It’s a Florida Health Department advisory of possible bacterial contamination, so I have set the four Florida Swim Guide “beaches” to red: Sullivan Launch, Florida Campsites, Madison Blue Spring, and Madison Ramp. However, since the advisory only says “Elevated indicators of fecal bacteria” without saying what those indicators are, and I can find no actual data, I have left the Georgia “beaches” green for now: US 84 Landing and Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps.
Here’s the advisory, received today at 4:38 PM.
Until further information is known regarding possible bacterial contamination of the river, people in the area are urged to take precautions when in contact with the Withlacoochee River. The Florida Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Protection are conducting water sampling.
Indeed, little seems to be known.
I can only guess Madison and Hamilton Health Departments are concerned by all that rain upstream for the past week. That does usually wash E. coli into the Withlacoochee River.
The most recent results published by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) are for Thursday a week ago, July 2, and they were very good.
The most recent State Line result is the WWALS very good 33 cfu/100 mL E. coli from last Friday, July 3.
The most recent results from Valdosta are from Monday, July 6, only as far downstream as US 84, which was a good result. But notice Valdosta got a too-high 540 at US 41 (North Valdosta Road) back on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, and for that same day very high results on Okapilco Creek @ US 84. Nobody knew about either of those Valdosta results before the July 4 weekend, because Valdosta did not publish them until this week.
WWALS does have samples incubating that should be ready tomorrow for Crooked Creek in Brooks County, Georgia, which leads to Okapilco Creek and to the Withlacoochee River upstream of Knights Ferry Boat Ramp.
I was mistaken about the WWALS samples for Crooked Creek: those are being collected today (Friday), along with some others today and tomorrow (Saturday).
WWALS testers will collect river samples tomorrow, and I won’t be surprised if they’re high in E. coli.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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