Tag Archives: springs

More testing needed to track river pollution –Suwannee Riverkeeper in Gainesville Sun 2020-03-16

Gainesville Sun, 12:01 AM, Monday, March 16, 2020, John S. Quarterman: More testing needed to track river pollution (see also PDF),

Fecal bacterial contamination from Georgia probably reached the Gulf of Mexico about March 3, 2020, according to the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD).

[Tifton to the Gulf]
Tifton to the Gulf
In the WWALS map of all public landings in the Suwannee River Basin.

The good news: we know about that, because of much more water quality monitoring being done since I wrote a column about the issue last year for The Sun.

This recent testing was provoked by a spill of 7.5 million gallons of raw sewage into Sugar Creek near Valdosta, Ga., in December. With no rain, the sewage sat there for a week, and then moved down the Withlacoochee River in about three weekly globs, at least once reaching the Suwannee.

This Valentine’s Day, Valdosta exceeded our request, testing not one but Continue reading

Nestle permit deleted from SRWMD agenda 2020-03-10

How does Nestlé appeal a decision that hasn’t been made yet? I guess we’re about to find out.

Meanwhile, I plan to go speak anyway, 9AM Tuesday 10 March 2020 at SRWMD HQ in Live Oak. How about you?

For inspiration, see the WWALS videos of the 32 speakers from December.

[Nestle denial pulled from agenda]
Nestle denial pulled from agenda
PDF

Received via email about 4PM today, Monday, March 9, 2020:

March 9, 2020

NOTICE OF AMENDMENT OF AGENDA

NOTICE IS GIVEN that Agenda Item No. 20—BCS Page 61—Authorization to Deny Water Use Permit Renewal Application 2-041-218202-3, Seven Springs Water Company Project, Gilchrist County has been pulled from the agenda.

The Applicant has filed a petition for administrative hearing on this denial and the District has forwarded the petition to the Division of Administrative Hearings (“DOAH”) for consideration by an Administrative Law Judge as required by law.

The District does not have jurisdiction to act on the petition until the administrative process is completed before DOAH and the Administrative Law Judge issues a recommended order. Upon issuance of the recommended order, the Governing Board will re-agenda this item for final agency action.

Suwannee River Water Management District |
www.MySuwanneeRiver.com

A few minutes before, the revised agenda arrived via email. Continue reading

Citizens about Nestle at SRWMD 2019-12-10

Update 2020-03-09: Nestlé pulled from the agenda.

See in these videos 32 people speak to the SRWMD board, against Nestlé’s Ginnie Springs permit, and not a single one for, after a rally outside, in December 2019. Plus 384,000 signatures delivered by Allison Guy of SumofUs.

That permit is on the agenda for tomorrow morning, 9AM, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at SRWMD HQ in Live Oak.

SRWMD staff recommend denial, but they did back in 2003 when the Madison Blue Spring permit was originally granted, and the SRWMD Board approved it anyway.

So come speak your mind. Come early: SRWMD is expecting so many people they’re setting up expansion space inside, and their parking will fill up quickly. Facebook event.


[No to Nestle!]
No to Nestle!

The Suwannee River Water Management District Board may never have heard from a mermaid before. Many other speakers were new to this venue, such as 14-year-old Isaac Augspurg.

Others were old hands, such as Our Santa Fe River (OSFR) president Mike Roth, past president Pam Smith, Historian Jim Tatum, and of course Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson.

Several WWALS members spoke, including several of the above, and Chris Mericle, Garth Brewster, and Maxine Connor.


      Valdosta spill; No Nestle permit --Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman
Valdosta spill; No Nestle permit –Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman

The only speaker to cause an audible gasp from the audience was me, when I revealed that Valdosta had spilled again, 7.5 million gallons of raw sewage, upstream from Madison Blue Spring. Much more about that on the WWALS website.

I hand-delivered to SRWMD board and staff copies of the WWALS letter against Nestlé permits.

Below are links to each WWALS video of each speaker, followed by Continue reading

Seven Springs (Nestle) permit renewal agenda, with public comment –SRWMD 2020-03-10

Update 2020-03-09: Nestlé pulled from the agenda.

