Tag Archives: Conference

Videos: Valdosta and Florida Counties about sewage 2019-07-10

Congenial yet sometimes testy, the Florida counties meeting Valdosta about sewage again last night.

The Valdosta catch basin many Floridians thought would be finished by now? Probably by December.

That report the Utilities Manager last time said explained why 8 or 10 million gallons was big enough for a catch basin? No, it doesn’t explain that. Fortunately, Georgia EPD wants to know how many gallons will be needed for how much rain, and apparently won’t issue a permit for the catch basin until there are answers, so maybe we’ll finally find out.

GA-EPD also wanted to know what if the catch basin fills up? Valdosta’s answer: tanker trucks to ship the sewage from the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant to the Mud Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Or the other direction, if needed. That sounds like a fine idea. Although it doesn’t address the question of what if the heavy rains fall directly on Valdosta and both WTPs fill up.

Meanwhile, the catch basin is just one of a combination of fixes, mostly intended to alleviate infiltration of stormwater into the sewer system, and about 25% of those are done, says Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber.

Will all these projects be finished this year? No.

Floridians offer to get national elected officials to help.

Floridians also emphasized Ecotourism, and asked me to talk about the 350 people who just came through on Paddle Georgia (#PaddleGA2019), the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Florida to Georgia and back, and the proposed River Camp at the Little River Confluence west of Valdosta, like the ones on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail. Valdosta Mayor John Gayle wrote down the date of the WWALS Boomerang (October 26th), and afterwards both Hamilton and Madison Counties promised to help.

Tom Mirti of SRWMD described Florida water quality testing, but didn’t mention that FDEP’s monthly testing isn’t made public until four months later. He did mention that FDEP is now testing for sucralose. Merrillee Malwwitz-Jipson, who requested that, was sitting right there. Thanks to her and Jim Tatum for coming from Florida to this meeting.

Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber said Valdosta was still testing at the state line, which caused me to ask why I didn’t get any results for those locations this year in response to open records requests, then? Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse said that was because they haven’t actually tested at the state line this year. He also complained that he had staff working 100 hours a week. Which makes me wonder whether the city of Valdosta is really giving him what he needs, or whether he hasn’t asked for everything he needs.

Anyway, people were rightly impressed with how much Valdosta has done and with their current plans. However, there is still room for improvement.

Below are Continue reading

Agenda: Florida Counties meet Valdosta about sewage 2019-07-10

Here’s the agenda for tonight’s Special Called Meeting of the Valdosta City Council, with business of Valdosta Utilities presenting to the dozen Florida counties. You may wonder why you haven’t seen this City Council meeting on Valdosta’s website or in the Valdosta Daily Times. Well, Georgia Open Meetings law only requires one notice on the front of the venue and a notice to the newspaper of record 24 hours in advance.

When: 6PM, Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Where: General Purpose Room,
Valdosta City Hall Annex,
300 North Lee Street, Valdosta, GA 31601

Event: facebook

[071019-Special-Called-Meeting-Agenda-0001]
071019-Special-Called-Meeting-Agenda-0001
PDF

Maybe Valdosta should consider that elected official embarassment does not outweigh informing the public.

Thanks to Valdosta City Clerk Teresa Bolden for the agenda. See also Continue reading

Again: Florida Counties meet Valdosta about sewage in rivers and wells 2019-07-10

Update 2019-07-11: WWALS Videos.

Update 2019-07-10: The agenda.

Like three months ago, the dozen downstream Florida counties will meet with Valdosta again tomorrow. It’s a public meeting and anyone may attend. Presumably, like last time, anyone may ask questions.

When: 6PM, Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Where: General Purpose Room,
Valdosta City Hall Annex,
300 North Lee Street, Valdosta, GA 31601

Event: facebook

[Movie: 10% completion of 162 years? --Tom Mirti, SRWMD]
Movie: 10% completion of 162 years? –Tom Mirti, SRWMD

We already knew about this from Continue reading

Videos: Florida Counties meet Valdosta about sewage in rivers and wells 2019-04-10

Update 2019-04-13: Added Task Force Resolution.

Everyone in the dozen downstream Florida counties wants to help Valdosta finish fixing its sewage problems, and all were impressed with the thoroughness of the presentations by Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse. There was even an offer to contact federal representatives and agencies from the elephant in the room, Ken Cornell of Alachua County, which contains half the population of the dozen Task Force Counties (and twice the population of Valdosta and Lowndes County),

[Ken Cornell, Alachua County, offers assistance]
Ken Cornell, Alachua County, offers assistance

Mayor John Gayle said “Valdosta is privileged to be a regional city”, serving eighteen counties and benefitting from sales taxes of all those who shop in Valdosta, and later offered assurances that Valdosta was doing everything it could.

