Category Archives: River

Valdosta Sewage Spills Workshop at Florida Senate 2019-03-20

A Florida Senate Committee has scheduled a Workshop on Valdosta Sewage Spills.

Table, Committee

The same session this Wednesday afternoon will hear three water bills, SB 1100 about funding water well testing, which is relevant to the recent detection of E. coli in for example Hamilton County wells, SB 1758, which includes some changes to Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) requirements and requirements for wastewater treatment plants to notify customers of unlawful discharges, and SB 1552 about Red Tide mitigation.

Event: facebook, meetup

Florida Senator Bill Montford, District 3 When I went by Senator Bill Montford’s office last Wednesday, his staffer said they would be scheduling this workshop, with public input. They have done so. Senator Montford is the Chair of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. His District 3 includes Hamilton, Madison, and Taylor Counties, all of which are members of the twelve-county Florida Rivers Task Force and signatories on its Resolution asking for assistance from Florida and Georgia about Valdosta sewage spills. The Withlacoochee River, into which much of Valdosta’s raw sewage spills have gone, is the border between Madison and Hamilton Counties, and the Alapaha River, into which basin other Valdosta spills have gone, runs through Hamilton County. Taylor County is not on either of those rivers nor on the Suwannee River, yet its economy is affected by the stigma of Valdosta’s sewage spills.

The Florida Senate, COMMITTEE MEETING NOTICE,

ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Senator Montford, Chair
Senator Albritton, Vice Chair

MEETING DATE: Wednesday, March 20, 2019

TIME: 4:00—6:00 p.m.

PLACE: Mallory Horne Committee Room, 37 Senate Building [404 S. Monroe, Tallahassee, FL 32399]

AMENDMENT DEADLINE: Continue reading

WWALS at Suwannee Spring Reunion at the Music Park 2019-03-21-24

Join Suwannee Riverkeeper for music on the Suwannee River, and help us talk about paddling on our rives and advocacy. Yes, icluding wastewater and pipelines, as well as phosphate mines. Plus kayak raffle and froggy toss game! All at Suwannee Spring Reunion.

When:

Thursday March 21 through Sunday March 24, 2019

Where: Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
3076 95th Dr, Live Oak, Florida 32060

Event: facebook, meetup

Suwannee Riverkeeper, WWALS

What: Suwannee Spring Reunion, featuring Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, Steep Canyon Rangers, Billy Strings, Donna The Buffalo, Larry Keel Experience, Chatham County Line, Jim lauderdale, Verlon Thompson, Shawn Camp Band, The Grass Is Dead, Jon Stickley Trio, Town Mountain, Joe Craven & Hattie Craven, Rev. Jeff Mosier, Daddy, The Mammals, Pigeon Kings, Roy Book Binder, Nikki Talley, Nora Jane Struthers, Ralph Roddenbery, TKO featuring Duke Bardwell, Cicada Rhythm, Bolkun Brothers, Quartermeen, Sloppy Joe Habanero, Habanero Honeys, and The Adventures of Annabelle Lyn.

If you want to help at the WWALS booth, send email to wwalswatershed@gmail.com or call 850-290-2350.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

E. coli at GA 133 Withlacoochee 2019-03-05

Valdosta’s monthly water quality testing data shows E. coli down at three out of their six remaining stations, and up at the other three, highest at US 41 on the Withlacoochee River, upstream of most of Valdosta and its Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant. This data is for Tuesday, March 5, 2019, and was obtained as usual by an open records request from WWALS.

Graph, Withlacoochee River Basin, Withlacoochee

Even that 265 cfu/100 ml E. coli is barely above the Georgia limit of 200, and far below the alert line of 1,000.

US 41, Withlacochee River, Withlacoochee

GA 133, Withlacochee River, Withlacoochee

At the next station downstream from US 41, at GA 133, the Withlacoochee River still showed Continue reading

Waterkeepers in Tallahassee 2019-03-13

Three of the Waterkeepers of Florida were at the Capitol in Tallahassee Wednesday, two of them for Reclaiming Florida’s Future for All, an annual event organized by ReThink Energy Florida and others. Of course Our Santa Fe River (OSFR) was prominently represented. Banning fracking was top of the long list of issues on the agenda. Water Quality and Quantity included Valdosta (and other) wastewater.

[Speaking]
Speaking

Lake Worth Waterkeeper Reinaldo Diaz advocates for the Lake Worth Lagoon and its watershed, a coastal estuary running along the eastern edge of Palm Beach County.

[Lisa Rinaman et al.]
Lisa Rinaman et al.

Scariest of all to polluters is St Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman, seen here with Continue reading

Video: BIG Little River Paddle Race, Paddle Georgia, Songwriting Contest, coal ash, trust funds, and wastewater, on Scott James Radio 2019-02-22

On WWALS TV radio Scott James and Valdosta Airport Executive Director James Galloway and I discussed alligators, karst limestone, and water levels on the Suwannee, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers. If I have to fly, I much prefer flying out of Valdosta to Atlanta, because if you forget about your pocketknife, security will just ask you if you want to take it to your car.

