Tag Archives: creeks

Lowndes County spilled, and Valdosta spilled 14 places, most ongoing 2018-12-05

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.

1 Quitman, 1 Lowndes County, 14 Valdosta, Spills
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:

Public Notice
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

FPL Columbia County Solar Farm, fall 2018

East on I-10 just before I-75 southbound crosses: a 74.5 MW FPL solar farm in Columbia County, Florida, well along in construction. I don’t think any newspaper ever called the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline a windfall:

Continued, Newspaper
Solar photos: Carl McKinney, Lake City Reporter. Sorry I forgot who sent me this picture of the newspaper front page.

FPL PR 31 July 2018, Construction begins on FPL’s four newest solar power plants, Continue reading

Worse upstream and far downstream, Valdosta water quality testing 2018-09-19, 2018-09-25 2018-10-02

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.

Mud Creek WTP

Valdosta’s smaller WTP is in the Alapaha River Basin.

Map, Mud Creek WTP

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.

Map, Mud Creek WTP

St. Augustine Rd., Mud Creek, Mud Creek WTP

100 and 10 are good readings for Fecal Coliform and E. coli, upstream of the Mud Creek WTP. Continue reading

Videos: Tour of Valdosta WTPs 2018-10-03

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.

Valdosta staff,
Counterclockwise from front: Utilities Director Darryl Muse, Public Information Officer Ashlyn Becton, Environmental Manager Scott Fowler, Mud Creek WTP Superintendent Mud Creek Stanley K. Martin.

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

Valdosta water quality testing data 2018-09-12

Here is most of a year’s river water quality testing data from the city of Valdosta, on a Water Reporter map:

Valdosta stations, 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.

However, as we already saw on the spill followup data map, often, even usually, FCOLI and ECOLI are just as bad or worse upstream Continue reading

FDEP now maps last 30 days of spills

Pollution spill maps online, up to date, with interactive links to details: Florida is doing it, and so can Georgia.

Florida, Maps

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.

Did you know there was a Phosphoric Acid spill at White Springs last week, on Continue reading

Followup water quality data after big Valdosta 2018 spills 2018-09-21

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.

Mud Creek WTP after the 13 August 2018 spill

Below at Johnson Road, Mud Creek WTP
Downstream at Johnson Road on Mud Creek from the Mud Creek WTP after the August spill

There’s only one datapoint (the yellow dot) on that graph below the Georgia safe limit for fecal coliform of 200 colony forming units per 100 milliliters of water (cfu/100 ml). You’d think it would be better upstream, right? Continue reading

Training, Water Quality Testing, Pictures 2018-09-16

Update 2018-10-24: First test kit complete! Now waiting for analysis equipment to arrive. For more details on recent background, see Valdosta (and other) wastewater.

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.)

Class

[Julie Shutters, Ronnie Thomas, Erica McLelland, Shirley Kokidko, Joanne A. Wardell, Gretchen Quarterman, Bobby McKenzie, John S. Quarterman (hat)]
Julie Shutters, Ronnie Thomas, Erica McLelland, Shirley Kokidko, Joanne A. Wardell, Gretchen Quarterman, Bobby McKenzie, John S. Quarterman (hat)

Continue reading

Big Georgia Wastewater Permits in the Suwannee River Basin

Schedules of testing, with permissable levels: these are in National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) wastewater permits, so we need to see those permits. You’d think they’d be on the EPA or GA-EPD website, but….

The U.S. EPA has delegated NPDES permitting to Georgia. You can get draft wastewater permits right off the GA-EPD website, but to get the actual current approved permits, you must get GA-EPD to send them to you. I found this out from Audra Dickson, Wastewater Regulatory Program Manager. I asked her for permits for half a dozen cities and one county, and the next day Alyssa Thomson, Environmental Specialist, Wastewater Regulatory Program, Municipal Permitting Unit, sent them via email.

They’re on the WWALS website now.

Instream Monitoring Requirements, Valdosta Mud Creek WPCP
Instream Monitoring Requirements, Valdosta Mud Creek WPCP

Why this list? Continue reading

Valdosta Consent Order from GA EPD 2013-09-23

Due to tens of millions of dollars spent by Valdosta, we don’t see spills of tens of millions of gallons anymore. The most obvious Valdosta Sanitary System Improvement is the new, uphill, out of the flood plain, Withlacoochee Wasterwater Treatment Plant, pictured here on Scott Fowler’s office wall at Valdosta Utilities:

Withlacoochee WPCP 2016, Wastewater Plants
Withlacoochee WPCP 2016

The old, now-closed, Withlacoochee WTP was the plant that had the biggest problems back in 2009 and 2013. As found on the City of Valdosta website, the 23 September 2013 Valdosta Consent Order from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division is now also on WWALS website, including I made a web version, from which I extracted the paragraphs quoted below.

This was the original problem: Continue reading