Tag Archives: Tift County

PR: Florida man wins Suwannee Riverkeeper kayak raffle drawing at Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, December 13, 2017 — People got kayak raffle tickets for three months at festivals from Alapaha, Georgia to Live Oak, Florida, and online, until the drawing at a Suwannee Riverkeeper outing Sunday at the top of the Suwannee River in the Okefenokee Swamp. The lucky winner of a kayak donated by Malibu Kayaks is Chris Newton from the Atlantic coast of Florida. “No way!” he said.

At Stephen C. Foster State Park, Fargo, Georgia, Gretchen Quarterman, Acting Executive Director for WWALS Watershed Coalition, said:

“These are all the tickets that we sold. And these are the ones that Shirley [Kokidko, WWALS board member] sold. These are the ones that came from Phil [Hubbard, WWALS board member of Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia]. These are the ones that came from Hulaween [Live Oak, Suwannee County, Florida]. These are the ones that came from Skillet Fest [Quitman, Brooks County, Georgia, suggested by WWALS member John Horton of Quitman and Suwannee, Dixie County, Florida] ….”

Gretchen Quarterman assembles the tickets at WWALS kayak raffle drawing 2017-12-10

WWALS board member Shirley Kokidko of Pearson, Atkinson County, Georgia, had the video camera at Continue reading

Third Regional Plan Update: SGRC in Tifton 2017-12-07

If you haven’t been to one, here’s another chance to get your input into the SGRC regional comprehensive plan.

When: 10AM to 12:30 PM, Thursday, December 7, 2017

Where: Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce,
100 Central Avenue, Tifton, GA 31793

What: 3rd Regional Plan Update Workshop

Specific Areas, Threatened regionally important resources
Page 19, SGRC Regional Plan Update Workbook

The notes in red look familiar.

Reminder received yesterday: Continue reading

Cow House Branch Lift Station Spill in Tifton, GA 2019 2017-09-11

Tifton spilled 277 times more sewage than Valdosta. Tifton Gazette, 20 September 2017, Power outage cause 250,000 gallon wastewater spill,

Street View, Golden Road Lift Station

TIFTON — There were 250,000 gallons of wastewater spillage due to the power outage cause by Hurricane Irma, according to Thomas Coker, water and wastewater superintendent.

The spillage occurred at Continue reading

Valdosta WWTP manned 24/7 with backup generators before Hurricane Irma 2017-09-09

Don’t spill, Valdosta. Don’t leak, Sabal Trail. Hurricane Irma is bad enough already.

Valdosta announced its WWTP would be “manned around the clock”, so I called down there before 8AM this Saturday morning, and somebody did answer immediately. I told him as Suwannee Riverkeeper I was concerned for people downstream who don’t want any spills during the upcoming rains, so I was glad to see it was true they were there. I asked him if they had backup generators. He said yes. Of course, that doesn’t handle every manhole cover. We shall see. Don’t spill, Valdosta! (Or Lowndes County, or Tifton, or anybody else.)

NOAA NHC Rain Prediction, Hurricane Irma, 9 Sep 2017
Currently expecting somewhere between 4 and 10 inches of rain on Valdosta. Map from National Hurricane Center, 2017-09-09 8AM.

City of Valdosta, PR, 8 September 2017, Valdosta-Lowndes County Hurricane Irma Update, Continue reading

Videos: Coal Ash meeting in Valdosta @ WWALS 2017-03-01

The Georgia legislature did nothing but appoint a study committee, but you can see why they should do more, in these WWALS videos of the coal ash meeting in Valdosta that was organized by Rev. Deacon Leeann Culbreath of Georgia Interfaith Power & Light (GIPL). Thanks to Rev. Floyd Rose for the venue at Academy of Excellence on Lee Street.

The Valdosta Daily Times covered this meeting, but did not mention the local landfill, which was a major topic of my presentation, as you can see in my slides. The Mayor of Valdosta disclaims any control over that landfill and the Lowndes County Commission expressed no interest. Nevermind both city and county governments have Continue reading

South Georgia meetings against coal ash in Tifton and Valdosta

Come learn about coal ash and bills in the Georgia legislature right now. Pile of coal ash Rev. Deacon Leeann Culbreath of Georgia Interfaith Power & Light (GIPL) has organized two meetings, in Tifton and Valdosta. WWALS will be speaking at each of these meetings.

