Awful: Knights Ferry, Nankin, Withlacoochee River 2020-02-17

Update 2020-02-20: Bad: Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River, to Dowling Park, Suwannee River 2020-02-19.

These Nankin plates are not what anyone wants to see:

[Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line 2020-02-17]
Photo: Suzy Hall, of WWALS E. coli test results for Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line 2020-02-17.

Suzy Hall filed Nankin Boat Ramp for Monday, February 17, 2020, as TNTC: Too Many To Count. Yes, that is a technical term, and you can see why: how many blue colonies with bubbles would you count?

Knights Ferry Boat Ramp wasn’t much better, at 8,933 cfu/100 mL. The Georgia Adopt-A-Stream high alert level is 1,000; see What do these numbers mean?. We have seen worse, namely the 39,000 Valdosta result at GA 133 on December 10, 2019.

You can help find out what’s in our waterways. And, finally, indirectly, there is some help from Valdosta.

[Awful 2020-02-17]
Awful 2020-02-17
The entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of test results from three Florida agencies, WWALS, Lowndes County, and Valdosta, is on the WWALS website.

I finally got a test result for that feeder creek that crosses US 84 east of Okapilco Creek and then joins with it downstream. At 66 cfu/100 mL, it’s very unlikely the dairy farm upstream can have caused these downstream numbers on the Withlacoochee River.

The Monday Valdosta results at US 84, GA 133, and US 41 are a bit messy, but nothing comparable to Knights Ferry or Nankin. Note my US 41 result is very similar to Valdosta’s. And my Hagan Bridge zero (0) is the level of E. coli we want to see: none.

These Monday WWALS results at Nankin and Knights Ferry are far worse than Lowndes County’s result a week earlier of 1,990 at Okapilco Creek downstream of US 84, or FDOH’s 770 and 517 at State Line and CR 150 the previous day.

[Farworse than last week]
Far worse than last week
The entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of test results from three Florida agencies, WWALS, Lowndes County, and Valdosta, is on the WWALS website.

What could cause numbers that high? The obvious suspect is the Quitman Land Application Site (LAS), just west of Okapilco Creek and south of US 84. Stay tuned.


You’ll notice some recent Valdosta results in these tables. Thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson for pointing out that Valdosta has started posting water quality results on their front page under Water Quality Data. The data I’ve used here is under that, as River Testing Data.

The Utilities Environmental Management Division is responsible for Water Quality Testing in the City of Valdosta. Regular analyses is performed on the water quality of local rivers, lakes, streams, and discharges from industries. Our lab analysts run a full spectrum of tests while maintaining strict Quality Assurance Quality Control (QAQC) standards. The City also uses third-party labs for several testing sites as well.

The testing data is listed in the table in order of river flow (North to South locations). North Valdosta Road and Highway 133 testing sites are north of the City of Valdosta WWTP outfall. Highway 84 testing site is South of the City of Valdosta WWTP outfall. Testing data is for December 2019 through current date. Graphs attached below are 2019 monthly averages.

(* indicates Lowndes County Testing Data)

[Early from 2019-12-03]
Early from 2019-12-03.
The source Valdosta PDF is on the WWALS website.

This is not all of Valdosta’s water quality data, since it does not include anything from Sugar Creek after Valdosta’s December 2019 record-largest raw sewage spill, and nothing from creeks or rivers in the Alapaha River Basin. But something is way better than nothing.

[Recent through 2020-02-17]
Recent through 2020-02-17

Here is a map for context.

[Tifton Gauge down Withlacoochee River to Suwannee River]
Tifton Gauge down Withlacoochee River to Suwannee River on the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

You Can Help

You can help WWALS test water quality by donating to our WWALS water quality testing program.

[Suzy with a Petrifilm]
Suzy Hall with a Petrifilm.
Each bacterial test costs $6 for Petrifilms alone.
WWALS is spending about $40 a day on Petrifilms after this Valdosta spill.

Much more about recent water quality is on the WWALS website.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

2 thoughts on “Awful: Knights Ferry, Nankin, Withlacoochee River 2020-02-17

  1. Loretta H Tennant

    When i feel i have the time, will do a site-wise time-series of CFU/100mL data against (air) Temperature at sampling… the little blips or noise in the data are apparent, also… looking at trends may be instructive.

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