Tag Archives: Department of Health

No WWALS booth at festivals rest of March 2020 due to virus

Due to the many health considerations of our volunteers and their families, WWALS, exercising an abundance of caution, will not send the information booth to festivals for the rest of March 2020.

Preparing for Community Mass Gatherings --GA-DPH

This means we are cancelling our appearances at:

While we are sorry to have to do that, the risk is beyond simple infection of our booth volunteers, which would be bad enough. The novel coronavirus is airborne, causes a disease that Continue reading

Valdosta sewage from Sugar Creek to Florida 2019-01-01

Update 2020-01-03 Valdosta Sewage Public Meeting, Valdosta City Hall Annex, 2020-01-08.

You can see Valdosta’s sewage going down the Withlacoochee River as the high red numbers in these composite tables WWALS has cobbled together from various data sources (all acknowledged below).

Early on, the sewage apparently mostly sat in Sugar Creek downstream from the spill site, due to low water and no rain.

[Early (12/10-12/18)]
Early (12/10-12/18)

Most of the Georgia numbers in above table are from Valdosta Utilities data. The ones marked with a W are WWALS data using the Georgia Adopt-a-Stream 3M Petrifilms method.

Fecal coliform numbers started dropping in Sugar Creek at Gornto Road on December 14, and were much more acceptable by December 15 and 16th. Where did the sewage go? Continue reading

Suwannee Riverkeeper asks Georgia EPD to require Valdosta to do better about its record sewage spill 2019-12-17

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, December 19, 2019 — Compelled by the severity of Valdosta’s record raw sewage spill and the expenses and stigma incurred nearby and downstream, Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS Watershed Coalition has sent a letter requesting ten enforcment actions to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD). WWALS member Deanna Mericle of Hamilton County, Florida, summed it up: “As a person living downstream on the Withlacoochee River in Florida, I feel shat upon by Valdosta over and over. I cannot drink the water from my well. I worry about the health of the river itself and the animals that live in it and drink from it. We in Florida were patient while Valdosta was improving their wastewater plant, which apparently was not adequate since we still have spills when it rains heavily. But this time it was not a rain event. It was gross negligence. I am out of patience. I believe it is time for legal action.”

The Suwannee Riverkeeper letter notes GA-EPD already has a legal action against Valdosta, a Consent Order. WWALS asks GA-EPD to use its enforcement power to require notification, water quality testing, education, and plans and procedures not only for preventing such spills but also for tracking them as they travel down our creeks and rivers and for remediation of effects on wells and reputation.

[2019-12-17--WWALS-GA-EPD-Valdosta-sewage-0001]
2019-12-17–WWALS-GA-EPD-Valdosta-sewage-0001

“Valdosta says it does what GA-EPD tells it to do, so we’re asking GA-EPD to tell them,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Today we’re forwarding the letter to Continue reading

Valdosta and Florida water quality data after Valdosta record raw sewage spill 2019-12-16

Update 2019-12-17: WWALS Water Quality Testing US 84 & FL Campsites, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-16.

Here is Valdosta’s water quality testing data since the spill was discovered.

Apparently the spill was so bad it actually went upstream on Hightower Creek to St. Augustine Road, judging by the 1530 Fecal coliform cfu/100 ml reading on December 10th and 1275 on December 11th. Sugar Creek at Gornto Road was 5100 that day, and 8100 on December 11th. A reading of 1000 indicates a real problem. This was far worse.

The good news is that the levels are decreasing at those sampling stations.

The better news is that the sewage had not made it downstream even as far as US 84 (Valdosta sampling) or anywhere on the Withlacoochee or Suwannee Rivers in Florida (SRWMD sampling) as of December 15, 2019. (WWALS already got SRWMD’s data from Wednesday, December 12, 2019 last week and published it).

[Testing locations]
Testing locations

You may notice a big gap between US 84 and CR 150 (Sullivan Launch). We have already published some WWALS data for Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, in which we also did not yet see the Valdosta sewage. More will follow today.

