High, fast, and dirty: Withlacoochee River, Okapilco and Crooked Creeks 2020-04-25

WWALS testers Conn and Trudy Cole noted for these four Saturday test stations: “All of these were high and flowing fast.” Also dirty. You can help WWALS buy supplies for water quality testing.

[All four dirty]
All four dirty

You don’t even have to be a trained tester to tell none of those Petrifilms looks good, and that bottom row is by far the worst.

cfu/100 mL
E. coli
444 Little River @ GA 76 (Cook County Boat Ramp)
1,200 Withlacoochee River @ US 84
900 Okapilco Creek @ US 84
TNTC Crooked Creek @ Devane Road

All four locations were above the 410 single-sample limit, and two were above the 1,000 alert limit.

As expected, every location tested was filthy. Crooked Creek at Devane Road was so much higher that it could only be recorded as Too Many To Count (TNTC). That’s in the left middle of this map, where the bridge is shown between Quitman and US 84 Landing. But with all those other high results, that’s not the only source of contamination.

[GA 76 to FL 6]
GA 76 to FL 6
In the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

Valdosta’s upstream results weren’t bad Wednesday at GA 133 and US 84 on the Withlacoochee River, and even on Okapilco Creek (exactly where is still under discussion). Madison Health’s downstream results Thursday were quite good, at the state line, CR 150 (Sullivan Launch) and FL 6 (Madison Blue Spring).

But it also rained cats and dogs and tornados Thursday. The resulting contamination is clearly shown by these Saturday WWALS tests.

[Rain washed something into the waterways]
Rain washed something into the waterways
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida data, see wwals.net/issues/testing/.
See also What do these numbers mean?.

Nobody tested downstream of US 84 on the Withlacoochee River over the weekend, but from the Cole’s results, we can guess that Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps were pretty bad, and probably CR 150 and FL 6, as well. We’ll probably see Valdosta’s Friday results tomorrow or Wednesday.

Yes, we have a pretty good idea where it’s coming from, and we are talking to relevant organizations. Please be patient. Because it’s agriculture, there are no quick fixes.

Remember, you can help WWALS buy supplies for water quality testing.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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