Update 2020-03-09: Citizens about Nestle at SRWMD 2019-12-10.

9 AM, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at SRWMD HQ in Live Oak, Florida is the Nestlé decision day.

Facebook event.

[Map: Active and Proposed Withdrawal Points]
Map: Active and Proposed Withdrawal Points
PDF

  1. Consideration of Agenda Item No. 20 – BCS Page 61 – Authorization to Deny Water Use Permit Renewal Application 2-041-218202-3, Seven Springs Water Company Project, Gilchrist County
    (Public comment on this item will be allowed at this time)

That agenda item says Seven Springs, but it’s for Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA).

Tired of cleaning up plastic bottles from our springs and rivers?

Want to end a Swiss company profiting by depleting our waters while paying almost nothing?

Want to remind SRWMD they have statutory authority to revoke this permit?

Come on down to 9225 CR 49. Live Oak, FL 32060. That’s east going out of town on US 90, turn right at the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) sign.

You don’t even have to wait for Tuesday. You can go ahead and file your own comment against.

Feel free to recommend they revisit the Nestlé permit for Madison Blue Spring, as well, especially now that we know there are waves of fecal bacteria contamination coming down the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers.

SRWMD staff recommend denial of this Ginnie Springs renewal water withdrawal permit. But staff recommended denial that back in 1995, when this permit was originally decided, and the SRWMD board approved it anyway.

[Actually,]

In a memo obtained by the St. Petersburg Times dated Nov. 15, 2002, “the water management district staff recommended reducing the amount of water Nestlé could draw under the permit it would obtain from 1.47-million gallons a day to 400,000 a day.” The spring’s flow had been reduced from 55-million gallons day to just 34 million gallons a day. The St. Petersburg Times reported: “ ˜The current drought has reduced the flow of Madison Blue Springs to record lows,’ Jon Dinges, director of resource management, wrote to the water management district’s governing board. “The drought has become severe since the permit was issued, thus requiring a reduction of the (average daily withdrawal) to ensure resource protection.”

But in January 2003 when it came before the regulators — all appointed by Jeb Bush — they refused to follow water staff recommendations after Nestlé threatened to reduce the size of the plant it would build in Madison if their water allotment was reduced from the Bruic allotment.

Enterprise Florida, the governor’s politically appointed business development agency supported Nestlé’s argument at the meeting….

So come make your voice heard, or send a comment in advance.

Details start on Continue reading

Waterkeepers Florida for home rule, against state pre-emption of environmental ordinances 2020-02-14

On Friday, February 14, 2020, Waterkeepers Florida (WKFL) passed this valentine in support of local environmental measures and in opposition to statewide pre-emption:

WKFL to take a position in opposition to state preemption of local governments’ ability to regulate local environmental protections, including, but not limited to, those related to Rights of Nature, single-use plastics or polystyrene, fertilizers, and sunscreens.

[Announce]
Announce

This motion was partly provoked by two bills in the Florida legislature right now that would pre-empt the rapidly growing Florida Rights of Nature movement. You can help stop the bad parts of those bills; follow the link.

But the motion goes beyond that, to other topics, and any pre-emption part of any bill.

Waterkeepers Florida represents all the Waterkeepers of Florida. Continue reading

Florida Sen. Bill Montford hosting Valdosta sewage public meeting in Madison, FL 2020-01-08

Update 2020-01-06: Well testing results, Madison County, FL, after Valdosta sewage spill 2020-01-03.

Florida state Senator Bill Montford has scheduled “a meeting concerning the Valdosta sewage spill issue” this Wednesday afternoon, the same day and before the meeting of the Florida Counties Rivers Task Force with the Valdosta City Council. We have some questions (see below). You probably do too, and you can ask them at one or both of these Wednesday public meetings.

When: 1 PM, Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Where: Madison County University of Florida
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Office
184 Northwest College Loop, Madison, FL 32340

Event: facebook

Table, Committee

I have confirmed that this Madison meeting is a public meeting. The venue is small, but that’s no reason for the public not to come.

