Tag Archives: Petrifilm

Okapilco Creek better, Withlacoochee still clean 2020-01-22

Update 2020-01-25: Florida advisory lifted, but WWALS warning signs stay up, and keep testing rivers, creeks and wells.

Okapilco Creek is down from 2419.6 cfu/100 mL E. coli last Thursday to 365 yesterday, Wednesday, January 22, 2020, according to data from Lowndes County received during the Florida Rivers Task Force meeting in Lake City.

[Okapilco Creek in Brooks County]
Okapilco Creek in Brooks County in Brooks County Tax Appraiser map.

That’s still higher than we’d like to see, but not way up in don’t touch the water range like before.

[Lowndes County 2020-01-22]
Lowndes County 2020-01-22
Thanks to Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter for sending these results, which are on the WWALS website along with the entire entire updated WWALS composite spreadsheet of all results from all sources.

Where did that contamination go? Did it show up on Continue reading

Withlacoochee, Suwannee good, Okapilco Creek bad water quality 2020-01-18

Update 2020-01-23: Okapilco Creek better, Withlacoochee still clean 2020-01-22.

The good news: Gretchen Quarterman’s test results from the Mayor’s Paddle Saturday were clean.

[Gretchen Quarterman testing during Mayor's Paddle (Suzy Hall)]
Photo: Suzy Hall, of Gretchen Quarterman testing during Mayor’s Paddle 2020-01-18

The Withlacoochee River tested clean all the way from the state line to the Suwannee, and the Suwannee River clean all the way to US 250, on Friday, January 17, 2020, according to the Florida Department of Health (FDOH). But somebody (Valdosta?) needs to pay for the well and river testing incurred to date from that record-largest Valdosta raw sewage spill of December 2019. And we need ongoing regular, closely spaced, water quality testing, and sources of funding (Valdosta?) for that, for at least two reasons detailed below.

Maybe you’d like to come talk about that at the Florida Rivers Task Force meeting 4PM today at the Holiday Inn, 213 SW Commerce Blvd, Lake City, FL, or at the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council (NCFRPC) meeting at 7PM, same location.

Or you can speak in Citizens To Be Heard at the end of the Valdosta City Council meeting, 5:30 PM today, Valdosta City Hall, 216 E. Central Ave., Valdosta, GA.

[Clean rivers 2020-01-15-18]
Clean rivers 2020-01-15-18
The entire composite spreadsheet by WWALS is on the WWALS website, along with the recent data from Lowndes County and Florida.

The Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) projection reported by WCJB on Thursday that Valdosta sewage had reached the Suwannee River fortunately proved not to come to pass. Cleaner Friday than Thursday, by results from WWALS, Lowndes County (which has its own sewer system that did not spill), and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). Valdosta did not test on any weekdays last week, even though their Mayor was scheduled to paddle.

The difficulty of projecting river flows is one reason continual testing is the only way to be sure what’s in our rivers.

What’s in Okapilco Creek?

The interesting news: Lowndes County found high E. coli on Okapilco Creek south of Continue reading

Signs in Georgia on Withlacoochee River and new data; thanks Lowndes County and SRWMD 2020-01-10

Update 2020-01-14: Recent water quality test results, Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers 2020-01-11

There are two warning signs at each of Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps as of yesterday: by Lowndes County, and by WWALS. According to new data from Wednesday evening, those signs may not have been necessary, but at this point better safe than sorry. The new data did not come from Valdosta, nor did the signs.

[County and WWALS warning signs]
Photo: John S. Quarterman, County and WWALS warning signs at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, 2020-01-10

Thanks to Lowndes County and Chairman Bill Slaughter for testing at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, and for making and planting those tall metal caution signs after the county numbers for Monday, January 6, 2020, were quite high. The county is now doing weekly testing, including at additional locations.

Just in case, WWALS also made signs and placed them. Continue reading

Avoid Withlacoochee River from Knights Ferry to Confluence with Suwannee River 2020-01-08

Update 2020-01-11: Signs in Georgia on Withlacoochee River and new data; thanks Lowndes County and SRWMD 2020-01-10.

It would be prudent to avoid contact with the Withlacoochee River from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp all the way to the Suwannee River, due to test results from Lowndes County, Georgia, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

[Avoid red area]
Avoid red area.
WWALS Map of Landings in the Suwannee River Basin.

The problem access points would seem to include Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, Nankin Boat Ramp, and State Line Boat Ramp in Georgia, and in Florida Sullivan Launch, Florida Campsites Ramp, Madison Blue Spring, Madison Boat Ramp, and Allen Ramp on the Withlacoochee River. I believe Hamilton County also has a warning sign upstream on the Suwannee River at Suwannee River Campsites. There’s a sign at Madison Blue Spring, and I’d bet there’s one at Suwannee River State Park Ramp. There will be signs in Georgia today, one way or another.

Here is an excerpt from the latest FDEP data, received this morning. The entire updated FDEP spreadsheet is Continue reading

Much cleaner at Knights Ferry and State Line in Georgia; Valdosta Sewage is in Florida 2019-12-30

Suzy Hall’s results from Monday samples at Knights Ferry and Nankin are now within Georgia state limits, lower than when I tested there three days earlier, indicating Valdosta’s record-largest sewage spills has indeed moved on to Florida.

[Look what we bagged!]
Photo: Suzy Hall, who wrote, “Did a clean up at KF. Probably 40-50 lbs collected by 2 adults and 2 very involved little girls.”

Suzy’s E. coli results for Monday, December 30, 2019: Continue reading

Valdosta sewage in Florida 2019-12-26

Update 2020-01-01: Much cleaner at Knights Ferry and State Line in Georgia; Valdosta Sewage is in Florida 2019-12-30

Apparently the biggest slug of Valdosta sewage passed the state line on December 26, 2019.

