Tag Archives: rain

Not good: Withlacoochee River & Okapilco Creek 2020-02-11

Update 2020-02-18: Withlacoochee still not clean Thursday but not alarming in Florida results 2020-02-13.

Update 2020-02-14: Fixed typo; apparently FDOH tests were collected Monday, February 10, 2020.

Lowndes County’s upstream results for Tuesday, February 11, 2020, are as bad at US 84 as FDOH’s result at CR 150 (Sullivan Launch) the previous day.

Yes, Okapilco Creek downstream of US 84 is especially bad. But Okapilco Creek has more E. coli than anyone would like upstream at GA 76, too. And no, Valdosta is still not off the hook.

We still need to find out where all this contamination is coming from. You can help.

[Not Good Results 2020-02-11]
Not Good Results 2020-02-11
Thanks to Lowndes County Chairman Bill SLaughter for these Tuesday results, which are on the WWALS website, along with the full WWALS composite result table going back to December 10, 2019.

These results are much different from Lowndes County’s tests of Wednesday, February 5. There’s been no rain to speak of since last Thursday, February 6, five days before these recent Tuesday tests, so what’s going on?

[Quitman Gauge (US 84)]
Quitman Gauge (US 84)

Rain upstream is washing something downstream.

[Rain the week before]
Rain the week before

Much of that rain fell upstream and is still coming downstream. More than an inch fell that Thursday at the Continue reading

Clean Withlacoochee River; dubious Okapilco Creek; and rain 2020-02-05

Update 2020-02-12: Madison Co., FL Withlacoochee River Bacterial Advisory 2020-02-11.

Good another Wednesday: Lowndes County water quality results for the Withlacoochee River. Meanwhile, about an inch of rain registered upstream Thursday. We will have more WWALS results in a day or so. The only way to tell what is in our waterways is regular, frequent, closely-spaced testing. You can help.

[Good Withlacoochee]
Good Withlacoochee
Thanks to Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter for these Lowndes County results.
Along with the WWALS composite results spreadsheet, they are on the WWALS website.
There are no new Florida results; the Florida agencies stopped testing after Continue reading

Valdosta Catch Basin Plans for WWTP 2019-09-01

Here are the plans for the new catch basin at the entrance of Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) (see also PDF), obtained via open records request from Valdosta. At least we finally know how big it is: 7.26 million gallons. But is that big enough?

[FORWARD FLOW SCHEMATIC]
FORWARD FLOW SCHEMATIC

The catch basin is a good idea, and I commend Valdosta on implementing it. However: Continue reading

Raining now, sending Valdosta sewage downstream; Florida warns; Valdosta does what? 2019-12-22

Update 2019-12-23: E. coli at Little River Confluence, Spook Bridge, and Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-21

The National Weather Service predicts rain coming down now will raise the Withlacoochee River from Low to Action stages above Valdosta starting today. This is after WWALS already apparently detected Valdosta sewage passing GA 133 on Tuesday, continuing Thursday, so Valdosta’s record-largest sewage spill is likely headed downstream. Florida has put out alerts, allocated funds for testing, and at least one county has declared a state of emergency. When will Valdosta even post signs downstream to the state line? When will Valdosta reimburse the downstream Florida Counties and health departments for their expenses?

[Skipper Bridge Gauge, Withlacoochee, above Valdosta, 2019-12-22, 7:30 AM]
Skipper Bridge Gauge, Withlacoochee, above Valdosta, 2019-12-22, 7:30 AM
water.weather.gov, with predicted water levels.

There’s a lot of concern downstream in Florida. Hamilton County put warning signs at all its boat ramps and Florida Parks put one at Madison Blue Spring. Those signs were still in place when I looked Monday afternoon, December 16, 2019.

[Florida Health Advisory on kiosk]
Florida Health Advisory on kiosk at Florida Campsites, upstream from Madison Blue Spring, 2019-12-16.

But Valdosta has only posted warning signs at a few places within its own city limits and at Troupville Boat Ramp, with no signs at US 84, Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, Nankin Boat Ramp, or State Line Boat Ramp. Continue reading

The rest of the Valdosta wastewater story at SRWMD 2019-02-12

Valdosta Utilities naturally painted as rosy a picture as possible, and newspapers have limited space, so here is the rest of the story about Valdosta wastewater at the Suwannee River Water Management District board meeting last Tuesday. SRWMD Chair Virginia H. Johns understands the stigma, and Board Member Virginia Sanchez spelled it out:

SRWMD Chair Virginia H. Johns

“You don’t want to swim in a little sewage versus a lot of sewage either. Both of them are bad. A spill is bad.”

Featured in this post, drawing from the WWALS videos of all the relevant speakers, are Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse, who talked about the catch basin Valdosta is digging, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, who filled in many pieces omitted by Valdosta and FDEP, and Hamilton County resident Jim McBrayer, who got the attention of the SRWMD board by saying there was E. coli in his well and SRWMD should know where it came from, plus especially the very participatory SRWMD board, who made it pretty clear to FDEP they wanted data by their next meeting, and they wanted Valdosta to move along in fixing their problems in less than a hundred years.

