Tag Archives: Atlanta

EPA passes the buck to GA-EPD for Valdosta raw sewage spill 2020-01-31

The EPA took weeks to write to WWALS to confirm less than what it said in the January 8, 2019 meeting in Madison, Florida:


      220 years to fix? Need better oversight --Brannan, EPA
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, still from WWALS Video, Madison, Florida, of Carol L. Kemker, Director, Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division, and others.

In Georgia, the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has authority for establishing procedures for how permitted utilities are to respond during a major spill event. The EPA has delegated permitting authority to the state under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Program (NPDES). However, the EPA does maintain a state oversight role. After the sewage spill into the Withlacoochee, the EPA reached out to EPD to ensure the spill’s cause was properly addressed and notification procedures were followed. The EPA continues to work with EPD to reduce the possibility of future spills from Valdosta into the Withlacoochee River.

No detail was included in the EPA Region 4 letter to WWALS as to how the spill’s cause was to be addressed, or why notification procedures were the only other topic worth mentioning. EPA Region 4’s response says nothing about water quality testing, tracking procedures, alternative water supply, water well testing cost reimbursement, wildlife on land and water, underground plumes of contamination, or an educational campaign; all topics listed in the WWALS letter to which EPA is replying.

Apparently it took a week for the email I forwarded to EPA Region 4 on December 17th to get there on December 23, 2019. Then it took another month for EPA to send a paper reply letter in fancy packaging.

EPA also recommended: Continue reading

Georgia Capitol Conservation Day 2020-02-26

Come to Atlanta to talk about Georgia conservation issues, at Capitol Conservation Day, organized by the Georgia Water Coalition.

When: 7:30 AM to noon, Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Where: Central Presbyterian Church, 201 Washington St. SW, Atlanta, GA 30303
then across the street to the Georgia State Capitol.

Event: facebook

[Many people]
Photo: John S. Quarterman, Many people at CCD 2019.

The day will start with breakfast at 7:30am [at Central Presbytrian Church] followed by updates on timely water-related legislation and advocacy training. Attendees will then go to the Capitol to meet with their legislators either at the ropes or by making an appointment with their legislator. Registration for this inspiring is now open and limited to the first 200 people. Click here to register.

You can also become a sponsor for Continue reading

Picture and bills: Capitol Conservation Day 2019-02-20

Wednesday I joined conservation groups from across Georgia to lobby the state legislature, in Capitol Conservation Day 2019, helping move along some bills.

[CCD]
CCD on the Georgia Capitol Steps 2019-02-20
Photo: Erik Voss for Georgia Water Coalition
This photograph can be freely shared, without limitations.

I’m in the hat on the right. Most of the other eight Riverkeepers of Georgia are also in this picture.

At the Bird Supper the previous Wednesday, I discussed two of the same topics and their bills with legislators: trust funds and coal ash.

Stop fee diversions

Jay Powell’s Trust Fund bill passed the Georgia House this same Wednesday, by Continue reading

All Sewage Spills GA EPD 2015-2018

Who in Georgia spilled how much sewage where and when? For example, SRWMD board members wanted to know how does Valdosta compare to the rest of Georgia? So that everyone can see, here are all the sewage spills reported to GA-EPD for the calendar years 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Atlanta, Valdosta, Thomasville, Macon, Excerpt
Atlanta, Valdosta, Thomasville, Macon, Thunderbolt, and others spilled in late April and early May, 2015.

Depicted here is an excerpt, since all 4,577 rows would be a bit much to show. Follow the link for the entire HTML table.

Valdosta happens to show only a small spill in this excerpt. Or does it? Since when is Valdosta Continue reading

Coal Ash, Trust Funds, and Water Quality Testing at Lowndes County Bird Supper in Atlanta 2019-02-13

Last night Georgia legislators from all over the state, including numerous committee chairs, feasted on quail supplied by Lowndes County and Valdosta in the annual Bird Supper, a six-decade tradition of local lobbying in the Georgia state capitol.

Packed house, Inside

I thanked Jeff Jones (District 167) for his new coal ash bills, and reminded other legislators to vote for them this year, like they did his earlier ones last year: Continue reading

Tifton spilled again into Agrirama Lake 2019-01-06

Yet again into Agrirama Lake, Tifton spilled 8,500 gallons of raw sewage yesterday (Sunday, January 6, 2019). And, finally, a number of gallons Valdosta spilled from its Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant back on December 15, 2018.