You can donate to help pay for the Petrifilms and other equipment.

Also notice that the Florida Department of Health titles this: “SITUATION REPORT – Dec 3 2019 Valdosta Sewage Spill”. So apparently Valdosta’s record-largest raw sewage spill started Tuesday, December 3rd, not Continue reading

Florida Health Departments warn on Valdosta sewage in Withlacoochee River 2018-12-17

Once again, Valdosta sewage spills prompt Florida Health Department warnings for the Withlacoochee River.


Map: USGS Streamer.

There is nothing on the websites of the Health Departments of Hamilton or Madison Counties. I found this on the facebook page of the Madison County Florida Board of County Commissioners. It’s also on the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management, “Posted on behalf of the Florida Dept of Health Hamilton”.

December 17, 2018

HEALTH OFFICIALS IN HAMILTON, MADISON COUNTY ADVISE OF POSSIBLE WASTEWATER CONTAMINATION IN THE WITHLACOOCHEE RIVER HEALTH

Possible Impacts from Valdosta, GA Wastewater Overflow Continue reading

Mosquito spray Naled: worse than Dicamba

Apparently Suwannee County, Florida, sprayed for mosquitos in October, as reported by some WWALS members who got sick from that. Probably what was sprayed was the usual Naled such as is used in Miami and elsewhere, but there is some confusion as to what Naled is. It’s not Dicamba: it’s worse.

aerial mosquito spraying
An Air Force Reserve aircrew performing a mosquito control aerial spray mission in North Dakota back in 2011 Photo by U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Johnny Saldivar

WWALS Science Committee Chair Tom Potter, Ph.D., writes:

See Pesticide Properties Database (EU). Best general data source on pesticides. As indicated below exposure to humans (e.g. getting is sprayed) is a primary concern. Likely to produce headaches and nausea. To be clear Naled is not dicamba. They are very different. Dicamba is much less toxic (acute) to humans.

“Naled is mainly used for Continue reading

Getting water tested for arsenic (and other stuff)

Water quality testing bottles Confused about how to test your water for arsenic? I was, too. Here’s how to do it.

Recently, there was a statement made by the Department of Health, recommending that well owners have their wells tested for arsenic.

I had heard about this previously from Janet McMahan and definitely wanted to do what she recommended (test hot water also).

I volunteer regularly at the County Extension Office and figured it would be easy to get what I needed for the testing.

I got a sheet of paper labelled “Water Submission Form” and it seemed like a standard information sheet, name, address type of well, tests requested. I figured that this is filled in at the extension once I would bring in my sample.

I got a summary sheet of paper labelled “Sampling Protocol for Testing Drinking Water” and knew that I wanted to test for Arsenic and Uranium so I followed those directions for both hot (as directed by Janet) and cold water. There is a more complete document about water quality attached.

Then, I took my samples to the extension office along with the list of tests that Janet had recommended getting. “Oh,” said the office manager, “you didn’t bring enough water for all those tests.”

She opened the book about tests and showed me that some tests I want need 4 ounces each (and one of them needs 16 oz) so the two 4 oz bottles I brought in are not near enough.

When she explained to me that tests W1 and W3 cost the same as W2 and W2 tests for more stuff, I figured I should get W2 instead of W1 and W3. But I didn’t even know what those things were, nor that the collection mechanisms are really different when I started.

It’s sort of like learning a foreign language, you can say the words, but until you actually know what they mean you don’t have a clue.

Understanding what each of the different water tests are, how to properly collect the water and how they are priced (another important factor) made it clear to me that I needed to go home (with some new bottles) and collect water on another day.

-gretchen

Water Quality and Common Treatments for Private Drinking Water Systems, Revised by Uttam Saha, Leticia Sonon, Mark Risse1 and David Kissel, Originally written by Anthony Tyson and Kerry Harrison, Extension Engineers.