Update 2021-07-16 Clean Withlacoochee River 2021-07-15.
Tropical Storm Elsa washed E. coli into the Withlacoochee River, according to WWALS test results for Thursday, July 8, 2021.
Some of it probably came from Valdosta’s more than half a dozen sewage spills. But that wasn’t the only source, since WWALS found bad water quality starting at Hagan Bridge @ GA 122 and US 41, well upstream from Sugar Creek. Hagan Bridge is even upstream of Cat Creek, through which Moody Air Force Base’s Beatty Branch spill would reach the Withlacoochee. So some of this is probably more of the usual cattle, hog, horse, etc. manure being washed into the river. However, WWALS found much worse water quality at GA 133, downstream of Sugar Creek. So possibly Valdosta’s 45,532 gallons of raw sewage into Twomile Branch and 44,448 gallons into Onemile Branch, which both flush through Sugar Creek, had some ill effect on the Withlacoochee River.
For Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, Valdosta’s own results for Wednesday already showed too much E. coli, and the WWALS results for Thursday at Nankin and State Line were no better. WWALS did get acceptable results at Cleary Bluff, downstream of Allen Ramp, but that may be just because the contamination had not washed down there yet.
For the Little River, WWALS got too-high E. coli at Troupville Boat Ramp, but acceptable upstream at Folsom Bridge Landing @ GA 122.
For the Alapaha River, results were good at Willacoochee Landing @ GA 135 Wednesday, and acceptable at Lakeland Boat Ramp @ GA 122 Thursday. We have no data downstream of where the 320 gallons of Valdosta sewage on MLK Drive might have flushed down Duke Bay Canal, Mud Swamp Creek, and the Alapahoochee River into the Alapaha River just upstream of Sasser Landing, but that was a very small amount.
So if you want to boat this weekend, I’d recommend the Alapaha River or upstream on the Little River, but not the Withlacoochee River.
We have no Santa Fe River water quality data downstream of Starke, Florida’s, half dozen sewage spills.
Bad up and down Withlacoochee River 2021-07-08
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida water quality results, rainfall, and spills, see:
It’s curious that Valdosta said it reported its two biggest spills to GA-EPD as major spills, yet they have not yet shown up in GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report. Meanwhile, a much smaller spill of 1,052 gallons of raw sewage from Moody Air Force Base into Beatty Branch has already appeared in that Report.
Lots of red on Swim Guide, and still quite a bit of yellow for we have no new data.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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