Daily Archives: February 21, 2023

Valdosta says it spilled 672,250 gallons of sewage into the Knights Creek floodplain 2023-02-21

Update 2023-02-24: Valdosta and Ashburn in GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report 2023-02-23.

This afternoon Valdosta said it spilled 672,250 gallons of sewage last Wednesday, near Knights Creek between East Park Ave. (Lakeland Highway) and US 84 (East Hill Ave.) on Wednesday, February 15, 2023.

[VALORGIS and ARWT maps, E. Park Ave., US 84, Valdosta sewage spill 2023-02-15]
VALORGIS and ARWT maps, E. Park Ave., US 84, Valdosta sewage spill 2023-02-15

This additional press release, after the previous one last Thursday, says the sewage “was released into the wetland watershed area adjacent to Knights Creek.”

It’s good the city mentioned the creek this time. But as usual, Valdosta did not mention that Knights Creek runs into Mud Swamp Creek, then the Alapahoochee River through Echols County, Georgia, then the Alapaha River in Hamilton County, Florida.

We know by WWALS testing that any effects on the Alapaha River seemed to be gone by Saturday.

Because this is a major spill (more than 10,000 gallons), Valdosta is required to do followup water quality testing. WWALS will be requesting that data, as well.

Today’s Valdosta press release also says, “City staff immediately began cleanup and disinfecting at the overflow location. All appropriate regulatory and public health agencies have been notified, and warning signs have been posted.”

I applaud the city’s efforts to clean up that mess.

However, this spill still does not appear in GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report on this seventh day since the spill. Continue reading

Miners and GA-EPD picked a bad gauge for the stripmine permit application 2023-02-21

If you needed another reason to object to the strip mine proposed far too near the Okefenokee Swamp, here it is.

Hydrologists from seven different universities rebut the choice of the Macclenny St Marys River gauge by the miners and the state regulatory agency to model and monitor the proposed titanium dioxide strip mine. The hydrologists propose the Moniac gauge as much closer to the mine site.

[St. Marys River Gauges --NOASS, USGS]
St. Marys River Gauges –NOASS, USGS
Red circle: proposed titanium dioxide stripmine site.
Center green diamond: Moniac St. Marys River Gauge.
Bottom green circle: Macclenny St. Marys River Gauge.
Upper right green diamond near Folkston: Traders Hill St. Marys River Gauge.
Left green diamond: Fargo Suwannee River Gauge.

I would argue that neither of those gauges is downstream from water flowing from the eastern side of the mine site: for that they need the Traders Hill gauge.

Further, they should also be monitoring the Fargo gauge on the Suwannee River. And they should be modeling and monitoring not just water levels but also water quality at all these locations.

To comment on the permit applications, Continue reading

Clean water quality at Mud Swamp Creek and Sasser Landing, Alapaha River 2023-02-18

Update 2023-02-21: Valdosta says it spilled 672,250 gallons of sewage into the Knights Creek floodplain 2023-02-21.

WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall tested two sites in the Alapaha River Basin Saturday, and got good results at both. And she videoed a waterfall on Mud Swamp Creek.

[Mud Swamp Creek @ Old Clyattville Road, Alapaha River @ Sasser Landing 2023-02-18]
Mud Swamp Creek @ Old Clyattville Road, Alapaha River @ Sasser Landing 2023-02-18

The site at Old Clyattville Road is upstream on Mud Swamp Creek from where Knights Creek comes in, and the site at Sasser Landing on the Alapaha River is downstream from where the Alapahoochee River carries Mud Swamp Creek water into the Alapaha. So if the Valdosta sewage spill of Wednesday, February 15, 2023, ever had any effect on the Alapaha River, that contamination has apparently washed downstream or has been diluted. Continue reading