[Assurances --Mayor John Gayle]
Assurances –Mayor John Gayle

They could answer the question from Beth Burnham of Hamilton County about reporting times: less than 24 hours to the state of Georgia.

[Hamilton County Commission District 1 Beth Burnham]
Hamilton County Commission District 1 Beth Burnham

Nonetheless Continue reading

VSU Panel Discussion, Environment –Hardy, Thieme, Quarterman 2019-04-18

Thanks to Prof. Cristobal Serrán-Pagán and the VSU Philosophy and Religious Studies Club for organizing this Panel Discussion on the Environment with Valdosta Public Works Director Richard Hardy, VSU Geology Prof. Don Thieme, and Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.

When: 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m., Thursday, April 18th, 2019

Where: Odum Library Auditorium, 500 N Patterson St, Valdosta, GA 31698

Event: facebook, meetup

[Valdosta Public Works Director Richard Hardy, Prof. Donald M. Thieme, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman]
Valdosta Public Works Director Richard Hardy, Prof. Donald M. Thieme, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman
PDF

Who:

Suwannee Riverkeeper at Live Oak Woman’s Club 2019-04-05

Update 2019-04-08: slides and video.

In Suwannee County, Florida, at the Live Oak Woman’s Club, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman will talk about what WWALS does and how people can help. Thanks to Eileen Box and the Club for the invitation.

When: noon, Friday, April 5, 2019

Where: Woman’s Club of Live Oak, 1308 11th St SW, Live Oak, FL 32064

Event: facebook, meetup

John S. Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper
Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman speaking with all nine Georgia Riverkeepers, 2019-02-06

I will talk about Valdosta sewage spills, Georgia Sewage Spills Reports, other E. coli in the rivers, water quality testing and how you can help test, and on April 10th Florida counties Rivers Task Force meets Valdosta City Council.

Have some fun with us, too, August 24th at the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

Race or just paddle April 27th at the BIG Little River Paddle Race, or join us for a week, June 15-21, with 300 people on Paddle Georgia down Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers, ending with the Final Feast catered by WWALS at Advent Christian Village in Dowling Park, Friday, June 21st. Or join us in our watery living room April 19th and every full moon sunset at Continue reading

Elected officials from Valdosta and 12 downstream Florida Counties 2019-04-10

Update 2019-04-12: Videos.

Update 2019-03-14: The Valdosta City Clerk says the Valdosta City Manager says “the public will have an opportunity to speak.”

As discussed in Lake City when the dozen downstream Florida counties passed their resolution, and as foreshadowed by Emma Wheeler on WCTV, and now confirmed by Valdosta City Clerk Teresa Bolden, elected officials from Valdosta and twelve Florida counties will meet to discuss Valdosta wastewater spills and how to stop them. She also confirmed that since there will be a quorum of the Valdosta City Council there, this will be a public meeting.

When: 6PM, Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Where: General Purpose Room,
Valdosta City Hall Annex,
300 North Lee Street, Valdosta, GA 31601

Event: facebook, meetup

Valdosta City Hall Annex
Photo: Ellis, Ricket & Associates.

It’s not clear the public will be able to speak, but you can come and see for yourself. As I told the Valdosta City Clerk, this afternoon I already invited the Suwannee River Water Management District and everybody else who was in their meeting. Valdosta will probably publish an announcement soon, but so far we at least know the meeting will happen and it will be public. Y’all come.

Back on Continue reading

Pictures: WWALS at A Day in the Woods 2018-04-21

Here are Gretchen Quarterman and Dave Hetzel at Heather Brasell’s annual A Day in the Woods at the Gaskins Forest Education Center near Alapaha, Berrien County, Georgia.

Gretchen Quarterman, Volunteers

Continue reading

WWALS at A Day in the Woods 2018-04-21

At Heather Brasell’s annual outdoor event at the Gaskins Forest Education Center, WWALS will have a table as usual, thanks to WWALS Ambassador Dave Hetzel.

When: 1PM-5PM Saturday, April 21, 2018

Where: Gaskins Forest Education Center
3359 Moore Sawmill Rd., Alapaha

What: A Day in the Woods:
FREE Community Event Activities for all the family

Event: facebook, meetup


Photo: WG Bailey of Dave Hetzel at WWALS table, 2015-04-18.

The GFEC backs up to several miles of the Alapaha River on the Alapaha River Water Trail, and is itself an excellent example of native longleaf and riparian forest.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

John Muir in Florida by Merald Clark, Cedar Key 2017-11-11

Thanks to Anna White Hodges for the tip about this video from the second day of the November 10-11, 2017, Sierra Club Conference in Cedar Key, Florida.

Palms and Pines, Stills

The first day was mostly about sea level rise. I had to leave after that, because Continue reading