Update 2020-10-02: Health Advisory, Withlacoochee River, State Line 2020-10-02.
Mostly all clear on the Withlacoochee River in a bunch of data Valdosta and FDEP posted recently, except a bad reading at Knights Ferry Friday a week ago, and yet again a problem at GA 133 this past Monday.
The latest (Wednesday by Valdosta and Thursday by Madison Health) indicates good quality for this weekend. Since there has been hardly any rain to wash anything into the river, all the WWALS Withlacoochee River “beaches” remain green on Swim Guide.
Happy boating, so far as we can see!
Valdosta’s new data goes back two and a half weeks downstream, and FDEP filled in Tuesday a week ago as well as this Tuesday and Thursday.
That long chart is hard to read, so let’s take it a week at a time.
Two weekends ago, despite significant rain on or near Okapilco Creek on Friday, September 11 and Sunday, September 13, through Wednesday, September 16, none of the tested locations had E. coli readings above the one-time sample limit of 410 cfu/100 mL. Sure, a bunch of them were higher that the average limit of 126, but that’s not unusual, and while not great, probably not much of a health problem.
But what about those heavier rains on Wednesday, September 16? Yes, the 540 at Knights Ferry for Friday, September 18 seems to indicate those rains washed something down Okapilco Creek into the Withlacoochee River.
The 520 at US 84 on Okapilco Creek is maybe some of that rain from up at Moultrie still washing things down, or maybe there were rains that didn’t show up on the gauges.
Last weekend there were no significant recorded rains, yet once again GA 133 was over the 410 single-sample limit. Plus US 41 showed up just barely under that limit. This is not going to alleviate suspicions of dumping into the Withlacoochee River. Yes, valdosta and Lowndes County say it’s not them, but there are plenty of other possibilities.
On the map, US 41 is at the top-center kayak icon. Downstream, GA 133 is the bridge marker just east of Troupville Boat Ramp. Okapilco Creek is visible on the left coming in from the west where the Withlacoochee River has a big bend over that way.
The Florida sampling locations are at State Line, CR 150 near Sullivan Launch, and FL 6 just above Madison Blue Spring.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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