Tifton (and Dekalb, Fulton, and Clayton Counties), Spreadsheet

As you can see, cities in the Atlanta Metro Area spilled more. And in the table below you can see many more of them spilled.

Not that that makes Tifton’s spill Continue reading

Tifton, Thomasville, Atlanta, Dekalb County, and Columbus, but no Albany spills 2018-12-09

Tifton spilled at three locations, adding up to 105,100 gallons of raw sewage into the Little River watershed from the Agrirama Lift Station and from TC Gordon Road, and into the New River watershed at 26th St. & Ridge Ave., upstream from the Withlacoochee River.

201809--recent-spills,
GA-EPD data through Sunday, 9 December 2018; see also raw data obtained by WWALS via GORA request.

Thomasville spilled 9,000 gallons into the Ochlockonee River watershed. Macon spilled 2,400 gallons into the Ocmulgee River watershed. Columbus spilled 9,260 gallons into the Chattahoochee River watershed, although exactly when seems hard to determine.

The big winners were Atlanta, still ongoing, and Dekalb County, with a total of 42,260 gallons of raw sewage.

Valdosta, Lowndes County, and Quitman reported no new spills, although many of Valdosta’s spills are still listed as ongoing.

Prominently missing is Albany, Georgia, which Continue reading

Spills reported to GA-EPD Atlanta, 2018-11-13 through 2018-12-03

Thanks again to GA-EPD Atlanta for rapid response to a request for an update on spills reported to them. They note that some spills due to the recent rains, including Valdosta’s weekend multi-million-gallon spill, have not yet been reported to Atlanta.

This update does include a spill of raw sewage by the city of Quitman. I wonder, though, was it really 2 gallons? Or did they mean in units of thousands or millions? Also, Quitman is in the Suwannee River Basin, not the Ochlockonee River Basin.

Last two weeks, Spreadsheet
The past two weeks extracted from the GA-EPD update, sorted by begin date, and with the River Basin column shifted left for visibility.

Posting this data enables some debugging of the data such as Continue reading

No Suwannee River Basin spills reported to Atlanta through 2018-10-15

Good news from GA-EPD! The forty spills reported to Atlanta since our last update included none in the Suwannee River Basin. So, according to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, no spills were reported since mid-September from Valdosta, Lowndes County, Quitman, Tifton, or anywhere else in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia, not even during Hurricane Michael.

[Brown Dog out, 09:31:38, 30.8484784, -83.3482902]
Little River below Troupville Boat Ramp 30.8484784, -83.3482902

Even more surprisingly, no spills were reported from Albany or Bainbridge during this period, despite their lack of power and extensive damage.

Wouldn’t you prefer to get this information updated daily, without waiting for me to pry it loose from GA-EPD and fight with spreadsheets? Your organization can sign up to ask GA-EPD to publish spill reports online the same day they get them.

No spills also does not mean no contamination, so maybe you’d also like to help with the new WWALS water quality testing program.

The data received from GA-EPD yesterday in response to a Georgia Open Records Act (GORA) request is shown Continue reading

Georgia sewage spills from January 2015 through 2018-09-18

Here is every spill reported by all the large wastewater permits in the state of Georgia since the beginning of 2015 through this Tuesday, September 18, 2018. It includes spills in the Suwannee River Basin you probably didn’t know about.

If people downstream want to do something about wastewater coming from Georgia, this data suggests two things: insist Georgia publish spill reports online the same day like Florida and Alabama already do. And help fund WWALS water quality testing so we can find out what’s going on and when.

2015-2018, Valdosta
Just spills with a Valdosta address from 2015 on.

WWALS Science Committee Chair Tom Potter extracted and sorted every spill with an address in Valdosta since the beginning of 2015: Spill-Detail-sorted_Valdosta_2015–2018-09-19. See also web version of this data.

I’ve been asking the City of Valdosta for a list of their spills and locations since at least 2015, and I’ve been collecting reports ad hoc since before then. Finally, we have this list, but not from Valdosta. We had to Continue reading