No spills reported after recent rains, Suwannee River Basin 2024-05-15

Update 2024-05-17: Dirty Withlacoochee and Alapaha River and creeks 2024-05-15.

Update 2024-05-16: Quitman also reports no spills after the recent rains.

After two, three, and four inches of rain added up on Monday and Tuesday across south Georgia and parts of north Florida, the good news is no sewage spills have been reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia or Florida.

[No spills reported, after rains 2024-05-15, Suwannee River Basin, Georgia and Florida]
No spills reported, after rains 2024-05-15, Suwannee River Basin, Georgia and Florida

Sometimes it takes days for spills to show up in the GA-EPD and FDEP online reports, so I called Valdosta, Lowndes County, and Quitman.

Valdosta Utilities says they had no spills or overflows.

Lowndes County Utilities says they had no spills.

Quitman City Hall says as far as they have heard they have had no spills, but they referred me to their utilities contractor, ESG Engineering. I called the ESG number City Hall gave me, and left a message with the person who answered, but I have not heard back from ESG yet about sewage spills.

Update 2024-05-16: Scott Fowler of ESG called back. He says Quitman had no sewage spills with the recent rains.

This does not mean the rivers are clean. We do not know, because nobody has sampled yet since the rains. Valdosta now only samples once a week on Wednesdays, so they presumably drew their samples today and will post their results Thursday or Friday. WWALS samples on Wednesday or Thursday, and our results (and Valdosta’s) will go in the WWALS Friday water quality report, as usual.

Often after big rains, contamination washes into the rivers from other sources, including agriculture, livestock, wildlife, septic tanks, and domestic pets.

However, with this much rain, there is a good chance any such contamination has already been diluted and washed downstream. But we do not know.

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

Meanwhile, as you can see on the NOAA river levels map, the upstream Suwannee River has hardly risen, so that’s good for the WWALS outing this Saturday, Turner Bridge Ramp to Cone Bridge Ramp Suwannee River Paddle 2024-05-18. Depending, of course, on the rain predicted for Saturday.

[NOAA river Levels 2024-04-15]
NOAA river Levels 2024-04-15

[Map legend,]
Map legend,

The Withlacoochee at North Valdosta Road and Skipper Bridge is back up into flood, and the Little River is in Action Stage.

[Skipper Bridge Gauge --NOAA 2024-05-15]
Skipper Bridge Gauge –NOAA 2024-05-15

[Valdosta Gauge --NOAA 2024-05-15]
Valdosta Gauge –NOAA 2024-05-15

The Withlacoochee River at US 84 and Pinetta is predicted to get to Action Stage, as is the Alapaha River at Statenville and the Suwannee River from Dowling Park to Manatee Springs.

The Santa Fe River at Three Rivers Estates is already in Action Stage and expectd to rise to Minor Flood. The Ichetucknee River at US 27 is in Action Stage.

So the rains affected the Withlacoochee River above Valdosta the most, yet no spills were reported. That’s good news.

For more about water quality testing, sewage spills, and rainfall, see:

 -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!