Category Archives: GA-EPD

Clean rivers and creek 2024-02-14

We got good results for Wednesday for the Alapaha, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers, and Franks Creek.

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

Rain is predicted for this weekend, through Saturday. But if there is not much rain, paddling Sunday should be OK. If you like high water, since the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers are up from previous upstream rains. The Santa Fe River is coming back down. The Suwannee was never especially high.

WWALS has two outings coming up on Saturday, February 24, 2024: the morning paddle from Knights Ferry to Nankin on the Withlacoochee River, and the evening Full Snow Moon paddle on Banks Lake.

And of course don’t forget that Saturday, March 2, is the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle from Langdale Park to Troupville on the Withlacoochee River. That one is free, thanks to a generous grant from Georgia Power.

[Chart, Clean Franks Creek and Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers 2024-02-14, Map]
Chart, Clean Franks Creek and Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers 2024-02-14, Map

No sewage spills were reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida in the past week.

But one was reported in Georgia. Ashburn had a spill of 3,000 gallons of raw sewage into Ashburn Branch, which flows into the Little River. Continue reading

GA-EPD issues draft permit for TiO2 strip mine near the Okefenokee Swamp 2024-02-09

Updated 2024-02-12: Today GA-EPD updated its Public Notice to day 60 days (instead of 30 days) for the public comment period. So that appears to mean the revised final comment date is April 9, 2024.

Four years after the original application, and two weeks after publishing the miners’ revised mining plan, GA-EPD has published a draft permit for the strip mine for titanium dioxide too near the Okefenokee Swamp.

You have 30 60 days from today, February 9, 2024 to comment to GA-EPD:
twinpines.comment@dnr.ga.gov

There will be an online zoom public meeting at 6PM on March 5, 2024.
https://gaepd.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ff7nrdELQPOr0DaPwfxK3A

You can encourage the Georgia legislature to pass legislation to prevent more such mines:
https://www.gawater.org/okefenokee-swamp

And it’s a safe bet that if GA-EPD approves the final permits, lawsuits will fly.

[TPM Saunders Mine Site Layout and WWALS Aerial]
TPM Saunders Mine Site Layout and WWALS Aerial from January 10, 2021

Two weeks ago GA-EPD published the Twin Pines Minerals (TPM) Revised MLUP and Associated Documents.

Today, GA-EPD published Continue reading

Berrien County, GA, Okefenokee resolution against the proposed strip mine

Thanks to the Berrien County Board of Commissioners for passing a resolution supporting the Okefenokee Swamp and opposing the strip mine for titanium dioxide proposed by Twin Pines Minerals, LLC.

Please contact your Georgia statehouse members and ask them to protect the Okefenokee Swamp:
https://www.gawater.org/okefenokee-swamp

Ask your Georgia state Senator to sponsor a bill in the Senate:
https://wwals.net/about/elected-officials/georgia-senate/

Floridians, please ask your Georgia friends and relatives to do this.

[Berrien County Resolution No: 24-002 2024-02-06]
Berrien County Resolution No: 24-002 2024-02-06

See also the other resolutions so far.

More about this issue:
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium-mining

The Berrien County Resolution

See also PDF. Continue reading

Clean Santa Fe and Withlacoochee Rivers 2024-02-01

Update 2024-02-09: Three clean rivers 2024-02-07.

We got good results for Wednesday the Withlacoochee and Santa Fe Rivers. Valdosta’s Wednesday upstream Withlacoochee River results concur.

There is prediction of rain on Sunday, but you can get on the water before then.

So happy fishing, paddling, and swimming this weekend.

Or join us today (Saturday) for Finish: Langdale Park to Sugar Creek Chainsaw Cleanup, Withlacoochee River, 2024-02-03.

[Chart, Clean Rivers, Map 2024-02-01]
Chart, Clean Rivers, Map 2024-02-01

Sewage Spills

For once, there were more spills in Florida than in Georgia, although not all were sewage.

One sewage spill was reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia for last Friday, from Quitman. It first appeared in the Monday, January 29, 2024, GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report, with little detail. Continue reading

Nashville, Georgia, resolution opposing strip mining in or near the Okefenokee Swamp

Thank you, Nashville, Georgia, Mayor and Council, for passing a resolution supporting the Okefenokee Swamp against the proposed strip mine.

[City of Nashville Resolution and Okefenokee NWR sign]
City of Nashville Resolution and Okefenokee NWR sign

For the increasing number of these resolutions, see:
https://wwals.net/?p=57248

Please ask your Georgia statehouse members to pass HB 71. Floridians, ask your friends and relatives in Georgia to do that. And ask your city or county in Florida to also pass a resolution.

For more about this issue, see:
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium-mining/

The resolution

Continue reading

Four more Valdosta sewage spills 2023-12-17

Update 2024-01-31: Spill from Chemours Trail Ridge South TiO2 mine SE of Starke, FL 2024-01-30.

Four small Valdosta sewage spills appeared in the January 26, 2024 GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report, all listed as happening December 17, 2023, and as “Did not enter State waters”.

[Four small Valdosta sewage spills 2023-12-17]
Four small Valdosta sewage spills 2023-12-17

However, Valdosta Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes confirms that these spills did happen. Which you can see for yourself in the pictures I took on January 23 of the Mile Street spill locations.

The most unusual part of these spill reports is that bit for “WATERWAY IMPACTED”: “Did not enter State waters”. That means these spills were stopped and contained before they could reach Knights Creek or Cherry Creek. Which is impressive considering that Sunday, December 17, 2024, saw more than an inch of rain at every gauge we follow, after more than half an inch the previous day. (See below for one reservation about one of these spills.)

