WaterGoat cleanout 2022-07-03

Thanks to Russell Allen McBride for volunteering to clean out the WaterGoat trash boom on Sugar Creek that Valdosta bought. This is a temporary stopgap until Valdosta makes more complete plans to keep this trash from washing into the nearby Withlacoochee River, plus plans to stop trash from getting into the creeks.

Thanks again to Valdosta for buying the WaterGoat. I have said Thank You twice in City Council meetings, once in an op-ed in the Valdosta Daily Times, numerous times here, and in emails and telephone messages to city staff, Council, and Mayor.

[Before, during, and after]
Before, during, and after

However, apparently there is still confusion inside the city government as to cleaning out that WaterGoat. Once again: WWALS never made any agreement with Valdosta to clean out the WaterGoat. Since April, we have repeatedly requested further meetings to discuss that and the rest of the trash situation.

I look forward to the promised meetings to discuss next steps, starting with how it should be cleaned out. Followed by obtaining two more trash booms.

And WWALS is eagerly awaiting the city’s detailed plans to educate businesses about its own ordinances on keeping trash from escaping parking lots and placing trash cans, and enforcing them when necessary. Led by Valdosta putting trash cans on its own parking lots, including across from City Hall and the new Unity Park.

WWALS is patient. See below. We play the long game in conservation and stewardship of the waters throughout the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin and Estuary. We don’t expect city departments to turn on a dime, especially in Valdosta, the most populous city in the Basin. But we do await communication so plans can be made to move forward.

Water

The picture captions are by Russell Allen McBride.

[Before: These pieces are waterlogged and heavy. Causing the WaterGoat to sink and more leaves and wood to pile on. That's why it is important to check the Goat after every rain event.]
Before: These pieces are waterlogged and heavy. Causing the WaterGoat to sink and more leaves and wood to pile on. That’s why it is important to check the Goat after every rain event.

[Those big wood pieces were caught under all the leaves. Not hard to clean out though. And you can see the chain got twisted. You know that was some huge flow coming down the creek to do that.]
Those big wood pieces were caught under all the leaves. Not hard to clean out though. And you can see the chain got twisted. You know that was some huge flow coming down the creek to do that.

[Trash eddy: I got all the woody stuff out the day before. That stuff will cause the barrier to not be effective.]
Trash eddy: I got all the woody stuff out the day before. That stuff will cause the barrier to not be effective.

Land

Going forward, this sort of information needs to be logged online so it can be kept track of, in something like the EPA Escaped Trash Assessment Protocol (ETAP). That is important for identifying and addressing upstream sources of trash.

[Trash itemization]
Trash itemization

Russell added: “I miss labeled one of the styrofoam cups as Cook Out. After looking again it is actually Texas Roadhouse. Rare to find a cup from them in Sugar Creek. My apologies to Cook Out.”

[Trash on tailgate]
Trash on tailgate

After

[Clean and green. Ready to gobble up more trash.]
Clean and green. Ready to gobble up more trash.

Seeclickfix

Previously I reported that Valdosta had not answered Click ‘n’ Fix request #12772355 to clean out the Sugar Creek WaterGoat.

[Description]
Description

Missed special pick up ▶ Open

REPORTER
John S. Quarterman

Issue ID: 12772355

DESCRIPTION
Valdosta needs to clean out the WaterGoat trash boom it had installed on Sugar Creek before that trash washes into the Withlacoochee River.

1405 Gornto Rd Valdosta, GA 31602, USA

Well, finally there was an answer yesterday, but it was counter-factual, so I had to reply.

[Comments]
Comments

2 COMMENTS

CLOSED Angela Bray (Verified Official)
WaterGoat has been cleaned by WWALS representative(s) per original agreement.
07/07/2022 · Flag

REOPENED John S. Quarterman (Registered User)
Ahem, there was no such original agreement. I look forward to meetings with the City to work out how this trash boom will be cleaned. -jsq
07/07/2022 · Flag

WWALS is Patient

It took almost three years for Lowndes County to get close to a complete solution for the trash at the Flying J on I-75 Exit 2.

[Trash much more contained]
Trash much more contained

During that time Lowndes County Code Enforcement communicated. At no point did they assert that WWALS would do the job for them.

WWALS has been working on this Valdosta city trash problem since April 2020. After other communications with the city, we first went public about it on the Mayor’s radio show on August 12, 2021, when the Mayor said, “If you see it, it’ll break your heart. In a deadfall it all gathers.”

The city’s own timeframe for fixing this public health problem was set out in its 2010 Master Stormwater Management Plan:

Streams are a natural attractor for children and play structures occur along the stream edge. The pollution in this stream poses a serious risk of disease and injury and children should be strongly discouraged from playing in the stream until the trash and sewage are eliminated….

The leaking manholes and sewer pipes should be repaired immediately and protected from future damage. The garbage should be removed from the creek and an education and enforcement program to prevent further pollution should be implemented.

I don’t know of any definition of “immediately” that means a dozen years later.

I understand key Valdosta city staff are on vacation this week. I also understand that I and many other WWALS people spent considerable time during the July Fourth Holiday weekend reporting on and doing water quality testing after Valdosta’s sewage spill, while Valdosta posted nothing on its own website, facebook page, or twitter. Water issues happen when they happen, for example due to pipe breaks or weather.

I look forward to meeting with the city so plans can be made to move forward.

For more about the trash problem, see: https://wwals.net/issues/trash/

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/