The local TV station is keeping Lowndes County and Valdosta on their toes about sewage, while WWALS starts testing and continues urging GA-EPD to tell everybody when anybody spills.
Yesterday I left a message for Lowndes County Utilities asking if they had any spills. They never called back. But they did report to GA-EPD 35,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled from Madison Highway near exit 11. I hear they sent out a press release which said it was into Bevel Creek, which flows into the Withlacoochee River near the Georgia-Florida state line.
Quitman, Lowndes County, and Valdosta spills, December 2-3, 2018, as reported to GA-EPD Atlanta. See also the raw data.
Just now I received this from Lowndes County:
December 4, 2017
The Lowndes County Utility Department experienced a sanitary sewage spill on December 3, 2018 on Madison Highway at exit 11 near I-75. Untreated sewage entered into a drainage ditch that flows to Bevel Creek. It has been estimated that approximately 35,000 gallons of untreated sewage entered into the ditch during the event and the duration of the spill lasted approximately six hours. The spill was caused due to excessive rainfall. The County is monitoring this situation and is performing all reporting requirements as required by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and the County’s NPDES Permit. Anyone having questions or comments may contact The Lowndes County Utilities Department at 229-671-2500.
Also, in addition to the WWTP spill Valdosta told the public about, they had 13 other spills, most, like that WWTP spill, still ongoing. Merely the total raw sewage spilled from the ones they have stopped totals 126,500 gallons.
These Suwannee River Basin spills from Quitman, Lowndes County, and Valdosta were not the only spills in this time period: Continue reading
When I shared their press release on facebook last night, the best thing I could think of to say was: at least Valdosta told us as it is happening.
But why, Valdosta, why? Seriously, you’re not prepared for rain?
After Hurricane Michael barely missed Valdosta?
After only two months ago Valdosta Utilities assured us all they were prepared?
Map: WWALS, Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.
And in a rain that submerged US 84 near the Withlacoochee River Bridge and washed out Old Lake Park Road you’re telling us nothing washed from the WWTP down the creek that goes directly to the Withlacoochee River? Continue reading
Water quality is worse upstream of Valdosta’s Withlacoochee WTP and far downstream of its Mud Creek WTP, according to Valdosta’s most recent data, received last week in response to a Georgia Open Records Act (GORA) request from WWALS. This is the recent data I mentioned in the tour of Valdosta WTPs.
Does this data mean Valdosta is perfect and will never spill again? Nope. But it does mean there’s more than one source of fecal coliform and E. coli. We need to find those other sources, which is one reason WWALS is starting a water quality testing program.
Valdosta’s smaller WTP is in the Alapaha River Basin.
The WTP is the image left of top center, St. Augustine Road is the green diamond top left, Johnson Road is the grey diamond below and left of top center, and GA 135 Alapahoochee is the grey diamond bottom right.
100 and 10 are good readings for Fecal Coliform and E. coli, upstream of the Mud Creek WTP. Continue reading
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 Continue reading
Here is most of a year’s river water quality testing data from the city of Valdosta, on a Water Reporter map:
Click on any of the colored diamonds for graphs. Scroll right to see more graphs. Click on any graph to see every datapoint. Clearly fecal coliform (FCOLI) and E. coli (ECOLI) have significant spikes way beyond the Georgia state limit of 200 cfu/100 ml.
Pollution spill maps online, up to date, with interactive links to details: Florida is doing it, and so can Georgia.
For more than a year FDEP has been posting spill reports online in a spreadsheet the same day it gets them, with email notice signup (Alabama also does that). FDEP has added a Public Notice of Pollution (PNP) Finder: Last 30 Days, which helps a lot in finding spills in our watersheds.
WWALS will tour Valdosta’s Wastewater Treatment Plants (WTPs). Thanks to Scott Fowler and Director Darryl Muse for the longstanding invitation. WWALS invites you to come, from both Georgia and Florida, especially people downstream on the Withlacoochee, Alapaha, or Suwannee Rivers.
When: 9AM, Wednesday, 3 October 2018
Valdosta Utilties, 1016 Myrtle Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601
The Myrtle Street off of E. Force Street between Troup and Forrest (not the one in Remerton).
Where: We will go to the Withlacoochee WTP next to the Withlacoochee River, and the Mud Creek WTP on Knights Creek, upstream from Mud Creek, the Alapahoochee River, and the Alapaha River. We may go to other points such as force mains or lift stations. If we have time we will also tour Valdosta’s drinking water treatment plant.
Duration: Probably several hours, but should be done by noon.
Free: There is no charge. This tour is primarily for WWALS members, but we won’t turn away anybody else and I doubt Valdosta will, either. We do recommend you join WWALS today.
Why: For why so many people are interested in Valdosta’s WTPs and what Valdosta has done to date, see Valdosta (and other) Wastewater.
This is not a regular WWALS outing or event, but for more WWALS outings and events as they are posted, see the WWALS calendar or the WWALS outings and events web page. WWALS members also get an upcoming list in the Tannin Times newsletter.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!
Here is (at least some of) the water quality testing data Valdosta was required to collect after its major spills of June in the Withlacoochee River basin and August in the Alapaha River basin. Maybe Valdosta is right that neither of these spills got into waterways, but something sure did, according to this data. Curiously, in both cases the worst fecal coliform readings were upstream from the spill location.
Downstream at Johnson Road on Mud Creek from the Mud Creek WTP after the August spill
Thanks to Julie Shutters of Golden Triangle R&D for coming down from Sylvester to Valdosta, GA to do Georgia Adopt-A-Stream training for WWALS.
(No, we haven’t forgotten about Florida. We’re just starting with the biggest problem area.)Continue reading