Category Archives: Safety

Bad: Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River, to Dowling Park, Suwannee River 2020-02-19

Update 2020-02-21: Very high E. coli on Okapilco feeder creek 2020-02-19.

Florida testing shows the contamination Suzy Hall detected Monday at Knights Ferry on the Withlacoochee River appears to have reached the state line and into Florida the next day, at least as far as Florida 6, which is just upstream from Madison Blue Spring.

The day after, Wednesday, February 18, 2020, levels were above normal but not alarming that far down (other than at the state line), and there was a hot spot at CR 250 (Dowling Park Ramp).

[Downstream into Florida]
Downstream into Florida
The entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of data from three Florida agencies, WWALS, and Valdosta is on the WWALS website.

As usual, you can help.

Once again, upstream on the Withlacoochee, US 84 and above, Valdosta and WWALS testing Monday showed nothing remotely as high as these downstream results. And my spot check on the feeder creek at US 84 that runs into Okapilco Creek showed nothing out of the ordinary. Which leaves the prime suspect still the Quitman Land Application Site (LAS), which is near Okapilco Creek, south of US 84. And Okapilco Creek runs into the Withlacoochee River between US 84 and Knights Ferry. I have scheduled an appointment to go investigate the Quitman LAS.

Despite leaving messages at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) the past two days, I’ve gotten no response from them. Ironically, the Florida agencies communicate with WWALS Continue reading

Awful: Knights Ferry, Nankin, Withlacoochee River 2020-02-17

Update 2020-02-20: Bad: Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River, to Dowling Park, Suwannee River 2020-02-19.

These Nankin plates are not what anyone wants to see:

[Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line 2020-02-17]
Photo: Suzy Hall, of WWALS E. coli test results for Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line 2020-02-17.

Suzy Hall filed Nankin Boat Ramp for Monday, February 17, 2020, as TNTC: Too Many To Count. Yes, that is a technical term, and you can see why: how many blue colonies with bubbles would you count?

Knights Ferry Boat Ramp wasn’t much better, at 8,933 cfu/100 mL. The Georgia Adopt-A-Stream high alert level is 1,000; see What do these numbers mean?. We have seen worse, namely the 39,000 Valdosta result at GA 133 on December 10, 2019.

You can help find out what’s in our waterways. And, finally, indirectly, there is some help from Valdosta.

[Awful 2020-02-17]
Awful 2020-02-17
The entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of test results from three Florida agencies, WWALS, Lowndes County, and Valdosta, is on the WWALS website.

I finally got a test result for that feeder creek that crosses US 84 east of Okapilco Creek and then joins with it downstream. At 66 cfu/100 mL, it’s very unlikely the dairy farm upstream can have caused these downstream numbers on the Withlacoochee River.

The Monday Valdosta results at US 84, GA 133, and US 41 are a bit messy, but nothing comparable to Knights Ferry or Nankin. Note my US 41 result is very similar to Valdosta’s. And my Hagan Bridge zero (0) is the level of E. coli we want to see: none.

These Monday WWALS results at Nankin and Knights Ferry are far worse than Continue reading

Proposed AGL settlement for Homerville Explosion –GA-PSC 2020-02-13

More than the $250,000 proposed last September, but still only 15% of the $2,305,000 previously proposed by GA-PSC staff: that’s the proposed settlement that Atlanta Gas Light will have to pay for the explosion that blew up a coffeeshop in August 2018 and sent three women to hospital with third-degree burns. The incident for which even PHMSA asked for clarification of how serious it was.

Most of the larger proposed fine was apparently because of lack of investigation or reporting even after the event.

Photo: Georgia State Insurance Commission Office, of aftermath of Homerville Coffeeshop explosion
Photo: State Insurance Commission Office, via WALB

Edan Schultz, WALB TV, 14 February 2020, Settlement proposed in Homerville coffee shop gas explosion,

“Last year was staff’s estimate of the top penalty, should all infractions be fined at the maximum rate. In this proposed agreement, rather than simply fine AGL at the maximum rate, the PSC and AGL came up with a solution that will help prevent an accident like this from happening again,” said PSC spokesman Tom Krause.

