Filthy GA-FL Line, Withlacoochee River 2021-06-26

Update 2021-07-02: Clean Rivers after Tuesday blip and before Thursday rains 2021-07-01.

Sewage spills were reported last week, but not from Georgia: Florida State Prison Tuesday into the New River (of the Santa Fe), and Starke WWTF Saturday above the Santa Fe River. I must commend FDEP for sending out pollution notices on a Sunday, and Starke WWTF for reporting on a weekend. We don’t know what effect those spills had on those rivers, because so far as we know nobody tests there.

Floridians, please ask SRWMD and FDEP to test water quality frequently on all the rivers, all the way to the Gulf, instead of wasting money on water pipe boondoggles.

Meanwhile on the Withlacoochee River for Saturday, Suzy Hall found State Line Boat Ramp filthy, yet Florida Campsites downstream pretty clean. Gus Cleary found Cleary Bluff below Allen Ramp spotless for Friday and with only one spot for Saturday.

How can it be dirty upstream but clean downstream? With all this recent rain, the rivers are moving fast, and a glob of E. coli can flit right past in a few hours.

We can also hope much of the cattle manure has already been washed off. See also Cattle and hogs: Withlacoochee River water quality status 2021-06-27.

We have no data from Valdosta more recent than for Monday, and nothing from Madison Health more recent than Tuesday. Meanwhile, WWALS testers wanted to know, so you could know.

I’d still be wary of the Withlacoochee River until we see repeated clean State Line results.

[Chart, River, Plates, Map]
Chart, River, Plates, Map

We have no new data on the Alapaha River. I’d guess that Thursday Willacoochee Landing contamination has made it to Florida by now.

And we don’t know what effect the spills in the Santa Fe Basin had on the New or Santa Fe Rivers, because to our knowledge nobody tests there.

For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida water quality results, rainfall, and spills, see:

So we’ve got red State Line Boat Ramp in addition to red Knights Ferry Boat Ramp on Swim Guide. Makes you wonder what color Nankin Boat Ramp should be for Saturday.

In the FL-6 inset map, both Florida Campsites Ramp and Allen Ramp are green, because we have new clean results for those. Madison Blue Spring and Madison Ramp probably should be, too, but we don’t know.

This time I’ve included an inset map for Langdale Park Boat Ramp, GA 133, and Troupville Boat Ramp, but we have no new results, which means we don’t really know they are green.

[Filthy State Line, Swim Guide 2021-06-26]
Filthy State Line, Swim Guide 2021-06-26

Here is a map of those two Santa Fe River Basin sewage spills.

[Starke WWTF, Santa Fe River, FL State Prison, New River]
Starke WWTF, Santa Fe River, FL State Prison, New River, on the WWALS map of all public landings in the Suwannee River Basin.

The Florida State Prison lift station, according to the reported coordinates, is in Union County north of FL 100 and just west of the New River. The report says:

Lightning struck the control panel of our main influent lift station. in the time it took to get an emergency pump going the wet well overflowed onto the ground based on flows from our flow meter it appears to be around 20,000-30,000 gallons. it should be noted that the ground water infiltration here is extremely bad and we believe a lot of influent was diluted with rain water. it rained heavy during the entire event approximately 3″ +-

The Starke WWTF is at 602 Edwards Rd, Starke, FL 32091. It is a municipal wastewater treatment plant handling up to 1.65 million gallons, on Alligator Creek 00277787, into Lake Rowell, Lake Sampson, Sampson River, Santa Fe River. The report says:

On June 26, 2021 we started receiving heavy rain. At around 2:48 p.m. the influent well at the Starke WWTF reached it’s high level alarm and on call operator responded to SCADA call out alarm. Upon arrival Operator observed the influent wet well was a max compacity and back up generator was on and running. We also had power failures and other alarms of equipment. On of the three influent pumps was tripped out. The operator reset the VFD for the influent pump and it started up. The operator also checked the effluent out fall to Alligator Creek and the creek had rose to above the effluent outfall cause a backup in the plant effluent treatment system. The effluent pump was not enough to keep up with the flow coming thru the plant with the excessive rain. The operator took all necessary actions to prevent this spill for occurring with equipment the city has. We calculated a spill volume of 45,000 gallons and 20,000 of that went into Alligator Creek. We received 2.38″ of rain and a total of 7.71″ of rain fall for the week of June 21 thru June 26, 2021.

All the details are on There does not seem to be any way to link to just one report, but they’re all in there. And you can sign up to get reports per county, which is how I knew about these.

There were also spills from Gainesville, FL, but that city is not in the Suwannee River Basin.

More images are on the WWALS website:–wq

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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4 thoughts on “Filthy GA-FL Line, Withlacoochee River 2021-06-26

  1. Jim Tatum

    John, thanks for making this public and for pointing out that our agencies are remiss in their duties by not testing in these areas. Again as you point out, they are too busy pretending to be doing their job by inventing all kinds of stupid ways to spend money. They themselves seem to believe that by spending huge amounts of money they can fool the people into thinking they are protecting our water.
    Anyway, DEP and water districts are a useless waste of money, designed only to protect the polluters and water users.

  2. Pingback: The Santa Fe River Is Turning Into A Sewer - We Demand Better - Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR)

  3. Pingback: Clean Rivers after Tuesday blip and before Thursday rains 2021-07-01 | WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) is Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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