Valdosta Water Quality Testing Data 2019-04-23

Fecal coliform in Onemile Branch was way above the Georgia state limit of 200, in Valdosta’s followup water quality monitoring after their spill of more than 100,000 gallons of raw sewage at Wainwright Drive, just downstream from Valdosta State University.

[2018-02-03 Wainwright Drive Onemile Branch]
2018-02-03 Wainwright Drive Onemile Branch

We know this because, in response to a Georgia Open Records Act request from WWALS, Alys Hannum of GA-EPD sent this data, on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. She wrote:

For future reference, the only data records that the State of Georgia requires to be submitted electronically are DMRs for NPDES Permits; all other records (such as spill reports, spill follow up monitoring, enforcement progress reports, etc.) are able to be submitted electronically as of a revision to our rules last year, but it is not yet required. Some municipalities, such as Valdosta, do submit their data electronically anyway, but it won’t always be guaranteed. I hope this clears up any confusion.

I sent the GORA request to GA-EPD on Thursday, April 18, 2019. So within the three business days required by the Georgia Open Records Act (GORA), GA-EPD returned in electronic format via email the requested Valdosta data.

WWTP

Those Onemile Branch results are much worse than the similar data after Valdosta’s first big multi-million-gallon December raw sewage spill from its Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).

[2 December 2018]
2 December 2018 WWTP

Mildred Street on Knights Creek

Those December Valdosta raw sewage spills were not just in the Withlacoochee River Basin, either. This one was in the Alapaha River Basin.

[2018-12-02 Mildred St. Knights Creek]
2018-12-02 Mildred St. Knights Creek

GORA Request to Valdosta still unsatisfied after 13 days

Meanwhile, I filed a GORA request with Valdosta on Thursday, April 11, 2019, and today, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, Valdosta still has not sent that data. The same data that Valdosta sent to GA-EPD and GA-EPD sent to WWALS.

Valdosta water quality testing data

All this followup data from GA-EPD is on the WWALS website:
wwals.net/pictures/2019-04-23–vld-wq-data/

All of Valdosta’s regular weekly (2018) and monthly (2019) testing, received in response to GORA requests to Valdosta from WWALS, is in the same place.

The WWALS GORA Request to GA-EPD

Dear DNR,

As you are no doubt aware, Valdosta had many sewage spills in 2018, especially in the month of December.

The two Valdosta NPDES permits require followup water quality testing after major spills. For clarity, I have cited the permits and the relevant sections at the bottom of this message.

This request is for the data from Valdosta’s required one-year monitoring program related to all 2018 spills for which Valdosta is required to have such a program. Those would include at least the spills of 10,000 gallons or more.

The 25 spills of 10,000 gallons or more in 2018, among those Valdosta reported to EPD, are listed in the attached TSV file, and are marked with red italics in this HTML file:
http://www.wwals.net/pictures/2018-10-31–ga-epd-spill-resolution/spills/2015-01-01–2018-12-31–Spills-Reported-GA-EPD-Valdosta.html

I don’t know which, if any, of the other three Valdosta spills of 2018 (also listed in the HTML file) would qualify as “results in water quality violations in the waters of the State.”

I am willing to pay reasonable costs for satisfying this request, although since it is my understanding that GA-EPD currently requires all data to be submitted electronically, I would hope costs would be minimal to forward the data previously received from Valdosta.

My contact information is below, followed by the permit information previously mentioned.

For the rivers and the aquifer,
 
John S. Quarterman,
Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
229-242-0102
contact@suwanneeriverkeeper.org
www.suwanneeriverkeeper.org,
 
WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.
850-290-2350
wwalswatershed@gmail.com
www.wwals.net
PO Box 88, Hahira, GA 31632
 
WWALS is the WATERKEEPER® Alliance
Member for the Suwannee River
and its tributaries the Withlacoochee,
Little, Willacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers.
 
WWALS is a member of
Georgia River Network, Georgia Water Coalition,
Floridians Against Fracking, and national River Network.
 
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

In both permits, Part II, A.11.1.2.

“Any discharge of raw sewage that 1) exceeds 10,000 gallons or 2) results in water quality violations in the waters of the State.

“Consistently exceeding effluent limitation” means a POTW exceeding the 30 day average limit for biochemical oxygen demand or total suspended solids for at least five days out of each seven day period during a total period of 180 consecutive days.

The following specific requirements shall apply to POTW’s. If a spill or major spill occurs, the owner of a POTW shall immediately:”

A.11.1.2.g.

“The owner of a POTW shall immediately establish a monitoring program of the receiving waters affected by a major spill or by consistently exceeding an effluent limit, with such monitoring being at the expense of the POTW for at least one year. The monitoring program shall include an upstream sampling point as well as sufficient downstream locations to accurately characterize the impact of the major spill or the consistent exceedence of effluent limitations described in the definition of “Consistently exceeding effluent limitation” above. As a minimum, the following parameters shall be monitored in the receiving stream:

  1. Dissolved Oxygen;
  2. Fecal Coliform Bacteria;
  3. pH;
  4. Temperature; and
  5. Other parameters required by the EPD.

The monitoring and reporting frequency as well as the need to monitor additional parameters, will be determined by EPD. The results of the monitoring will be provided by the POTW owner to EPD and all downstream public agencies using the affected waters as a source of a public water supply.”

Attached list of Valdosta spills.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!