When, Where, and Who

Continue reading

South Georgia state legislators and coal ash bills

Update 2017-02-23: Added contact information

Bills are before the Georgia legislature right now about disposing of leaking pools of toxic coal ash, and two members of the relevant committee are in south Georgia. Coal ash and landfills in Suwannee River Basin Five landfills in south Georgia already received coal ash from TVA several years ago, including the landfill in Lowndes County, which also received coal ash from Florida.

In south Georgia,

As you can see by this interactive map, Sam Watson’s District 172 includes the Tifton-Omega/Eldorado Rd landfill in Tift County, which is also in the Georgia Senate District 13 of Greg Kirk. Sen. Kirk’s district also has Crisp Co-US 41S Site 2 (Ph 4&5) MSWL (Crisp County) and Plant Crisp (Crisp County Power Commission) – Ash Pond, Warwick, Crisp County.

In Rep. Corbett’s District 174 are two landfills: Camden Co-SR110 MSWL (Camden County), and Chesser Island Road Landfill, Inc. MSWL (Charlton County). The Chesser Island Road Landfill is one of only six in the state that had told GA-EPD two weeks ago that it does plan to accept coal ash.

The Camden County landfill is also in GA Senate District 3, William T. Ligon, Jr. (Brunswick). The Charlton County landfill is also in GA Senate District 7, Tyler Harper, who also in his district Atkinson Co – SR 50 MSWL (Atkinson County) and Fitzgerald, Kiochee Church Rd, Ph.2 (Ben Hill County).

Rep. Corbett also represents the southeast part of Lowndes County, in which just outside Corbett’s district in Amy Carter’s District 175 is Advanced Disposal Services’ Evergreen Landfill, Inc., the one that has accepted coal ash before from TVA and JEA. That Lowndes County landfill is also in GA Senate District 8, Ellis Black. Sen. Black’s district also includes the Cook County Taylor Road landfill, which is also in House District 170, Penny Houston.

Only three landfills (and no coal ash ponds) are actually in WWALS watersheds (the Suwannee River Basin) in Georgia. They are: the Tifton-Omega/Eldorado Rd landfill in Tift County, Cook County Taylor Road landfill, and Advanced Disposal Services’ Evergreen Landfill, Inc. in Lowndes County. However, legislative districting leaves the same state legislators responsible for those landfills also responsible for others.

Here is contact information for all Georgia state legislators in the Suwannee River Basin:

Coal ash and landfills in Suwannee River Basin

The Bills

Three bills have been introduced this session to protect our communities from coal waste pollution:
  • HB 387 requires utilities to get the proper permits before discharging coal ash wastewater into Georgia’s waterways;
  • HB 388 ensures that landfills receiving coal ash have a good plan and take adequate precautions to prevent coal ash contamination;
  • SB 165 ensures that anyone who produces coal ash remains liable for that ash forever and that Georgians can take action against out of state producers if their water and communities are polluted

In order for these bills to pass this year, they must make it out of their respective chambers (House for HB 387/HB 388 and Senate for SB 165) by Crossover Day, March 3.

Disposing of Coal Ash

For why coal ash is a problem, see this fact sheet by Georgia Water Coalition (GWC).

It is the position of GWC, of which WWALS is a member, that these bills are what is needed. WWALS is a partner of GWC and agrees that these bills are better than the current situation. WWALS has the further position that we’d prefer no more coal ash in any landfills in our watersheds, and that those companies that produced this toxic waste be responsible for disposing of it safely on their own land at their own expense.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

SRWMD says FDEP has confirmed river contamination possibly from Valdosta sewage 2017-01-26

Enteric bacteria have been confirmed in the Withlacoochee River, and in the Suwannee River downstream of the confluence, USGS Streamer say SRWMD and FDEP, while there’s still no update on the City of Valdosta website about the 2.2 million gallons of sewage Valdosta leaked into the Withlacoochee River and didn’t tell the public about for two days.

