Bad Quality Withlacoochee River 2022-07-21

Update 2022-07-29: Good Water Quality, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2022-07-28.

Update 2022-07-26: Madison Health Alert, Withlacoochee River 2022-07-25.

Update 2022-07-23: High Springs 500-gallon sewage spill, mostly cleaned up 2022-07-07.

Avoid the Withlacoochee River this weekend for fishing, swimming, and boating.

Try the Little, Alapaha, or Alapahoochee Rivers, or the Suwannee River upstream from the Withlacoochee River Confluence.

[Chart, River, Swim Guide 2022-07-21]
Chart, River, Swim Guide 2022-07-21

WWALS tested a record 18 sites Thursday, thanks to Elizabeth Brunner, Michael and Jacob Bachrach, and Gus CLeary, with WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall reviewing all the plates.

We didn’t find much upstream, except too high on Beatty Branch at Cat Creek Road.

I did take DNA samples on Cat Creek at Cat Creek Road and on the Withlacoochee River at US 41, so maybe we’ll see what’s getting into the waterways upstream.

[Withlacoochee River @ US 41, DNA FVQPBJNF 2022-07-21]
Withlacoochee River @ US 41, DNA FVQPBJNF 2022-07-21

Downstream was horrible: all three of Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps were above 1,000 cfu/100 mL E. coli, which is the alert limit.

[Chart: Bad Withlacoochee River 2022-07-21]
Chart: Bad Withlacoochee River 2022-07-21
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of water quality results, rainfall, and sewage spills, see:

The most likely culprit is cattle manure washing down Okapilco Creek from Brooks County, Georgia.

[Plates, State Line Boat Ramp, WIthlacoochee River 2022-07-21]
Plates, State Line Boat Ramp, WIthlacoochee River 2022-07-21

This week it’s apparently not Valdosta, Ray City, or Moody Air Force Base.

Ashburn today got around to reporting a spill of 2,000 gallons from its Airport WPCCP, which is twenty miles up Hat Creek from the Alapaha River, and then another 26 miles to the most upstream beginning of the Alapaha River Water Trail, Sheboggy Boat Ramp at US 82. So don’t expect much effect from that Ashburn spill.

[Ashburn spill into Hat Creek, Alapaha River, 2022-07-14]
Ashburn spill into Hat Creek, Alapaha River, 2022-07-14

The most recent results we have from Valdosta are for Monday, and they were OK for US 41, GA 133, and US 84.

However, Valdosta yesterday got around to posting its downstream results for last week, and they were horrible at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps. Also horrible at Okapilco Creek, so very likely cattle manure runoff.

Would have been useful for everyone to know those Valdosta results last week, not a week later.

[Chart: Bad Withlacoochee River 2022-07-15]
Chart: Bad Withlacoochee River 2022-07-15

Yesterday Valdosta also changed its report of its June 30th sewage spill from affecting the Withlacoochee River to affecting “Withlacoochee Creek”, whatever that is.

[Valdosta spill into Withlacoochee Creek, 2022-06-30]
Valdosta spill into “Withlacoochee Creek”

So I’ve set green upstream and red for Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps on Swim Guide

[Map: Bad Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide 2022-07-21]
Map: Bad Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide 2022-07-21

There are more pictures on the WWALS website:–wq

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:

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

One thought on “Bad Quality Withlacoochee River 2022-07-21

  1. Pingback: Madison Health Alert, Withlacoochee River 2022-07-25 | WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) is Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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