Alert bacteria level at GA 133, Withlacoochee River, Friday 2020-07-24

Update 2020-07-30: Twomile Branch and Withlacoochee River 2020-07-28.

Valdosta reports very high fecal bacterial results for Friday at GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River: 1,410 cfu/100 mL E. coli and even higher for Fecal coliform. We don’t know what caused that: GA-EPD did not report any spills that day, and has not yet put up a new Sewage Spills Report for today. I am checking with the obvious suspects.

[GA 133 west of Valdosta, east of Troupville Boat Ramp]
GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River west of Valdosta, east of Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River.
On the Withlacoochee River, GA 133 is marked by the white circle, with the US 41 bridge at top right and the US 84 bridge towards the lower left, in this WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

Here is a chart of the data and recent rainfall. Note not much rain upstream on the Withlacoochee River. If the contamination came from upstream, it should have shown up first at US 41. Although conceivably it might have passed by US 41 on Thursday between samples.

For the complete WWALS composite chart of Georgia and Florida water quality results and rainfall, and other context, see:

One thing is for sure: whatever it was, it did not come from Brooks County.

Thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson for posting this new data this morning.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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2 thoughts on “Alert bacteria level at GA 133, Withlacoochee River, Friday 2020-07-24

  1. Diddi Phenis

    Most thankful to GA Power! So nice to hear that people are finally paying attention and that they CARE!
    Do not know the exact laws in FL for livestock and waterways (rivers) but I do know that livestock is not allowed in rivers,etc and must be kept a certain distance away. This is to help control/avoid pollution. I remember many years ago, paddling the Withlacoochee and seeing cows in the river. State was contacted and owners were made to take action against this ever occurring again. Perhaps State of FL DEP or Suwanee River Mgmt has more info regarding this and how effective the controls have been?
    Thank you to everyone for all you do!

    1. jsq Post author

      There’s a place on the Withlacoochee River not far into Florida where cows walk right down into the river.
      However, typically bacteria levels don’t go up just below that, so that’s probably not a big source of contamination.
      Downstream on the Suwannee River, we keep hearing of contaminated wells near Running Spring,
      and on the few occasions FDEP has tested below US 90 counts have sometimes gone high starting at Dowling Park.
      There are probably some sources in that stretch of the Suwannee River. -jsq

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