Bad upstream Withlacoochee, Little Rivers, Ashburn Spill Alapaha River 2022-01-06

Update 2022-01-14: Bad US 84 Wednesday, good Withlacoochee River Thursday 2022-01-13.

Water quality is not looking good upstream on the Little or Withlacoochee Rivers. But not much sign of contamination downstream Thursday. I’d avoid those rivers upstream for a few days.

Downstream, chances are the E. coli will get diluted before it reaches the state line. But of course we can only go by the test results we have. I would paddle downstream this weekend, but you have to make your own decisions.

[Chart, River, Swim Guide]
Chart, River, Swim Guide

WWALS tester Elizabeth Brunner got too-high results at Folsom Bridge on the Little River and Hagan Bridge on the Withlacoochee River, both on GA 122. There was much rain upstream Sunday at Sylvester and Moultrie, and probably Tifton, so what Elizabeth found may have washed down from far upstream.

Ashburn had a 40,000 gallon sewage spill Monday, which showed up today in the daily GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report. The Ashburn spill went into Hat Creek, which runs into the Alapaha River. Elizabeth’s third GA 122 test site, Lakeland Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River, was OK. This is not unusual: Ashburn is so far upstream we’ve never detected effects of one of its spills downstream.

Valdosta got a bad result at GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River for Monday. That could have been something washing downstream, or it could be the notorious suspected dumper. All three of US 41, GA 133, and US 84 tested OK for Wednesday.

WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach got OK results at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps for Thursday.

And WWALS tester Gus Cleary got OK for Cleary Bluff, downstream of Allen Ramp, for Wednesday.

[Bad Upstream, Charts 2022-01-06]
Bad Upstream, Charts 2022-01-06
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of water quality test results and rainfall, see:

Thanks to Joe Brownlee and Georgia Power for a generous grant for water quality testing equipment and materials.

You or your organization could also donate to the WWALS volunteer water quality testing program.

Valdosta’s downstream results for last week were for Wednesday, December 29, 2021, a different weekday than usual because of holidays. They showed too high at Knights Ferry, which matches the Bachrachs’ too high slightly downstream at Nankin for Thursday last week.

Meanwhile, on Swim Guide I’ve marked Folsom Bridge and Hagan Bridge Landings red, and everything else for which we have recent data green.

[Map: Bad Upstream, Swim Guide 2022-01-06]
Map: Bad Upstream, Swim Guide 2022-01-06

There are more images on the WWALS website.

For example, what animal left these bones?

[Bones, Hagan Bridge Landing, Withlacoochee River @ GA 122 2022-01-06]
Bones, Hagan Bridge Landing, Withlacoochee River @ GA 122 2022-01-06

Oh, and Gus says that’s a moth.

[Cleary Bluff, Withlacoochee River @ NE Withla Bluffs Way 2022-01-05]
Cleary Bluff, Withlacoochee River @ NE Withla Bluffs Way 2022-01-05

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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