Tag Archives: MCWTP

Videos: Florida Rivers Task Force about Valdosta Wastewater 2019-02-28

Update 2019-03-17: Valdosta has agreed to meet with the dozen downstream Florida counties, elected officials to elected officials, 6PM, Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at Valdosta City Hall Annex, and “the public will have an opportunity to speak.”

A dozen downstream Florida counties want to meet with the Valdosta City Council, elected officials to elected officials, to present a resolution they passed urging the states of Florida and Georgia to do something about Valdosta’s sewage, and to discuss raising funds to help Valdosta fix its sewage infrastructure, so the Florida counties can restore their eco-tourism on the Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Suwannee, and Santa Fe Rivers. Restoring eco-tourism came up again and again. It’s not just the actual sewage, which never gets to Taylor or Alachua Counties. It’s the stigma of sewage in the rivers. Fixing Valdosta’s spills and regular testing to find other sources are needed.

Valdosta said no. So delegates from all dozen counties are going to come to the March 21, 2019, Valdosta City Council Regular Session and speak in Citizens to Be Heard, three minutes each, some time after 5:30 PM that Thursday evening.

[Movie: Approval of Resolution (115M)]
Movie: Approval of Resolution (115M) Task Force, clockwise from front: Scott R. Koons (NCFRPC), Ken Cornell (Alachua County), Anthony Adams (Lafayette County), Don Hale (Suwannee County), Gene Higginbotham (Dixie County), Kenrick Thomas (Gilchrist County), Danny Riddick (Bradford County), Thomas Demps (Taylor County), Beth Burnam (Hamilton County), Rick Davis (Chair, Madison County)

Apparently Valdosta told them that Valdosta doesn’t do workshops or joint meetings, which is curious, since Valdosta’s city council members a month earlier met with council members from all the other Lowndes County cities and the Lowndes County Commissioners about their Service Delivery Strategy, which includes wastewater. Last year, members of Valdosta Mayor and Council met with elected officials Continue reading

Resolution pending by Rivers Task Force in Lake City meeting 2019-02-28

Received Thursday. The Rivers Task Force of the dozen downstream Florida counties will be voting next Thursday on a resolution asking the State of Florida (FDEP, SRWMD, etc.) to do something about Valdosta’s sewage spills.

[4PM Thu 28 Feb 2019, Holiday Inn, Lake City, FL]
4PM Thu 28 Feb 2019, Holiday Inn, Lake City, FL

When: 4PM, Thursday, February 28, 2019

Where: Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, 213 Southwest Commerce Boulevard, Lake City, Florida

What: A meeting of the Middle and Lower Suwannee River and Withlacoochee River Task Force

Directions: From the intersection of Interstate 75 and U.S. Highway 90 (exit 427) in the City of Lake City turn, East onto U.S. Highway 90, travel approximately 450 feet to SW Commerce Blvd, turn right (South) onto SW Commerce Blvd, travel approximately 720 feet and the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites is on the left.

The agenda, after the customary introductory items, has only a resolution and Next Steps.

[Resolution and Next Steps]
Resolution and Next Steps

Not on the agenda, but mentioned in the minutes of the previous meeting:

The Task Force agreed that the next steps should be to request a meeting with the Governor and Commissioner of Agriculture. Chair Davis informed the Task Force that the next meeting will be held on Continue reading

Monthly Florida bacterial monitoring 2019-02-21

Two weeks ago, WWALS member Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson asked the state of Florida what baseline water quality testing had been done downstream of Valdota, and:

Please begin water samplings for the isotope for sucralose, fecal coliform testing and any other water testing establishing what or who is culpable of contamination in our protected, Outstanding Florida Waterways.

Yesterday she got an answer. She agrees with my assessment of the data supplied: “Sparse locations and only monthly, but better than nothing.”

[DEAR bacterial monthly sampling stations]
DEAR bacterial monthly sampling stations

However, how can the state of Florida be “committed to monitoring and stopping this recurring problem.” when they “do not allow for enforcement actions directed at the source of sanitary sewer overflows, nor for routine water quality surveillance for sources of river water contamination”?

Now it’s true that last restriction was only cited as applying to the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), not the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration (DEAR), and not to the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD). But which of this alphabet soup of agencies should be doing “routine water quality surveillance for sources of river water contamination”?

