Well testing results, Madison County, FL, after Valdosta sewage spill 2020-01-03

The Madison County, Florida, Board of County Commissioners is meeting again this Wednesday morning before the two other meetings about Valdosta wastewater that same day.

When: 9 AM, January 8, 2020

Where: Courthouse Annex – Commission Meeting Room,
229 SW Pinckney Street, Madison, FL 32340

What: Regular Meeting, Madison County Board of County Commissioners

Speaking: Sign in for Petitions from the Public, 5 minutes each, at the beginning of the meeting.

The Madison BOCC has had three special called meetings about Valdosta wastewater, in which it allocated $5,000 for water well testing, declared a State of Emergency, extended it twice, and received a report of results of testing of private wells. Madison BOCC also also distributed information from Madison County Health Department about testing water wells and when and how to disinfect a water well.

Hamilton County, Florida BOCC and Health Department implemented the same measures. Will Valdosta pay for these extraordinary expenditures of money and resources by downstream counties?

What did Valdosta, Lowndes County, or Brooks County, Georgia, do? It seems that there are fewer people living along the Withlacoochee River in those counties than in these Florida counties, but some concern for those that do would seem appropriate.

In the agenda packet, on page 12, are the one-page MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL MEETING, FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2020:

[Well testing results]
Well testing results

New Business #1: Discussion and Possible Approval of Extension of Declaration of State of Emergency in Response to the City of Valdosta Sewage Spill into the Withlachoochee River. Health Department Director Kim Albritton gave a report on the testing of private wells. She stated that 170 wells have been tested. Of the 170 tested wells, 36 tested above the acceptable levels for fecal coliform bacteria and 2 tested above the acceptable levels for E. Coli bacteria. She said that residents have been provided with education material and instructions for disinfecting wells. She also mentioned that the Withlachoochee River tested above the acceptable levels for fecal coliform bacteria at one location on December 24th and 26th. Other than those dates and location, testing at the river has not produced results above the acceptable levels.

Ms. Albritton stated that she had a call today at 1:30 p.m. with the state Department of Health to discuss lifting the health advisory.

Commissioner Waldrep expressed his concern over lifting the county’s local state of emergency due to the rain expected over the next few days. After discussion about timing of the local state of emergency, Commissioner Martin presented a motion to approve Resolution 2020-01-03 to extend the local state of emergency for another seven-day period. Commissioner Moore seconded the motion and the board voted unanimously (3-0) to approve the motion.

There being no further business, the Chairman adjourned the meeting at 9:20 a.m.

A problem, of course, is that without well testings results from before the spill, it will be difficult to attribute any contamination to the spill.

The good news is that most wells were not contaminated.

From the Madison BOCC facebook page, What is disinfection?

[What is disinfection?]
What is disinfection?

And When should a well be disinfected?

[When should a well be disinfected?]
When should a well be disinfected?

This is Resolution 2019-12-21 declaring a State of Emergency:

[State of Emergency]
State of Emergency

Resolution # 2019-12-21

WHEREAS, the Madison County Board of Commissioners have met and considered the substantial likelihood of an emergency condition being caused by the Sewage Spill from Valdosta, Georgia on December 9, 2019 and the fact that there this isa likelihood of potential injury to the population, and potential damage to property beginning, December 21, 2019, therefore

BE IT RESOLVED, that Madison County, Florida is hereby declared to be in a state of emergency.

Due to the rapid escalation of this situation, and the requirement for rapid action, publication of notice of this special meeting of the Board of County Commissioners is not practical. Further, the Board of County Commissioners hereby exercises it’s authority and waives the proceedings and formalities required by law of a political subdivision as provided by Florida Statute s252.38.

While the state of emergency continues to exist, the County shall have the power and authority to carry on those activities set forth in FS s252.38, including but not limited to: appropriate and expend funds, make contracts, obtain and distribute equipment, materials and supplies for emergency management purposes, provide for the health and safety of persons and property, including emergency assistance to the victim of any emergency, and direct and coordinate the development of the emergency management plans and programs in accordance with the plans and policies set forth by the Federal and State Emergency Management agencies.

To appoint, employ, remove, or provide, with or without compensation, coordinators, rescue teams, fire and police personnel, and other emergency management workers;

To establish, as necessary, a primary and one or more secondary emergency operating centers to provide continuity of government and direction and control of emergency operations;

To assign and make available for duty the offices and agencies of Madison County, including the employees, the property or equipment thereof relating to firefighting, engineering, rescue, health, mdeical and related services for emergeney operation services, as the primary emergency management forces of the political subdivion for employment within or outside the political limits of the subdivision.

To request State assistance or invoke emergency related mutual-aid assistance by declaring a local state of emergency in the event of an emergency affecting only one political subdivision. The duration of this state of emergency declared locally is limited to seven _ 7 _ days; it may be extended as necessary, in seven-day increments.

By special order of the Madison County Board of County Commissioners on this _21st_ day of December, 2019.

By: [signed] Donald Waldrep

[signed] Billy Washington
Billy Washington, Ex Officio
Clerk of Circuit Court

Much more about this Valdosta wastewater spill is on the WWALS website:

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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