[Commissioner Jason Shaw (on right)]
Commissioner Jason Shaw (on right)

Commissioner Jason Shaw said AGL’s “voluntary contributions” totaling $347,000 would help prevent further such incidents. The phrase he and Krause used was Continue reading

Fourth wave: plus Lowndes County on Okapilco Creek and Withlacoochee River 2020-01-22

Update 2020-01-30: Florida Counties Task Force in Valdosta about sewage 2020-01-08.

We do already have Lowndes County’s results, and they show somewhat elevated E. coli counts at both Okapilco Creek south of US 84 and the Withlacoochee River at US 84, for Wednesday of last week, January 22, 2020. Both those sites are upstream of Knights Ferry and State Line (GA 31), where WWALS found too-high counts on Sunday, January 26. Below: what these numbers mean, and how you can help.

[Elevated at both Okapilco Creek and US 84 Withlacoochee 2020-01-22]
Elevated at both Okapilco Creek and US 84 Withlacoochee 2020-01-22
The entire WWALS composite spreadsheet is on the WWALS website.

Sara Jay pulled some upstream river samples yesterday, so her results should be ready later today or early tomorrow. I’m going to get some downstream ones and at Okapilco Creek at US 84 today. Lowndes County is also pulling samples today, so my results should be ready tomorrow or very early Friday. Lowndes County is pulling samples today, so their results should be available tomorrow or Friday. We also hope to get updates from Florida.

What do these numbers mean?

Continue reading

Fourth wave: bad water quality at State Line and Knights Ferry 2020-01-26

Updated 2020-01-29: Plus Lowndes County data and what these numbers mean.

Updated 2020-01-28: Florida results added to the WWALS composite table, but the most recent from Florida was for Thursday, three days before the WWALS high Sunday results at the state line.

Bad news. WWALS found these results for Sunday, January 26, 2020:

[WWALS and County warning signs]
Photo: Suzy Hall for WWALS, of WWALS and County warning signs at State Line Boat Ramp 2020-01-26

cfu/100 mL E. coli Where
500Knights Ferry Boat Ramp
1233State Line Boat Ramp (GA 31)

Those stations are 15.55 river miles apart on the Withlacoochee River, with Nankin Boat Ramp in between. We are leaving our WWALS CAUTION signs up at all three locations. Continue reading

How Florida can pick up slack from FERC shirking its LNG oversight duties –Cecile Scofield in TCPalm 2020-01-15

Longtime WWALS member Cecile Scofield in TCPalm, January 15, 2020, Liquified natural gas needs regulation in Florida,

You and a friend decide to go into business together. You draft your business plan and delineate each person’s responsibilities for the operation. But what happens if one of you decides to shirk your assigned duties? Your business venture will be doomed to failure.

[WWALS LNG Export Map]
WWALS LNG Export Map
PDF

This is exactly what has happened with regulating a new breed of inland Liquefied Natural Gas export facilities in Florida. A Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) outlines each agency’s role in exercising regulatory authority over the siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and expansion of LNG facilities. See https://tinyurl.com/tdhxazn.

LNG facilities are regulated, in part, by Continue reading

No LNG by Rail Rule –WWALS to PHMSA 2020-01-13

One of seventeen reasons for PHMSA to reject its own proposed rule for LNG in rail tanker cars:

  • The solution to risks of leaks, wrecks, and explosions of LNG truck tankers is not to add another source of risk in LNG rail cars, no matter what design.

[FEC Timetable North from Miami to Jacksonville]
FEC Timetable North from Miami to Jacksonville

Many thanks to Maxine Connor and Cecile Scofield for comments, corrections, and additions of this WWALS comment, sent to the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) yesterday, which was the deadline for comment on PHMSA Notice of Proposed Rulemanking (NPRM HM-264) Hazardous Materials: Liquefied Natural Gas by Rail, PHMSA Docket No. PHMSA-2018-0025.

