Tag Archives: Suwannee River Basin

Cost of reclassifying Georgia rivers from Fishing to Recreational in Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards

Recently I was asked if there would be water monitoring costs to cities or counties because of upgrading our main Suwannee River Basin waters in Georgia from Fishing to Recreational, as we have requested in Georgia’s Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards. Here’s the answer, as best I could determine. And how you can help. For those who wonder why upgrade from Fishing to Recreational, please see the previous blog post.

[Satellite Map]
WWALS Satellite Map of landing in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia

Specifically the question was: would reclassifying rivers or swamp from Fishing to Recreational cause cities or counties to have to spend more money on water quality monitoring, specifically if a wastewater treatment plant had a spill, more money on water quality sampling afterwards?

The brief answer is: probably not.

Recently, I asked James A. Capp, Chief, Watershed Protection Branch, EPD. He said that for that case, there should be no change, because sampling after a spill is determined mostly by the number of gallons spilled.

Let me use some NPDES permits I have on hand to illustrate.

Here is the language in NPDES Permit No. GA0020222 for Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, first about number of gallons, then about the required sampling. Continue reading

Last year’s winner Laura D’Alisera headlines Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Last year, Laura D’Alisera of Jacksonville, Florida, won both the $50 prize for best song from outside the Suwannee River Basin, and the $300 First Prize for best song. This year, she’s on the committee that selected the seven finalists who will play for the three judges and you this Saturday, August 24, 2019. But first, Laura and Joe Smothers will entertain you, so come on down, 1-5 PM, to The Salty Sanpper, 1405 Gornto Road, Valdosta, GA, where radio personality Chris Beckham will be our M.C.

Laura D'Alisera (Sara Jay)
Photo: Sara Jay, of Laura D’Alisera winning the First Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest last year (2018).

Laura said her song is Continue reading

One Week to Second Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Today is one week from hearing seven finalists play for three judges and you, in the Second Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, at The Salty Snapper in Valdosta, GA, 1-5PM, Saturday, August 24, 2019.

Mike Tappan playing Capt' Curries Blues

Radio personality Chris Beckham will M.C. Headliners Joe Smothers and last year’s $300 First Prize Winner Laura D’Alisera will play before the contestants. There will be copious snacks, a silent auction, and a kayak raffle, and yes, speakers about the WWALS advocacy for which this is a benefit concert.

Here’s last year’s winner in the Blues genre, as well as the winner of the $50 prize for best finalist from within the Suwannee River Basin, Mike Tappan of Valdosta, playing Capt. Curries Blues.

Continue reading

Excluding groundwater makes no sense above the Florida Aquifer –WWALS to EPA 2019-04-15

Approved at the Sunday WWALS board meeting and filed last night via regulations.gov as PDF.


April 15, 2019

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
EPA Docket Center
Office of Water Docket
Mail Code 28221T
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460

Re: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0149,
       Revised Definition of Waters of United States

To Whom it May Concern:

WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS), also known as Suwannee Riverkeeper, submits the following comments on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) proposed rule entitled “Revised Definition of Waters of United States,” 84 Federal Register 4154-01 (February 14, 2019) (hereinafter “Proposed Rule”).

In addition to supporting the comments of Waterkeeper Alliance and the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), WWALS adds these comments on groundwater.

The Proposed Rule’s categorical exclusion of groundwater makes no sense here above the Floridan Aquifer where surface water and groundwater constantly interchange, and pollutants travelling through groundwater are a frequent source of health, environmental, and economic problems.

[2019-04-15--WWALS-to-EPA-0001]
2019-04-15–WWALS-to-EPA-0001

This proposed exclusion of groundwater is called out repeatedly in the Proposed Rule, starting with this:

Continue reading

Help upgrade our Suwannee River Basins in Georgia

We asked the state of Georgia to upgrede our main Suwannee River Basin rivers (and some lakes and swamps) from their current lowest water quality classification as Fishing to what they really are: Recreational Use. You can help!

[Georgia landings in Suwannee River Basin]

Every three years, federal law requires each state to review its water quality standards. 2019 is such a year for Georgia, so the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) is conducting a Triennial Review. The request WWALS sent to GA-EPD, background, and their response are all on the WWALS website. Our request was rather long, with 23 pages asking for reclassification of the Suwannee River, the Okefenokee Swamp, the Alapaha River, Lake Irma, Banks Lake, Grand Bay, the Withlacoochee River, the Little River, and Reed Bingham State Park Lake, all from Fishing to Recreational Use. The WWALS cover letter is included at the end of this blog post. For the rest, see the WWALS website.

The response thus far from GA-EPD has some good news: Continue reading

Public Health Assessment of Rice Rail Yard, Waycross, GA 2018-06-07

The Georgia Department of Health published many positive downwards trends in contaminants, and some big “cannot conclude”s last summer, when it released through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) a Public Health Assessment, CSX TRANSPORTATION — RAIL YARD SITE, WAYCROSS, WARE COUNTY, GEORGIA.

Cover, Pages

Most of the graphs show downward trends, like this one, of Trichloroethene (TCE), the substance whose detection seems to have kicked off all this work.

TCE Downward trend, Pages

On page 39, the report says about data collected by Silent Disaster: Continue reading

Spills reported to GA-EPD Atlanta, 2018-11-13 through 2018-12-03

Thanks again to GA-EPD Atlanta for rapid response to a request for an update on spills reported to them. They note that some spills due to the recent rains, including Valdosta’s weekend multi-million-gallon spill, have not yet been reported to Atlanta.

This update does include a spill of raw sewage by the city of Quitman. I wonder, though, was it really 2 gallons? Or did they mean in units of thousands or millions? Also, Quitman is in the Suwannee River Basin, not the Ochlockonee River Basin.

Last two weeks, Spreadsheet
The past two weeks extracted from the GA-EPD update, sorted by begin date, and with the River Basin column shifted left for visibility.

Posting this data enables some debugging of the data such as Continue reading

Low water in Suwannee River Basin with Hurricane Michael 2018-10-11

Thursday morning, the day after Hurricane Michael passed by to the west and north of the Suwannee River Basin, only Gopher River and the New River gauge near Lake Butler were in Action Stage.

Gulf to Atlantic, After Gauges

Does a place that nearly floods even when a hurricane is a hundred miles west of it seem like a good location for the HPS II phosphate mine, in Union and Bradford Counties, Florida ? Continue reading

Video: Emmett Carlisle singing Suwannee Harmmony at SuwRK Songwriting Contest

Emmett Carlisle, from Gainesville, Florida, just outside the Suwannee River Basin, sang “Suwannee Harmony,” and won a prize for Best Florida Folk, at the First Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, Saturday, June 23, 2018, at the Salty Snapper, Valdosta, GA.

Emmett Carlisle
Emmett Carlisle (Bret Wagenhorst)

As he sang, “just like the river, together we flow.”

Here’s the video: Continue reading

Video: Hollin Gammage singing Little River at SuwRK Songwriting Contest

Hollin Gammage, from McMinnville, Tennessee, outside the Suwannee River Basin, sang “Little River,” and won a prize for Best Americana, at the First Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, Saturday, June 23, 2018, at the Salty Snapper, Valdosta, GA.

Hollin Gammage
Hollin Gammage (photo by Bret Wagenhorst)

I think we’ve all been “Half crazy til I hit the water.”

Here’s the video: Continue reading