[Testing locations]
Testing locations

Thanks to Chris Mericle for forwarding the December 25 and 26 data from the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD), which I think is getting from from the Florida Department of Health (FDOH). I’ve combined those data in a table with the numbers from December 24, and ordered them from north (upstream) to south (downstream).

Here are the preliminary Continue reading

Water Quality: Hagan Bridge to State Line, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-27

Update 2019-12-30: Valdosta sewage in Florida 2019-12-26.

Maybe the two inches of rain last weekend are finally flushing the Withlacoochee River and diluting Valdosta’s record-largest sewage spill. E. coli counts from Friday’s testing are down from previous tests. Looks like the contamination is probably mostly in Florida now, so dilution would be good.

[SL, Nankin, KF, SB, US84, HB, Control, 19:48:15]
SL, Nankin, KF, SB, US84, HB, Control, 19:48:15

If E. coli counts continue to drop, and river levels stay up, we will paddle from Troupville Boat Ramp to Spook Bridge on January 18, 2020. You are invited to join us.

Only Knights Ferry Boat Ramp still showed an E. coli count at a worrisome level. Here are the results, followed by some commentary on each site.

Hagan Bridge at GA 122 133 cfu/100 mL
U.S. 84 Bridge 0 cfu/100 mL
Spook Bridge 33 cfu/100 mL
Knights Ferry Boat Ramp 300 cfu/100 mL
Nankin Boat Ramp 133 cfu/100 mL
State Line Boat Ramp 100 cfu/100 mL

[Hagan Bridge to State Line]
Hagan Bridge to State Line on the
WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

This is not the whole story, because I did not collect test water at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River, at GA 133, nor at Sugar Creek. A neighboring landowner tells me the Withlacoochee River just below Sugar Creek still smells like sewage. If there are still pockets of sewage there, they could flush loose in later rains and run downstream. We will investigate.

133 cfu/100 mL Hagan Bridge

Continue reading

Even filthier E. coli counts at Knights Ferry on Withlacoochee River 2019-12-24

Update 2019-12-28: Contamination apparently spread to Nankin Boat Ramp by December 26, and still no warning signs.

Suzy still saw no Valdosta warning signs yesterday at Knights Ferry or State Line, despite even higher E. coli counts at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River. There were still no warning signs there or at State Line Boat Ramp, even though the only source of contamination this bad that seems plausible is Valdosta’s record-largest raw sewaage spill. Why does Valdosta not put up warning signs for the public health situation it has apparently caused?

[Knights Ferry Boat Ramp]
Photo: Suzy Hall, of Petrifilms of water from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp 2019-12-24.

“I kinda want to call Knights TNTC (Too Many To Count), but I did my best and count 6,767/100 mL.” reports Suzy Hall on test results from a sample she took at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp yesterday, Tuesday, December 24, 2019.

That’s more than six times the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream alert level for E. coli. And we thought 4,966.67 from three days earlier was ridiculously high.

Please don’t let your children play in that water with these readings. Continue reading

E. coli at Troupville, Little River Confluence, and Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-21

2019-12-25: Even filthier E. coli counts at Knights Ferry on Withlacoochee River 2019-12-24.

The Withlacoochee River is still filthy with Valdosta’s record-largest raw sewage spill. Please don’t even touch the river water from Sugar Creek in Valdosta all the way to the Florida state line and beyond into Hamilton and Madison Counties, Florida. If you have a well near the Withlacoochee River in that area, there is free well testing available from Lowndes County (and maybe Brooks County), Georgia, and Hamilton and Madison Counties, Florida.

[Green at the Confluence]
Photo: Scotti Jay, Green at the Confluence, with Sara Jay preparing to test, 2019-12-21.

Slightly upstream from the Little River Confluence, Sara Jay tested Saturday and got 533 cfu/100 ml E. coli. This is in between the numbers she got a bit upstream at the GA 133 Withlacoochee Bridge, 633 last Tuesday and 433 on Thursday.

[Sugar Creek via Ga 133 to US 84]
Sugar Creek via Ga 133 to US 84, Withlacoochee River with the GA 133 bridge highlighted,
on the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

As reported yesterday, Saturday Suzy Hall saw 4,966 cfu/100 ml at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, which is up in the ranges of Continue reading

E. coli at Little River Confluence, Spook Bridge, and Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-21

2019-12-24: E. coli at Troupville, Little River Confluence, and Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-21.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, GA, Monday, December 23, 2019 — At Knights Ferry Boat Ramp Saturday Suzy Hall tested 4,966.67 cfu/100 ml E. coli, far higher than anything previously recorded there, and almost five times the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream alert level. There were still no warning signs, not at Knights Ferry, and not at State Line Boat Ramp, where Suzy Hall got 100 cfu/100 ml, when all our previous readings were zero (0).

“It appears that Valdosta’s record-largest wastewater has caused a public health emergency in the Withlacoochee River and Valdosta is not even warning people about it at river access locations,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Florida is being proactive; what is Valdosta doing? How about Lowndes Health? Lowndes County (didn’t cause this problem, but needs to help deal with it). GA-EPD? EPA? Statehouse and Congressional delegations? This report will go to all of them today.”

[Knights Ferry & State Line Ramps]
Photo: Suzy Hall, of her Petrifilms of water samples taken from the Withlacoochee River at Knights Ferry & State Line Boat Ramps.
Method: count blue dots with bubbles (E. coli colonies) on each plate.
Add the counts, divide by three, and multiply by 100, to get colony forming units (cfu) per 100 mililiter of water.

The Georgia Adopt-A-Stream Bacterial Monitoring manual says: Continue reading