WWALS banner, Scott James

Before outings, we talked about coal ash and how Continue reading

Help upgrade our Suwannee River Basins in Georgia

We asked the state of Georgia to upgrede our main Suwannee River Basin rivers (and some lakes and swamps) from their current lowest water quality classification as Fishing to what they really are: Recreational Use. You can help!

[Georgia landings in Suwannee River Basin]

Every three years, federal law requires each state to review its water quality standards. 2019 is such a year for Georgia, so the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) is conducting a Triennial Review. The request WWALS sent to GA-EPD, background, and their response are all on the WWALS website. Our request was rather long, with 23 pages asking for reclassification of the Suwannee River, the Okefenokee Swamp, the Alapaha River, Lake Irma, Banks Lake, Grand Bay, the Withlacoochee River, the Little River, and Reed Bingham State Park Lake, all from Fishing to Recreational Use. The WWALS cover letter is included at the end of this blog post. For the rest, see the WWALS website.

The response thus far from GA-EPD has some good news: Continue reading

WCTV on FL Counties Rivers Task Force and Valdosta Wastewater 2019-03-07

It turns out Valdosta can schedule a workshop for elected officials to meet with the Valdosta City Council, as the the dozen downstream Florida counties previously requested.

Local waterways, Protect

Emma Wheeler, WCTV, 7 March 2019, Task force looks to curb Valdosta sewage spills,

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) — Communities continue to push for more prevention of spills at Valdosta’s wastewater treatment system.

Several North Florida counties down the river from Valdosta formed a task force last year to try and protect local waterways. The group is now hoping the states can step in to help.

Priority to protect, Protect

Counties across North Florida and South Georgia are making it a priority to protect the rivers. The task force has passed a Continue reading

SRWMD Board Packet 2019-03-12

The testing results promised last time will apparently be in the workshop, which is usually around noon or 1PM:

Also Bob’s River Place, on the Suwannee River in Dixie County, is on the agenda yet again, this time for a variance, after last time they said they had received new information.

Board Members, SRWMD
Current SRWMD Board Members.

Received Monday, 4 March 2019: Board agenda and packet and Lands Committee Agenda and packet. See also the WWALS writeup and videos from the February SRWMD board meeting, which was mostly about Valdosta wastewater.

AGENDA
SUWANNEE RIVER WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
GOVERNING BOARD MEETING AND PUBLIC HEARING

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

March 12, 2019
9:00 a.m.

District Headquarters
Live Oak, Florida

Continue reading

Tifton: Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council 2019-04-24

Received Friday, this Meeting Notice:

Counties, Region

Announcement Date: March 1, 2019
TO ALL INTERESTED PERSONS AND PARTIES:

The Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council
will hold a council meeting at the following date, time and location:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Registration: 10:00 A.M. – 10:30 A.M.

Meeting: 10:30 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.

41 AND Main
343 Main St. S,
Tifton, GA 31794

For additional information Continue reading

Videos: Florida Rivers Task Force about Valdosta Wastewater 2019-02-28

Update 2019-03-17: Valdosta has agreed to meet with the dozen downstream Florida counties, elected officials to elected officials, 6PM, Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at Valdosta City Hall Annex, and “the public will have an opportunity to speak.”

A dozen downstream Florida counties want to meet with the Valdosta City Council, elected officials to elected officials, to present a resolution they passed urging the states of Florida and Georgia to do something about Valdosta’s sewage, and to discuss raising funds to help Valdosta fix its sewage infrastructure, so the Florida counties can restore their eco-tourism on the Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Suwannee, and Santa Fe Rivers. Restoring eco-tourism came up again and again. It’s not just the actual sewage, which never gets to Taylor or Alachua Counties. It’s the stigma of sewage in the rivers. Fixing Valdosta’s spills and regular testing to find other sources are needed.

Valdosta said no. So delegates from all dozen counties are going to come to the March 21, 2019, Valdosta City Council Regular Session and speak in Citizens to Be Heard, three minutes each, some time after 5:30 PM that Thursday evening.

[Movie: Approval of Resolution (115M)]
Movie: Approval of Resolution (115M) Task Force, clockwise from front: Scott R. Koons (NCFRPC), Ken Cornell (Alachua County), Anthony Adams (Lafayette County), Don Hale (Suwannee County), Gene Higginbotham (Dixie County), Kenrick Thomas (Gilchrist County), Danny Riddick (Bradford County), Thomas Demps (Taylor County), Beth Burnam (Hamilton County), Rick Davis (Chair, Madison County)

Apparently Valdosta told them that Valdosta doesn’t do workshops or joint meetings, which is curious, since Valdosta’s city council members a month earlier met with council members from all the other Lowndes County cities and the Lowndes County Commissioners about their Service Delivery Strategy, which includes wastewater. Last year, members of Valdosta Mayor and Council met with elected officials Continue reading