Thanks to Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse and staff for the Tour of Valdosta wastewater treatment plants Wednesday. Afterwards, I got them to sit down in a conference room and say again the most important points. They said what they had done to prevent future spills like the big ones this year.
We also elicited Valdosta Utilities’ view on the letter establishing the Middle and Lower Suwannee River and Withlacoochee River Task Force, which was mainly that the letter has some details wrong about what Valdosta has done, mostly that what spilled from Mud Creek in August was clarifier effluent, one of the last stages in water treatement, not raw sewage as the letter states.
I figure that Task Force will impress upon Valdosta the part about “All of the counties in the Suwannee River Basin and The Original Florida Tourism Task Force, with the assistance of the Council, have worked extremely hard to promote our rivers as eco-tourism destinations and have advertised our area as a great place to live and do business.” I plan to mention that to the Valdosta City Council at their meeting next Thursday.
I recommended everyone support the resolution asking GA-EPD to timely publish spill reports, like Florida and Alabama already do. Florida even maps the last 30 days of spills.
I noted that it’s not just Valdosta that spills (see WWALS collection of spill reports and data), and it’s not just point-source spills, since the past year of weekly testing data from Valdosta shows that water quality is often worse upstream, and in recent weeks it’s been good downstream from the Mud Creek WTP, until on the Alapahoochee River just above the GA-FL line.
Those are all reasons I recommended everyone support the water quality testing program WWALS is starting.
Here’s a WWALS video playlist, currently just of the debriefing at the end.
Tour of Valdosta WTPs 2018-10-03
Video by John S. Quarterman for WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS),
Thanks to WWALS member Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson for requesting this tour and for asking questions. Thanks to WWALS members Scotti Jay and Sara Jay for holding the WWALS banner and for asking many questions, and to WWALS Science Committee Chair Tom Potter and WWALS member and Our Santa Fe River President Mike Roth for holding the Suwannee Riverkeeper banner and for science and downstream perspectives. Thanks to Our Santa Fe River Historian Jim Tatum for asking many questions. Thanks to Tom Mirti and another (apologies: I didn’t get her name) from Suwannee River Water Management District for attending and clarifying some points. Newly elected Madison County Commissioner Donnie Waldrep (who takes office in January) was on the tour but had left before the debriefing.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!