Cecile also had already filed her own excellent comment. Both hers and this WWALS comment draw on a fascinatingly wrong and inadequate document Cecile previously obtained via FOIA: Continue reading

Even filthier E. coli counts at Knights Ferry on Withlacoochee River 2019-12-24

Update 2019-12-28: Contamination apparently spread to Nankin Boat Ramp by December 26, and still no warning signs.

Suzy still saw no Valdosta warning signs yesterday at Knights Ferry or State Line, despite even higher E. coli counts at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River. There were still no warning signs there or at State Line Boat Ramp, even though the only source of contamination this bad that seems plausible is Valdosta’s record-largest raw sewaage spill. Why does Valdosta not put up warning signs for the public health situation it has apparently caused?

[Knights Ferry Boat Ramp]
Photo: Suzy Hall, of Petrifilms of water from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp 2019-12-24.

“I kinda want to call Knights TNTC (Too Many To Count), but I did my best and count 6,767/100 mL.” reports Suzy Hall on test results from a sample she took at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp yesterday, Tuesday, December 24, 2019.

That’s more than six times the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream alert level for E. coli. And we thought 4,966.67 from three days earlier was ridiculously high.

Please don’t let your children play in that water with these readings. Continue reading

E. coli at Troupville, Little River Confluence, and Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-21

2019-12-25: Even filthier E. coli counts at Knights Ferry on Withlacoochee River 2019-12-24.

The Withlacoochee River is still filthy with Valdosta’s record-largest raw sewage spill. Please don’t even touch the river water from Sugar Creek in Valdosta all the way to the Florida state line and beyond into Hamilton and Madison Counties, Florida. If you have a well near the Withlacoochee River in that area, there is free well testing available from Lowndes County (and maybe Brooks County), Georgia, and Hamilton and Madison Counties, Florida.

[Green at the Confluence]
Photo: Scotti Jay, Green at the Confluence, with Sara Jay preparing to test, 2019-12-21.

Slightly upstream from the Little River Confluence, Sara Jay tested Saturday and got 533 cfu/100 ml E. coli. This is in between the numbers she got a bit upstream at the GA 133 Withlacoochee Bridge, 633 last Tuesday and 433 on Thursday.

[Sugar Creek via Ga 133 to US 84]
Sugar Creek via Ga 133 to US 84, Withlacoochee River with the GA 133 bridge highlighted,
on the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

As reported yesterday, Saturday Suzy Hall saw 4,966 cfu/100 ml at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, which is up in the ranges of Continue reading

E. coli at Little River Confluence, Spook Bridge, and Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-21

2019-12-24: E. coli at Troupville, Little River Confluence, and Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-21.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, GA, Monday, December 23, 2019 — At Knights Ferry Boat Ramp Saturday Suzy Hall tested 4,966.67 cfu/100 ml E. coli, far higher than anything previously recorded there, and almost five times the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream alert level. There were still no warning signs, not at Knights Ferry, and not at State Line Boat Ramp, where Suzy Hall got 100 cfu/100 ml, when all our previous readings were zero (0).

“It appears that Valdosta’s record-largest wastewater has caused a public health emergency in the Withlacoochee River and Valdosta is not even warning people about it at river access locations,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Florida is being proactive; what is Valdosta doing? How about Lowndes Health? Lowndes County (didn’t cause this problem, but needs to help deal with it). GA-EPD? EPA? Statehouse and Congressional delegations? This report will go to all of them today.”

[Knights Ferry & State Line Ramps]
Photo: Suzy Hall, of her Petrifilms of water samples taken from the Withlacoochee River at Knights Ferry & State Line Boat Ramps.
Method: count blue dots with bubbles (E. coli colonies) on each plate.
Add the counts, divide by three, and multiply by 100, to get colony forming units (cfu) per 100 mililiter of water.

The Georgia Adopt-A-Stream Bacterial Monitoring manual says: Continue reading