Filthy Crooked Creek, clean Okapilco Creek upstream 2020-03-20

Update 2020-03-26: Cleaner downstream with no rain 2020-03-24.

Two days after rain, Crooked Creek was still filthy Friday. Some of that probably got into the Withlacoochee River. WWALS continues testing. You can help.

[Too high]
Too high
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of all known data sources see

This is in Brooks County, Georgia.

[Crooked Creek @ Monument Church Road]
Crooked Creek @ Monument Church Road

Crooked Creek at Monument Church Road was bad enough, 1,366 cfu/100 mL E. coli, which is above the Georgia Adopt-A Stream alert level of 1,000. See also what do these numbers mean?

[Crooked Cr @ MCR]
Crooked Cr @ MCR

The stench was mostly coming from the ditch west of the creek.

[Ditch running into Crooked Creek]
Ditch running into Crooked Creek

This is what’s uphill on that ditch.

[Cows in pasture]
Cows in pasture

A bit more cheery along Patrick Road to the next stop was this turkey running alongside the road. It’s hard to see, but it’s in the center of the picture, marked by a blue ellipse.

[Turkey running alongside Patrick Road]
Turkey running alongside Patrick Road

This looks like a nice, pleasant, woodland creek.

[Crooked Creek @ Devane Road]
Crooked Creek @ Devane Road

But the results there were even worse, 7,200 cfu/100 mL. That’s high enough that the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) would call it Too Numerous To Count (TNTC). WWALS tries to count up to at least this high. Either way, you don’t want to get that on you.

[Crooked Cr @ Devane Rd.]
Crooked Cr @ Devane Rd.

Here’s why we call it Crooked Creek. Just south across US 84 from Devane Road is Crooked Creek Lane.

[Crooked Creek Lane]
Crooked Creek Lane

Both Okapilco Creek tests, at GA 76 northeast of Quitman, and at US 84 due east of Quitman, got 66 cfu/100 mL, which is well below the 126 limit for longterm averages. We’d prefer zero (0), but this is not bad.

[All plates]
All plates

How can those Okapilco Creek results be so low if Crooked Creek runs into Okapilco Creek?

Crooked Creek in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

Because the Crooked Creek Confluence with Okapilco Creek is downstream of US 84. Lowndes County and Valdosta have access to a test site downstream of there and still upstream of the Withlacoochee River, but WWALS does not.

As you can see in the chart at the top of this blog post, Valdosta got 470 at that downstream Okapilco Creek site on Monday, March 16, and 320 on Wednesday. That Monday count is highter than the 410 limit for one-time samples. That Wednesday count is higher than the 126 long-term average limit.

On Wednesday Valdosta got 2,100 at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River, but still low green results downstream.

On Thursday, Madison Health still got green results from State Line Boat Ramp downstream into Florida, but two to three times as high as on Tuesday.

We look forward to seeing Valdosta results for Friday, March 20, 2020. We suspect they will be higher than for Wednesday.

Here’s a WWALS video playlist of me explaining these results.

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman explaining water quality results for
Filthy Crooked Creek, clean Okapilco Creek upstream 2020-03-20
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS),
at the WWALS booth in the woods, 2020-03-21.

You Can Help

Please continue to contact your local and state elected

officials in Florida and Georgia to ask for funding and personnel for frequent (several times a week) testing at closely-spaced stations along all our rivers, with timely online publication, plus water well testing.

You can help WWALS test water quality by donating to our WWALS water quality testing program. Or maybe you know a bank or other source of larger financial support.

[Suzy with a Petrifilm]
Suzy Hall with a Petrifilm.
Each bacterial test costs $6 for Petrifilms alone or about $8 total per test.

Maybe you want to get trained and help test; if so, follow this link.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

2 thoughts on “Filthy Crooked Creek, clean Okapilco Creek upstream 2020-03-20

  1. Diddi Phenis

    We so appreciate all you do and that you provide us with important information.
    Is a determination of the cause of the Crooked Creek and Knights Ferry pollution been determined? If so, what is it and what can be done to stop it?

    1. jsq Post author

      We are working on it. It’s very likely agriculture, which makes the fixes difficult and slow. We are also frustrated that it’s taking so long, but please be patient. If you’d like to help, you can contribute to the WWALS water quality testing program, or encourage others to do so. -jsq

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