Sen. Montford held a 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

Pothole Spring, Suwannee River, Dixie County, Florida 2019-11-13

SRWMD checked on Pothole Spring, found it normal, and asks everyone to send in pictures of how they have seen it. This is on the Suwannee River in Dixie County, Florida.

[Looking out to the Suwannee River]
Looking out to the Suwannee River
Photo by Marc Minno, Suwannee River Water Management District on November 13, 2019.

Received November 13, 2019 from Marc Minno, Water Resource Coordinator, Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD):

I visited Pothole Spring today with colleagues to see if there is some problem. The spring is located on the west side of the Suwannee River at the southern end of the Suwannee River Water Management District’s Booker Springs Tract in Dixie County, Florida. Following is a description from Springs of Florida, Continue reading

Santa Fe Gilchrist Blue Springs Hopping and Camping 2019-02-01-02 2020-02-01-02

Spring Hopping and overnight camping on the newest addition to the Suwannee Riverkeeper: the Santa Fe River. Includes Ginnie Springs, where Nestlé wants still more water, and you can still comment to SRWMD against Nestlé water withdrawals there and elsewhere.

One night of camping at Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park and two days of spring hopping on the Santa Fe River. We will meet at 10 a.m. at the Santa Fe Public Boat Ramp and drop kayaks and gear. Then we will shuttle to the takeout at Gilchrist County Santa Fe River Park on SR 47. We will explore the many beautiful springs along the river and stop at Gilchrist Blue Springs for overnight camping. State park rates apply. Campers will need to bring all their camping equipment and food in their kayaks. Sunday morning we will pack up and launch at 10 a.m. and continue downstream, exploring more springs along the way to the takeout.

Campers should reserve their sites at ReserveAmerica.com. If you want to share a site, leave a comment below. Eight people and two vehicles are allowed at each site.

Those who don’t want to camp are still welcomed to come for the day paddle for a total of 10 miles.

When: Gather 10 AM, launch 11 AM, Saturday, February 1, 2020
Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, Sunday, Febuary 2, 2020

Put In: River Rise Ramp @ US 27. From High Springs, travel north on US 27 crossing the Santa Fe River and the boat ramp is on the right, in Columbia County.

GPS: 29.844121, -82.6309

Camping: Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park first day.

Take Out: Santa Fe River County Park Ramp @ FL 47. From Ft. White, travel south on SR 47; cross the Santa Fe River and the boat ramp is on the left in the county park in Gilchrist County.

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) per day for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

Gilghrist Blue Springs
Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park.

Continue reading

Two thirds of SRWMD Board half there 2019-09-18

It was surprisingly interactive meeting, with the Board members repeatedly questioning staff about multiple projects, sometimes taking up points raised from the audience. One Board Member even stopped a project. Yet half the rump board was not visible, being on the telephone, and the Budget Public Hearing may or may not have been legal.

Nestlé Water Withdrawal Permits

At the rescheduled September SRWMD Board meeting, OSFR President Mike Roth questioned the validity of the permitting process for Nestlé’s proposed 1.2 million gallon per day water withdrawal from Ginnie Springs on the Santa Fe River, since the actual application is from Seven Springs, which proposes to sell the water to Nestlé, which is not a use authorized by Florida Statutes.

[OSFR President]
OSFR President

I seconded that, and added that the SRWMD Board should revisit Nestlé’s permit for water withdrawal at Madison Blue Springs on the Withlacoochee River, since Florida Statutes to authorize them to do that.

You can comment to SRWMD about Nestlé’s permits.

Photo: Jim Tatum for OSFR, of Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman
Photo: Jim Tatum for OSFR, of Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman

Afterwards, SRWMD’s Tom Mirti told me the $70,000 contract with SRWMD for Nestlé to support springs water quality monitoring is required by the Nestlé permit for Madison Blue Spring, even though it has to be negotiated separately. Apparently yet another open records request is needed.

Invisible and Missing Board Members

Continue reading