Very bad, GA-FL line and downstream, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-11

Update 2021-02-13: Better, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-12.

I’d avoid the Withlacoochee River for a few days if I were you. Apparently the Tuesday rains did wash more manure out of Brooks and Colquitt Counties down Okapilco Creek into the Withlacoochee River.

Valdosta’s Wednesday results upstream of Okapilco Creek were only slightly elevated, but Madison Health’s Thursday downstream results were very high. The WWALS Thursday samples had a technical glitch, so we don’t know about Knights Ferry or Nankin Boat Ramps, but they were probably pretty bad. We hope to have Friday results soon.

Meanwhile, I would not want to get that river water on me until the upstream rainwater dilutes and washes down the contamination, which will probably take a few days. Unless, of course, it rains harder and washes more in.

[Chart, Swim Guide map]
Chart, Swim Guide map

Yesterday afternoon FDEP posted Madison Health results for Thursday, February 11, 2021, and they were very bad: 1,935 cfu/100 mL E. coli at State Line, when 1,000 is the alert limit, 410 is the one-time sample limit, and 126 is the multiple sample average limit. And worse downstream: 1,529 at Sullivan Launch near CR 150, and 4,106 at FL 6 just above Madison Blue Spring.

[Very bad, State Line, Sullivan Launch, FL 6]
Very bad, State Line, Sullivan Launch, FL 6
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida water quality results, rainfall, and spills, see:
https://www1.wwals.netissues/testing/

I have not received a new bacterial advisory from Madison or Hamilton Health, and there’s nothing new posted on the Madison Health website since they lifted the previous advisory the other day. I don’t know why there is no new advisory.

Meanwhile, I’ve set State Line and all the WWALS Withlacoochee River downstream “beaches” red on Swim Guide.

[Bad downstream, map, Swim Guide]
Bad downstream, map, Swim Guide

Everything else remains green, because that’s the latest data we have.

However, I would guess the contamination last seen at FL 6 has reached the Suwannee River by now and is travelling downstream.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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