Let’s not forget Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, who pointed out something Valdosta doesn’t want to hear: it’s the stigma of sewage spills that is the big problem they are causing. For sure we need to find out what the specific health and other effects are of Valdosta sewage and other contamination on river water and nearby wells. But the stigma of Valdosta sewage goes far beyond that.

Darryl Muse, Utilities Director, Valdosta

In the WWALS video, Continue reading

Videos: Valdosta Wastewater at SRWMD Board 2019-02-12

Update 2019-02-18: The rest of the Valdosta wastewater story at SRWMD 2019-02-12.

The most direct interaction by the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) Board that I’ve ever seen, yesterday, when Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse came to explain what Valdosta has done and is doing to stop its sewage spills. Neither the board nor the audience seemed satisfied.

[Movie: Darryl Muse, Utilities Director, Valdosta (1458M)]
Movie: Darryl Muse, Utilities Director, Valdosta (1458M)

Stay tuned for another post about some of what was said. Meanwhile, below are links to each WWALS video of each speaker or agenda item, with a few notes. These WWALS videos are under a Creative Commons Attribution license, which means you can use them, provide you cite the source, which is WWALS. There are a few more pictures on the WWALS website. See also the agenda. For background and data, see: Continue reading

Valdosta wastewater at Suwannee River Water Management Board Meeting 2019-02-12

2019-002-13: WWALS videos.

Received just now, the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) agenda for next Tuesday includes:

7.B. Cooperating Agencies and Organizations — City of Valdosta Utilities Department Presentation

When: 9 AM, Tuesday, February 23, 2019

Where: 9225 Co Rd 49, Live Oak, FL 32060

What: SRWMD Board Packet.

[7.B. Valdosta Utilities]
7.B. Valdosta Utilities

Good news: the GA-EPD Sewage Spill Reports do not have any spills reported from Valdosta or anywhere else in the Suwannee River Basin during the rains of last weekend.

Plenty of water was coming out of the pipe from Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) into the Withlacoochee River yesterday, but it smelled merely mildly like Continue reading

Rochelle details, and Tifton spills at Agrirama Lift Station 2019-01-15

Tifton, and any other cities: if you keep spilling from the same place whenever there’s a big rain, maybe it’s not the rain that’s excessive. Maybe your sewage infrastructure is inadequate and you should fix it.

Map: Agrirama Lake, Spills
One day a week ago GA-EPD included latitude and longitude in the spreadsheet, with this for Tifton’s Agrirama Lake Lift Station: 31.464770, -83.530532, shown here on the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

In yesterday’s GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report we have a little more detail on the 300-gallon Rochelle, GA spill: Continue reading

More rain, more Valdosta WTP spills 2018-12-17

Update 2018-12-18: And a Florida Department of Health warning.

This is the first Valdosta spill press release that mentions the proposed additional catch basin. It still doesn’t acknowledge the other 13 spill locations from last time, nor does it say which, if any, of the previous spills was finally stopped.

I have requested an update from GA-EPD for what reports they have received, and I’ll post their response tomorrow. Meanwhile, you can sign the petition to ask GA-EPD to tell everyone when anyone spills.

Received 3:13 PM, Valdosta PR 17 December 2018, Weekend Storm Results in Sewer Overflow,

Buffer tank, Outside Withlacoochee WTP
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, of one of four processing units, during WWTP tour, 3 October 2018.

During the past two weeks, The City of Valdosta and surrounding areas have received a combined total of 15 inches of rain during several storm events. Included in that total is the 3 to 4 inches of rain that Valdosta received over the weekend. During the most recent weekend rain event, city infrastructure operated as designed. While the WWTP has a normal average daily flow of 3.5 million gallons (MG), this past weekend, the influent flow peaked at more than 22 MG—nearly seven times the normal rate. As a result of recent rainfall totals into the plant, the structures were overwhelmed. The current system has four processing units, although during normal operations the system only requires one. During this storm event, the Withlacoochee Plant was running all four units plus the excess flow equalization basin. Additionally, the city is working with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to design and install additional storage capacity at the facility.

On December 15 and 16, the City of Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant identified intermittent sewage spills. The spill was caused by Continue reading

Yes, again, Valdosta WWTP Spill 2018-12-03

When I shared their press release on facebook last night, the best thing I could think of to say was: at least Valdosta told us as it is happening.

But why, Valdosta, why? Seriously, you’re not prepared for rain?

After Hurricane Michael barely missed Valdosta?

After only two months ago Valdosta Utilities assured us all they were prepared?

WWTP creeks, Map
Map: WWALS, Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

And in a rain that submerged US 84 near the Withlacoochee River Bridge and washed out Old Lake Park Road you’re telling us nothing washed from the WWTP down the creek that goes directly to the Withlacoochee River? Continue reading