The beginning of the final paragraph of the response does not indicate any intention Continue reading

WWALS invites downstream counties to Valdosta City Council meeting 2019-01-16

Update 2019-01-22: Yes, that’s the same day as the 4PM meeting in Lake City, Florida of the Task Force of the downstream counties. Since each county only has one Task Force delegate, maybe they can send other people to the Valdosta City Council meeting. Or, if Valdosta is too far for you, maybe you’d like to go to Lake City Thursday.

WWALS Watershed Coalition board member Eileen Box invited downstream counties and residents to come speak to the Valdosta City Council this Thursday. Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman added, “Every Valdosta City Council agenda has Citizens to be Heard. They’re tired of hearing from me about sewage spills. Maybe if some of the affected parties downstream spoke to them directly they would notice. Come on up and give it a try!“

Eileen Box, WWALS Board Member, Suwannee Democrat
Photo: Jamie Wachter, Suwannee Democrat, Youtube video, 2019-01-14.

Jamie Wachter, Suwannee Democrat, January 16, 2019, ‘IT’S A SHAME’ Residents, officials share wastewater spill concerns with legislative delegation,

[Eileen] Box, who is a board member of the Suwannee Riverkeeper, said North Florida residents may need to expand the reach of their complaints. She said those concerns need to be directed at the people who can do something about it — the Valdosta City Council.

“If they start hearing from Suwannee County and Hamilton and Madison and all these counties that are affected, when you come and talk, it does have an effect, she said. That may be one little thing that we can do.”

The next Valdosta City Council meeting is this Thursday:

When: 5:30 PM, Thursday, January 24, 2019

Where: Council Chambers, 2nd Floor
Valdosta City Hall
216 East Central Avenue, Valdosta, GA 31601

What: Agenda Item 5. Citizens to be Heard Continue reading

Tifton * 2, Quitman, Valdosta * 6 2018-12-22

Not just Valdosta: Tifton spilled two places, and Quitman one, in the most recent rains. Those cities were not in the data available online from GA-EPD yesterday, but they are in the online data today.

But Valdosta spilled the most sewage and from the most locations: six places, not just the one Valdosta told the public. Plus we finally have a total for the previous WWTP spill, and all the others from the beginning of December, and those totals are not pretty.

Valdosta Warning Sign, Sign
Photo: Julie Bowland, of Valdosta sewage spill sign at Troupville Boat Ramp, 21 December 2018.

That Valdosta sewage spill sign is stuck loosely into a hole WWALS dug to plant our Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT) signs, which someone has yet again pulled up and thrown into the river, but I digress….

Context wide, Context Maps

Tifton

First let’s look at the city people in Florida ignore: Tifton, Georgia, the second largest city in the Suwannee River Basin (that’s right: in both Georgia and Florida). Tifton had 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

Tour of Valdosta wastewater treatment plants 2018-10-03

WWALS will tour Valdosta’s Wastewater Treatment Plants (WTPs). Thanks to Scott Fowler and Director Darryl Muse for the longstanding invitation. WWALS invites you to come, from both Georgia and Florida, especially people downstream on the Withlacoochee, Alapaha, or Suwannee Rivers.

When: 9AM, Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Where: Valdosta Utilties, 1016 Myrtle Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601
The Myrtle Street off of E. Force Street between Troup and Forrest (not the one in Remerton).

Event: facebook, meetup

Valdosta's Mud Creek WTP

Where: We will go to the Withlacoochee WTP next to the Withlacoochee River, and the Mud Creek WTP on Knights Creek, upstream from Mud Creek, the Alapahoochee River, and the Alapaha River. We may go to other points such as force mains or lift stations. If we have time we will also tour Valdosta’s drinking water treatment plant.

Duration: Probably several hours, but should be done by noon.

Free: There is no charge. This tour is primarily for WWALS members, but we won’t turn away anybody else and I doubt Valdosta will, either. We do recommend you join WWALS today.

Why: For why so many people are interested in Valdosta’s WTPs and what Valdosta has done to date, see Valdosta (and other) Wastewater.

This is not a regular WWALS outing or event, but for more WWALS outings and events as they are posted, see the WWALS calendar or the WWALS outings and events web page. WWALS members also get an upcoming list in the Tannin Times newsletter.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

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