Bad Knights Ferry and Nankin, Christmas Day, Withlacoochee River 2020-12-25

Update 2020-12-29: Bad Nankin, Withlacoochee River 2020-12-28.

Merry Christmas, although this isn’t a preseent anybody would want. Michael and Jacob Bachrach tested Friday after Thursday’s rains, and got really bad results at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp and bad enough at Nankin on the Withlacoochee River. State Line Boat Ramp has probably gotten the contamination washed down there by now, and into Florida.

Meanwhile, last we heard from Valdosta, both US 41 and GA 133 had bad results for Monday after rain last Sunday.

We do have some good results from the Suwannee and Alapaha Rivers from before the Thursday rain. Since there is much less manure upstream on those rivers, chances are they stayed cleaner after the storm, but we have no more recent test results for those.

[Bad water quality, Withlacoochee River]
Bad water quality, Withlacoochee River

The Bachrachs did try to count the E. coli colonies on the Knights Ferry plates, and the result would have been more than 8,000 cfu/100 mL, way above the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream alert limit of 1,000. Yet when the plate background turns purple like that, AAS says to call it TNTC for Too Many to Count. I’d avoid that water.


It’s likely some of this contamination came out of Brooks County on Okapilco Creek, and some may have come all the way down from near Moultrie in Colquitt County. Maybe Valdosta’s results for tomorrow will show more.

Nankin Boat Ramp showed 500, which is well above the one-time sample limit of 410.

Since we have no results more recent than Monday for them, Langdale Park (for US 41) and GA 133 still show red on the worst Swim Guide map in recent memory.

[Map: Swim Guide bad from Langdale Park (US41) to Nankin, Withlacoochee River]
Map: Swim Guide bad from Langdale Park (US41) to Nankin, Withlacoochee River

There’s also a good chance the Thursday rains washed more contamination in above US 41 and GA 133. For now, this is what we know:

[Chart: really bad Christmas Day 2020]
Chart: really bad Christmas Day 2020
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida water quality results, rainfall, and spills, see:

Sasser Landing, Alapaha River

Meanwhile, Josh and Angela Duncan got a good 33 cfu/100 mL for Wednesday, December 23, 2020, at Sasser Landing on the Alapaha River. There was quite a bit of rain upstream on the Alapaha the next day, but usually the Alapaha stays cleaner than the Withlacoochee River.


Suzy Hall tried testing at Gibson Park on the Suwannee River, just upstream of the Alapaha River Confluence and upstream from the Withlacoochee River Confluence. Unfortunately, her control plate for Tuesday, December 22, 2020, turned out bad, so we can’t use her results. That’s too bad, because the three actual test plates looked clean. There seems to be a jinx on testing at Gibson Park: it has always been odd in some way.

[Hutch Gibson Park kiosk]
Hutch Gibson Park kiosk

Suzy did send these pictures, though. Click on any small picture for a larger one.

KF Pictures

[Knights Ferry Downstream]
Knights Ferry Downstream

[Knights Ferry Upstream]
Knights Ferry Upstream

Nankin Pictures

[Nankin Upstream]
Nankin Upstream

[Nankin Downstream]
Nankin Downstream

State Line Pictures

[State Line Upstream]
State Line Upstream

[State Line Downstream]
State Line Downstream

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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