Testing One Mile Branch after Sewage Spill 2019-06-24

Pretty clean at the bottom of Vallotton Park (33.3 cfu/100 ml), but rather dirty at the top of Drexel Park (533 cfu/100 ml), on Onemile Branch, with the site of last week’s FOG sewage spill in between; that’s what WWALS water quality testers Sara Squires Jones and Scotti Jay found Monday. These numbers are for the disease-causing bacteria E. coli. The state limit is 200 colony-forming units per 100 mililiters of water (cfu/100 ml). That 533 reading is still below the state’s 1000 limit for real alarm, but it’s still not good.

[#1: 6 colonies]
Downstream #1: 6 colonies

This map shows in red the spill location on Ashley Street near La Jalisco Supermercado, with the testing locations in blue, at North Lee Street near Mr. B’s IGA at Vallotton Park, and at Williams Street at the east end of Drexel Park.

[Spill and testing locations]
Map: Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT), with added Spill and testing locations.

That first plate above was one of the three downstream. This is one of the three upstream, and you can see it is cleaner.

[#1: 1 colony]
#1: 1 colony

Only the blue dots with bubbles count; this is one reason training is necessary for Georgia Adopt-A-Stream water quality testing.

Sara Jay, Gretchen Quarterman, Julie Shutters, jsqs hats, Scotti Jay, Testing Training
Photo: John S. Quarterman, of Sara Jay, Gretchen Quarterman, Julie Shutters, jsq’s hats, and Scotti Jay, at Georgia Adopt-A-Stream water quality testing training, 2019-04-27.

You may wonder, was the bacterial contamination in Onemile Branch in Drexel Park caused by last week’s sewage spill? We don’t know. We have seen bad water quality in Drexel Park before, during Azalea Festival, 2019-03-10. Also, that spill being almost a week earlier, anything that got into the creek from it might have washed out by now.

But something is getting into Drexel Park. We will do further testing to follow up.

And I’m filing an open records request with Valdosta to get whatever testing they’ve done, for this spill Valdosta Utilities declared not a spill (because it said caused by Fats, Oils, and Greases, or FOG), and Valdosta never reported it to the state of Georgia.

Pictures of the rest of the Petrifilm plates and of the completed test forms are on the WWALS website.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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