Clean Forty Miles, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-04

Update 2021-02-11: Advisory lifted, Withlacoochee River, but big rains Tuesday 2021-02-09.

The Withlacoochee River tested clean at sites forty miles from US 41 to the state line on Thursday, February 4, 2021, in WWALS tests. We have no new data downstream, but chances are it was clean there, too. Plus the Little River at Troupville Boat Ramp was clean. The rains predicted for yesterday and today have been underwhelming, so chances are the Withlacoochee was clean into Florida, too. So according to the data we have, the Withlacoochee River is good for boating, swimming, and fishing at least from US 41 in Valdosta, Georgia, to CR 15 in Florida. Which serves us right, after we rescheduled the big paddle for today until February 27. It’s cold out there, though, and rain is still predicted.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide

However, the bacterial advisory by Madison and Hamilton Health has not been lifted. We now have four clean test results at State Line: WWALS, Valdosta, Madison Health, and WWALS again. But they probably won’t lift the Florida advisory until they get two successive clean test results themselves. Since more rain is predicted most of the coming week, don’t be surprised if they either don’t lift it for more than another week, or lift it and then issue another a few days later.

Thanks to WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach, who got zero E. coli at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, 33 at Nankin, and 133 at State Line Boat Ramp. Only that last one is above the 126 average test limit, and still well below the 410 one-time test limit.

[Bad after rain, then good]
Bad after rain, then good
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida water quality results, rainfall, and spills, see:
https://www1.wwals.netissues/testing/

So we have Swim Guide marked green all the way to the State Line. In Florida, CR 15 (Sullivan Launch) is still green, but FL 6 and below are still red, because of the last results we have from Madison Health, which were for Tuesday, February 2.

[Swim Guide, forty miles, Withlacoochee River]
Swim Guide, forty miles, Withlacoochee River

Zooming in on the three sites I tested Thursday, US 41 and GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River, and Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River, all tested 100 cfu/100 mL, which is below the 126 average limit for E. coli. So that’s good.

[Little and Withlacoochee Rivers, Swim Buide]
Little and Withlacoochee Rivers, Swim Buide

On Swim Guide we show Langdale Park Boat Ramp as the site, because we don’t like to encourage putting in just upstream from US 41, where I actually tested.

Backing up a week, Valdosta data fills in between the FDOH and WWALS data in what we last posted, showing above the 410 one-time limit at US 41 and GA 133 on Friday, January 29, 2021, and above the 1,000 alert limit for Okapilco Creek @ US 84, and the Withlacoochee River at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps. Only the Withlacoochee @ US 84 showed below 410 for that Friday.

[Valdosta data corroborates WWALS & FDOH]
Valdosta data corroborates WWALS & FDOH

Apparently that contamination had decreased quite a bit by the time of Suzy Hall’s 500 cfu/100 mL WWALS test on Saturday at State Line, and by the time I sampled on Sunday, January 31, all of Spook Bridge, Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line were well below 410, and most below the 126 aerage limit. This is what we expected as rainwater diluted and washed contamination downstream, after the same rain washed the manure contamination into the river in the first place.

Below are some pictures of the rivers I took, and pictures of the Petrifilms.

US 41, Withlacoochee River

[Downstream]
Downstream

Troupville Boat Ramp, Little River

[Downstream]
Downstream

GA 133, Withlacoochee River

[Downstream]
Downstream

Plates

[Incubating]
Incubating

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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