Update 2022-03-18: OK water quality, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2022-03-17.
Not a good weekend for boating, fishing, or swimming in the Withlacoochee River. Better stick to the Alapaha River, or the Suwannee upstream from the Withlacoochee River Confluence.
WWALS found very high E. coli at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp for Thursday, and high background Fecal coliform there and downstream at Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps.
Knights Ferry is where E. coli from cattle manure usually is first detected in the Withlacoochee River after washing down Okapilco Creek out of Brooks County, Georgia. Notice almost an inch of rain on the east side of Brooks County at US 84 on the Withlacoochee River, and 1.4 inches on the west side at Dixie, GA. When there’s more than half an inch of rain on Brooks County, we usually see this problem.
Chart: Bad Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River 2022-03-10
for context and the entire WWALS spreadsheet of water quality data and rainfall, see https://wwals.net/issues/testing.
Thanks to WWALS tester Elizabeth Brunner for her three GA 122 sites.
At Lakeland Boat Ramp she got a very low 66 cfu/100 mL E. coli.
At Folsom Bridge Landing she got even lower 33 cfu/100 mL.
At Hagan Bridge Landing she got somewhathigher 233 cfu/100 mL, which is higher than we want for an average, but well within the 410 cfu/100 mL one-time limit.
There was a sewage spill in Tifton Wednesday, of 3,000 gallons. GA-EPD says it went into the New River. But that report also says it was at 9902 Woodlawn Ave. The Tift County Property Appraiser knows of no addresses on Woodlawn Ave. anywhere near that high. Maybe they meant 909 Woodlawn Ave. In which case that’s in the Little River watershed. I will inquire. In either location, it’s probably not enough to show up downstream at GA 122.
Thanks to WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach for their three downstream Withlacoochee River sites.
The big problem is at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp.
The Bachrachs counted 3,367 cfu/100 mL on the KF plates, which is plenty bad enough, more than three times the 1,000 action limit.
I get 4,500 by counting all blue colonies with or without bubbles, which is recommended by Georgia Adopt-A-Stream when the plates are discolored like these are. Either way, I wouldn’t want to get that water on me.
By now the contamination has very likely reached Nankin.
Notice the Thursday Nankin plates were already discolored with many Fecal coliform colonies, but few E. coli: the Bachrachs got 33 cfu/100 mL.
Very likely the contamination has passed the state line into Florida by now.
While the Bachrachs got 0 cfu/100 mL E. coli, these plates were also already discolored and had many background Fecal coliform colonies.
Red Knights Ferry sticks out on the Swim Guide map. Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps still show green for Thursday, but remember the contamination has probably washed downsgtream by now.
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.
Or maybe you’d like to become a WWALS water quality tester; please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/DzWvJuXqTQi12N6v7
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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