebook event).

Terry Richards, Valdosta Daily Times, 11 January 2017, Sabal Pipeline protest meeting planned

LIVE OAK, Fla. — An environmental group opposing a natural gas pipeline project plans to host a gathering of similarly minded organizations Thursday.

WWALS Watershed Coalition will hold the meeting 7 p.m. at the Women’s Club of Live Oak 1308 11th St. SW, said John Quarterman of WWALS.

Houston-based Spectra Energy Corp. has reported the pipeline will Continue reading

WWALS asks Lowndes County to do three things more against Sabal Trail 2016-04-24

Sent yesterday to the Chairman, the other five elected Lowndes County Commissioners, and the County Clerk (PDF). They meet again 5:30PM Tuesday evening, April 25th 2016.

Dear Commissioners,

Thanks to Chairman Bill Slaughter for saying in the Valdosta Daily Times that the Commission signing an easement contract was not an endorsement of the Sabal Trail pipeline.[1] Therefore I ask you to:

  1. Invite the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to investigate on site and on paper the numerous omissions by Sabal Trail of springs and underground water transmissivity in what it told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; .please see the letter from WWALS to the Army Corps,[2] attached with the letter from WWALS to you of April 12th.
  2. Ask our U.S. Congress member Austin Scott (GA-08) to join the four Georgia Congress members who have already asked FERC to fix its processes or deny a permit for Sabal Trail.[3]
  3. Join the hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals who have already asked the U.S. Congress to call in the General Accounting Office (GAO) to review FERC’s permitting processes.[4]

Please find appended further information about the issues the Chairman raised in the VDT of eminent domain, in differences in regulation of oil and gas pipelines, and in environmental and safety issues of natural gas pipelines.

Since I wrote to you on April 12th, two more major natural gas pipelines have run into serious problems.

On April 20th, Kinder Morgan shelved Continue reading

Sabal Trail right in the middle of the most vulnerable area of the Floridan Aquifer –John S. Quarterman for WWALS on Chris Beckham radio show 2015-08-31

The main point:

“I’ve got an independent route: let’s cancel this pipeline, and the Sunshine State should go directly to solar power.”

Here’s the video: Continue reading