Clean rivers 2024-03-13

Update 2024-03-22: Ashburn and Rochelle sewage spills 2024-03-09.

We got good results for Wednesday for the Santa Fe and Withlacoochee Rivers and for Thursday for the Alapaha River.

Valdosta’s recent upstream Withlacoochee River results through Wednesday are good.

[Chart, Clean Rivers, Map 2024-03-13]
Chart, Clean Rivers, Map 2024-03-13

There are no Valdosta Monday results, because, according to Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes, “we are collecting once a week.”

He did not say why. Perhaps it is not coincidental that it is now three years (minus one month) since the March, 2020, GA-EPD Consent Order on Valdosta that required downstream testing as a way to reduce the amount of the fine.

As previously noted, Valdosta’s last downstream tests were September 1, 2023.

There’s a chance of rain today, and more chance Sunday.

The rivers are at pretty good paddling levels, and it’s not cold. So watch the weather, bring rain gear, and happy paddling, fishing, and maybe swimming this weekend.

[Chart: Clean Rivers 2024-03-13]
Chart: Clean Rivers 2024-03-13
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of water quality results, rainfall, and sewage spills, see:

No sewage spills were reported in the past week in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida or in the Georgia Sewage Spills Report.

However, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) tells us via email that Rochelle, GA, had another spill on March 9 through 13, 2024. We don’t know how much. We do know all of Rochelle is upstream from the Alapaha River.

GA-EPD did clarify why the earlier, February 12, 10,000 gallon spill took more than three weeks to appear in the Sewage Spills Report: “The spill was reported to us via email on Feb. 15th. It was entered into GAPDES on the 27th due to staffing vacancies and the Program manager being on vacation. However, it was entered into CTS on Feb. 16th . See attached link:

As to why the earlier Rochelle spill disappeared from the Sewage Spills Report, the answer was, “Only lasted from 09:45 until 16:00 on the 12th

I asked, “I don’t understand the answer about why it is not in later Sewage Spills Reports. Normally an item stays in there for 30 days until it rolls off. Spills for Tifton and Ashburn are still in there today, even though they occured in February. Why is this Rochelle spill different?”

Answer, “I do believe that spills to the ground don’t normally make it on the daily spill report. If it was originally updated to a spill to the ground, it may have fallen off for the report.”

That’s an exception I was not previously aware of.

I still wonder whether those very bad downstream Knights Creek results for Wednesday week after significant rain the day before indicated an unreported sewage spill upstream from the Alapahoochee and Alapaha Rivers?

In case you’re not aware, GA-EPD is woefully underfunded. Whenever I get a chance, I suggest to Georgia state legislators that EPD should be funded more.

WWALS tester Kimberly Godden Tanner said everything looks good at two Alapaha River sites, sampled Thursday. For Lakeland Boat Ramp she got a rainbow and 2+0+2 = 4 * 100 / 3 = 133 cfu/100 mL.

She wrote, “There was no beach at Naylor Park Beach. Went early enough to get a sunrise and fog off the water. It was beautiful!”

1+0+0=1/3=.33×100= 33 cfu/100 mL.

Russ Tatum reported Wednesday results for Holly Point on the Withlacoochee River in Florida, downstream from Allen Ramp. “Good results. Water is at slightly higher after the rain, light tannic in color and somewhat opaque.”

2 + 1 + 1 = 4 / 3 = 1.33 * 100 = 133 cfu/100mL.

Joanne Tremblay reported for the Santa Fe River at two sites. At O’Leno State Park Swimming Dock, the river “was moving swiftly to the sink. It was very foamy and the conductivity was 78.8 (seems low), D.O. also low at 4.8. Seems odd. Bacteria was also higher than normal.

2+1+3 = 6 * 100 / 3 = 200 cfu/100 mL. -jsq

At the U.S. 27 bridge, Joanne said the Santa Fe River “was calmer than at O’Leno. The leaf cover has subsided too. Some bacterial action.

0+2+1 = 3 * 100 / 3 = 100 cfu/100 mL. -jsq

WWALS Testing Trainer Gretchen Quarterman delivered supplies to some testers.

If you want to get trained to be a WWALS water quality tester, please fill out the form:

All the WWALS “beaches” for which we have recent data are green, on the Swim Guide map.

Here’s a map with O’Leno Sink highlighted towards the center. O’Leno State Park Swimming Dock is slightly upstream from there.

[Map: Clean Rivers 2024-02-01]
Map: Clean Rivers 2024-02-01
in the WWALS map of all public landings in the Suwannee River Basin

Here’s a live Swim Guide Map.

Thanks to Joe Brownlee and Georgia Power for another generous grant for water quality testing equipment and materials.

You or your organization could also donate to the WWALS volunteer water quality testing program.

There are more images below.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!


[Lakeland Boat Ramp, Alapaha River @ GA 122 2024-03-14]
Lakeland Boat Ramp, Alapaha River @ GA 122 2024-03-14


[Movie: Naylor Park Beach, Alapaha River @ US 84 2024-03-14]
Movie: Naylor Park Beach, Alapaha River @ US 84 2024-03-14


[Holly Point, Withlacoochee River @ NE Withla Bluffs Way 2024-03-13]
Holly Point, Withlacoochee River @ NE Withla Bluffs Way 2024-03-13


[O'Leno Dock, Santa Fe River @ O'Leno Park Road 2024-03-13]
O’Leno Dock, Santa Fe River @ O’Leno Park Road 2024-03-13


[US 27 Ramp, Santa Fe River @ US 27 2024-03-13]
US 27 Ramp, Santa Fe River @ US 27 2024-03-13

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!