Georgia Sheriffs’ Boys Ranch WPCP 2021-04-26

A local and Georgia state institution since 1960, the Georgia Sheriffs’ Boys Ranch on GA 122 east of Hahira and just east of the Withlacoochee River has a wastewater treatment pond, which has never reported a spill.

[Entrance arch, WPCP, Founded 1960]
Entrance arch, WPCP, Founded 1960

According to GA-EPD, it has sufficient capacity that it probably never will.

Nonetheless, Monday I went to look at that pond of NPDES Permit No. GA0047228. Thanks to the front office (she did not say her name) for asking the maintenance man (I think she said his name was Mike) to show me the pond.

[Looking east, 14:18:23, 31.0230611, -83.2909658]
Looking east, 14:18:23, 31.0230611, -83.2909658

I went partly because the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) wants a letter from the Boys Ranch in support of reclassification of the Withlacoochee River from Fishing to Recreational designation. Obviously it can’t be Drinking designation, which is the strictest about what can go into it, since nobody uses the river for drinking water. However, it can be Recreational, which is stricter than Fishing. I’d think the fish would like cleaner water, and yes, you can fish in a Recreational river, with less danger of getting sick.

Also, we’re updating all our river trail online maps and web pages, and this wastewater facility needs a picture for its listing on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (see below).

[Don't swim in that, 14:17:43, 31.0227810, -83.2908570]
Don’t swim in that, 14:17:43, 31.0227810, -83.2908570

Definitely not for swimming.

[Warning sign on gate, 14:13:21, 31.0227471, -83.2907923]
Warning sign on gate, 14:13:21, 31.0227471, -83.2907923

You were warned.

Boys Ranch Front

This is a landmark so familiar to people around here (I live about three miles from the Boys Ranch) that we hardly see it anymore.

[Gate arch sign, 14:45:52, 31.0176940, -83.2879280]
Gate arch sign, 14:45:52, 31.0176940, -83.2879280

The WLRWT map actually has three Boys Ranch sites:

[Map: Boys Ranch, Withlacoochee River, Hagan Bridge Landing @ GA 122]
Map: Boys Ranch, Withlacoochee River, Hagan Bridge Landing @ GA 122
on the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

All three are less than a mile upstream from Hagan Bridge Landing on GA 122.

The outfall is a third of a mile downstream from the county line between Lowndes County on the south, Cook County on the northwest, and Berrien County on the northeast. That three-county point is marked by the Point of Interest binocular icon near Lindsey Branch at the top middle of the map.

And 23 miles upstream from the Little River Confluence at Troupville west of Valdosta, and more than 85 miles upstream from the Suwannee River.

[Entrance sign and road sign, 14:45:46, 31.0176943, -83.2879284]
Entrance sign and road sign, 14:45:46, 31.0176943, -83.2879284

[Entrance sign, 14:44:52, 31.0175622, -83.2881197]
Entrance sign, 14:44:52, 31.0175622, -83.2881197

Many people remember Lowndes County Sheriff Jewel Futch.

[Founded 1960, 14:43:27, 31.0198090, -83.2882780]
Founded 1960, 14:43:27, 31.0198090, -83.2882780

Next: a cemetery I haven’t seen in probably thirty years or more. It’s not on the Boys Ranch anymore.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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