Contamination at Running Springs, Suwannee River, near Mayo, FL 2020-04-28

WWALS member Patterson Wall reported Tuesday: “River looks muddy here and there is a strange foam washing up on the bank. It looked this way when the first big wave of sewage sludge passed by.”

[Brown water with foam]
Brown water with foam

Running Springs is a bit downstream of the Hal W. Adams Bridge between Luraville and Mayo, and downstream from Dowling Park, as well as from the Pilgrim’s Pride chicken plant outflow pipe into the Suwannee River. It’s more than 34 river miles down the Suwannee River from the Withlacoochee River Confluence, and that is almost 28 miles downstream from the GA-FL line, which is in turn about 24 river and creek miles downstream from Quitman, GA (86 total) or about 38 river miles downstream from Valdosta (100 total).

[Cook County Boat Ramp to Running Springs]
Cook County Boat Ramp (top left) to Running Springs (lower right)
in WWALS map of all public launches and Boat Ramps in the Suwannee River Basin.

Which is not to say that something from Georgia could not have reached that far. We know that in early March one episode went all the way down the Suwannee to the Gulf.

[2020-03-01 Suwannee river downstream]
2020-03-01 Suwannee river downstream
For context, see

However, we have also previously seen spikes in water quality tests at Dowling Park and the Hal W. Adams Bridge, which make me wonder where they may be sources of contamination on the Suwannee River downstream from the Withlacoochee.

What we do know is something is repeatedly getting into the Suwannee River at Running Springs. It would be good to find out what, from where, so somebody can do something about it.

If the state of Florida had continued testing downstream, we might know. and make it a regular thing, at least weekly. Valdosta, Georgia, is testing three times a week all the way to the state line. The state of Florida can do the rest down to the Gulf.

You can ask your elected and appointed officials to restart that testing

And yes, WWALS continues testing upstream and we are talking to some of the likely sources. Those are agriculture, so it will take time

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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