Good water quality, Withlacoochee and Alapaha, but recent rains may change that 2020-06-22

The most recent water quality data we have looks good, for both the Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers, in Georgia and Florida.

But it’s from Monday, June 22, 2020, and there was significant rain on Okapilco Creek Tuesday and Wednesday in Brooks County, and more upstream at Skipper Bridge in Lowndes County, Georgia, on the Withlacoochee River. So conditions may change.

[Looks good, but...]
Looks good, but…
For context and links to the WWALS composite spreadsheet and all its sources, see

Here are the recent rain records.

[Rain the last few days may change that]
Rain the last few days may change that

So right now all eight Withlacoochee River “beaches” remain green on Swim Guide. But they may not be once we see more recent test results.

[Swim Guide Withlacoochee green]
Swim Guide Withlacoochee green

In our previous post, because Suzy Hall for WWALS on Sunday, June 14, 2020, got 100 cfu/100 mL E. coli at Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps, below the 126 longterm average limit, and Valdosta had gotten similarly low results at US 84 and upstream, we interpolated that Knights Ferry should also be good that Sunday.

Well, we still don’t know about Knights Ferry that Sunday, but Valdosta got 580 for Nankin on Monday, June 15, 2020, which is well above the 410 one-time result limit. Evidently something was still coming down Okapilco Creek from the upstream rains the preceding Friday. It’s just as well our yellow Caution signs were still up at Nankin and State Line.

[Knights and Nankin not what we expected Monday week]
Knights and Nankin not what we expected Monday week

Here are those whole twelve days on one chart. Click on it to see a bigger version.

[Twelve days]
Twelve days

Alapaha River

We also have a few recent results for the Alapaha River.

[Alapaha River good now]
Alapaha River good now

New WWALS tester Renee Kirkland sampled at Mayday Landing at Howell Road, due east of Valdosta towards Stockton, in Echols County, Georgia, on the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT).

[#1 Mayday]
#1 Mayday

These PetriFilms were an interesting interpretation exercise for the whole Testing Committee, because while there are plenty of colonies with bubbles, none of them are blue. And to indicate E. coli, they must be blue. So despite a possible first interpretation, each of these three plates show zero colonies, so the total reading is also 0 cfu/100 mL. Can’t get better than that.

Suzy Hall tested for WWALS at Sasser Landing, near Jennings, Florida.

[Sasser Sample]
Sasser Sample

She got 33 cfu/100 mL, which is also very good.

[Sasser Plates]
Sasser Plates

Probably we should also add rainfall on the Alapaha River to the WWALS composite spreadsheet. However, thus far, our spot checks have indicated E. coli does not seem to go up on the Alapaha after rains. Presumably this is because there are no cities on the Alapaha River, and also no significant animal agriculture.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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