Valdosta wasn’t the only city to spill into the Withlacoochee during the recent storms. Tifton did, too, but Valdosta’s spill was more than 230 times bigger than Tifton’s. And city sewage is not the only source of contamination in the rivers: wildlife, agricultural animals, and septic tanks add to it. Baseline monitoring would help disentangle which is which. But nobody is going to believe this contamination this time came from any place but Valdosta.

SRWMD, News Flash, 2017-01-26 (no time given), Health Officials Confirm Wastewater Contamination In The Withlacoochee And Suwannee Rivers,

Madison, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Hamilton, Madison and Suwannee today issued a joint health advisory extending the previous advisory for the Withlacoochee River to include a portion of the Suwannee River. The health advisory is now in effect for residents and visitors on the Withlachoochee River and on a portion of the Suwannee River from the point where the two rivers meet, downstream along the border of Madison and Suwannee County to the Lafayette County line just above Dowling Park. The river waters are not safe for contact during recreational use at this time.

Test results from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection water sampling in the area have confirmed high levels of enteric bacteria possibly due to a large spill of untreated sewage reported by the City of Valdosta, Georgia.

People are urged to avoid contact with water in the Withlacoochee River and the impacted areas of the Suwannee River. Water contaminated with wastewater overflow presents several health risks to humans. Untreated human sewage with microbes can cause gastrointestinal issues, disease, infections or rashes.

Anyone who comes in contact with the river water should wash thoroughly, especially hands, and before eating and drinking. Children and older adults, as well as people with weakened immune systems, are particularly vulnerable to disease so every precaution should be taken to avoid contact with river water.

Additional sampling will take place to determine when the river water is safe for recreational use.

Individuals with questions about the spillage should contact Valdosta Environmental Manager Scott Fowler at 229-259-3592 or by email at sfowler@valdostacity.com.

Individual with questions for Florida DEP should contact wastewater coordinator Jim Mayer at the NE District office in Jacksonville at 904-256-1700.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Tifton wastewater spill into the New River

Valdosta wasn’t the only city to spill sewage in the recent storms, but Tifton’s spill was tiny by comparison.

Downstream from Tifton Regional Wastewater Treatment Complex (TRE) Following up a rumor, I called the city of Tifton and eventually got to Tommy Coker, Wastewater Superintendent, Tifton Regional Waste Water Treatment Complex (TRE). You won’t find him listed on Tifton’s website, because he works for the private contractor that runs TRE: ESG Operations, Inc. That arrangement was announced in November 2012.

Anyway, Tommy Coker says they did have a spill, of 9,500 gallons, into a storm drain inside the TRE site, that goes into the New River. It started Sunday January 22nd and stopped about midnight Monday January 23rd, 2017.

The TRE is located at 80 Old Brookfield Rd W, Tifton, GA 31794, which is east of Tifton on US 82 towards Alapaha and Willacoochee, GA.

The New River flows into the Withlacoochee River east of Adel and south of Nashville, between Cook and Berrien Counties, GA. The Withlacoochee forms the rest of the border of those two counties, then flows through Lowndes County past Valdosta and its WWTP, then forms the border of Brooks and Lowndes County, Georgia, and Madison and Hamilton County, Florida, until it joins the Suwannee River, which runs on along Suwannee County and others down to the Gulf.

So Valdosta was not the only city to have a spill during the recent storms, but Valdosta’s 2.2 million gallon leak was more than 230 times bigger than Tifton’s spill.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Videos, Valdosta Wastewater and Flood Prevention 2016-10-27

The crowd was very attentive to every word about wastewater and flood prevention, with officials from the City of Valdosta presenting in the first of a new quarterly WWALS speaker series. If you didn’t come, you can see and hear in these videos Henry Hicks about wastewater, Emily Davenport about flood prevention, Tim Carroll about solar power, and Sementha Mathews about how to get more information from Valdosta. WWALS Treasurer and acting Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman opened and closed the meeting.

Each talk had many small but important stories, so we will probably blog more posts about those. Meanwhile, here are the videos: see for yourself! Continue reading