Update 2022-11-04: Creek and river water quality problems 2022-11-03.
After a drizzle of rain Wednesday and several high readings by Valdosta at US 41 and GA 133, WWALS tested upstream creeks yesterday, in addition to the usual river locations. Some of the creek results are much higher than expected.
So far, it looks like downstream of the Little River Confluence on the Withlacoochee River is probably good for fishing, swimming, and boating.
There’s not enough water in the Withlacoochee higher up to paddle anyway. But I’ll have four more Withlacoochee River results tomorrow to fill in the upstream gaps.
Yesterday I saw some people fishing in Cat Creek art GA 122. That’s probably OK, but I wouldn’t recommend Cat Creek at Cat Creek Road, nor anywhere on Beatty Branch. Plus Elizabeth Brunner got a high reading on Beaverdam Creek at Main Street (US 129) east of Ray City.
Only one sewage spill has been reported recently in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia or Florida. You guessed it: Valdosta. But only 110 gallons, into Lake Sheri again, two weeks ago Thursday, October 13th, reported this Monday, October 24th. That almost certainly wasn’t enough to affect the Withlacoochee River. But those poor people on Lake Sheri must be tired of this.
The most recent water quality test results we have from Valdosta are for Monday upstream with bad US 41, and from two weeks ago for downstream.
Thanks to WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall for herding the testing cats.
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
There are more images below.
Thanks to Elizabeth Brunner for her usual three GA 122 sites, starting from the west at Folsom Bridge Landing on the Little River west of Hahira.
Thanks to Elizabeth Brunner for an additional nine creek test sites.
Ramblinwood Road is just downstream from Rays Mill Pond, northeast of Ray City, Georgia. Beaverdam Creek there takes the prize for nastiest looking. Looks to me like algae from fertlizier runoff. Possibly relevant is the two pecan groves bracketing Beaverdam Creek between Rays Mill Pond and Ramblinwood Road.
This was a really unexpected result: 566 cfu/100 mL E. coli at Main Street (US 129) a mile east of Ray City. What’s on that quarter mile of Beaverdam Creek between Ramblinwood Road and Main Street?
Why do people call themselves hunters who throw their deer carcass in a creek? And how did the E. coli numbers end up lower at Park Street than a mile and a quarter upstream at Main Street?
An expected result: low numbers for Cat Creek at GA 37, just west of Ray City.
A surprising result: still low numbers for Cat Creek at GA 122, downstream from the Ray City wastewater treatment plant.
The worst result: 1,533 cfu/100 mL E. coli for Cat Creek at Cat Creek Road. That’s upstream from where Beatty Branch joins Cat Creek, so Beatty Branch did not cause this number. What’s in those three Cat Creek miles between GA 122 and Cat Creek Road?
Also unexpected were these bad readings on Beatty Branch, despite no rain.
Especially, why were there 833 cfu/100 mL at Bemiss Road? There are no cows or septic tanks upstream from there.
The result here was slightly lower than the 410 one-time limit. That’s downstream of a wastewater treatment plant, which could explain it: the treated water may have diluted whatever was in the creek at Bemiss Road.
But at Cat Creek Road the numbers were back up, this time to 733 cfu/100 mL.
Thanks to Elizabeth Brunner for her middle GA 122 site, at Hagan Bridge on the Withlacoochee River, with a low result as expected.
Thanks to Michael and Jacob Bachrach for their two downstream Withlacoochee River sites at Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps, where they got zero E. coli for yesterday. Knights Ferry Road was too treacherous to get to Knights Ferry Boat Ramp yesterday.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®