Nobody is going to be happy until the number of Valdosta sewage spills is zero. And WWALS continues watching closely.

However, watching also includes complimenting Valdosta Utilities when things go right. So, congratulations, Valdosta Utilities, for catching these spills before they did any damage.

Curiously, these spills did not appear in the next day’s Sewage Spills Report, or in any later days. Considering recent typos in those GA-EPD Sewage Spills Reports, I’m assuming those later omissions are due to EPD’s problems with lack of staffing and funding.

Let’s look at each of these spills. Continue reading

Five clean rivers and a clean creek 2024-01-25

Update 2024-01-28: Four more Valdosta sewage spills 2023-12-17.

We got good results for Wednesday and Thursday for five rivers: Alapaha, Withlacoochee, Ichetucknee, Santa Fe, and Suwannee, plus Mud Swamp Creek, a tributary of the Alapaha. Valdosta’s Wednesday upstream Withlacoochee River results concur.

There is a 50% chance of rain on Sunday, but you can get on the water before then.

So happy fishing, paddling, and swimming this weekend.

Or join us tomorrow (Saturday) for Try again: Langdale Park to Sugar Creek Chainsaw Cleanup, Withlacoochee River, 2024-01-27.

[Chart, Clean Rivers and Creek, Map 2024-01-25]
Chart, Clean Rivers and Creek, Map 2024-01-25

Sewage Spills

One sewage spill was reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia last Thusrday: Ashburn spilled 100,000 gallons of raw sewage into Ashburn Creek, which ends up in the Little River far above Reed Bingham State Park.

In Florida, Lake Butler reported a spill at its airport, which apparently wasn’t enough to get into any waterway, much less the New River of the Santa Fe. Continue reading

More about the Valdosta Knob Hill or Williamsburg Drive sewage spill 2024-01-10

Update 2024-01-26: Five clean rivers and a clean creek 2024-01-25.

I discovered a can of worms when I took a few pictures to illustrate the 100,000-gallon Knob Hill Road or Williamsburg Drive, Valdosta sewage spill of 10-12 January 2024.

The actual location is not quite where I was told by Valdosta Utilities. But I cut them a lot of slack for that, because they were working on getting it stopped, not precisely determining ownership of the affected properties.

[Spill site behind 215 Knob Hill Road, VALORGIS, VLPRA, Lowndes County Tax Assessors, Pebblewood Drive detention pond, Three Mile Branch]
Spill site behind 215 Knob Hill Road, VALORGIS, VLPRA, Lowndes County Tax Assessors, Pebblewood Drive detention pond, Three Mile Branch

More importantly, according to Valdosta Utilities Acting Director Jason Barnes, the cause was not as first thought a collapsed sewer main. When Utilities examined the pipes, they found rocks and some sort of lid in them.

And according to Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson yesterday, they also found other materials that never should have been in a sewer pipe. I will leave it to the City of Valdosta to reveal in their own time exactly what they found.

From the descriptions I heard, those things could not have gotten in there accidentally, and they could not have been washed into the sewer main by stormwater.

The basic point seems clear: this ten-times-major spill was not caused by failing old sewer infrastructure. It was caused by somebody putting things into the sewer pipes that never should have been there. Vandalism is one of the more polite words for that.

Plus the Mayor is making the City of Valdosta an offer of a location for a WaterGoat trash trap.

So I went Continue reading

Three Clean Rivers 2024-01-17

Update 2024-01-26: Five clean rivers and a clean creek 2024-01-25.

Update 2024-01-24: More about the Valdosta Knob Hill or Williamsburg Drive sewage spill 2024-01-10.

Update 2024-01-20: Plus clean Alapaha River, for four clean rivers.

We got good results for Wednesday for three rivers: Withlacoochee, Ichetucknee, and Santa Fe. Valdosta’s Wednesday upstream Withlacoochee River results concur.

After the light drizzle today, no rain is predicted for the weekend.

So if you like cold weather and high water, happy fishing, paddling, and maybe even swimming this weekend.

Due to high water levels, we have rescheduled this Sunday’s chainsaw cleanup to be a week later. See Try again: Langdale Park to Sugar Creek Chainsaw Cleanup, Withlacoochee River, 2024-01-27.

So the next WWALS paddle is the Banks Lake Full Wolf Moon Paddle, 2024-01-25.

[Chart, Four Clean Rivers, Map 2024-01-17]
Chart, Four Clean Rivers, Map 2024-01-17

Sewage Spills

No sewage spills were reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida since the last week.

Ashburn, Georgia, had yet another sewage spill into Ashburn Branch from its MLK Lift Station. It showed up in GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report for Thursday, January 18, 2024, as happening that same day. This spill 1,500 gallons for Spill Primary Cause “Other”. Ashburn Branch joins the Little River upstream of the Coverdale Highway Bridge, and far upstream of Reed Bingham State Park.

Valdosta’s 100,000 gallon sewage spill into Three Mile Branch to the Withlacoochee River showed up in GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report for Wednesday, January 16, 2024. It shows the spill location as “213 Knob Dr/1020 Williamsburg Dr.”

I talked to Valdosta Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes about this spill Wednesday in Atlanta. He says the sewage came up out of a manhole at 213 Knob Hill Drive, which he considers the “backside of Williamsburg Drive.” Also, it turns out it was not a collapsed sewer line. Utilities found rocks and some sort of lid in the pipe. They don’t know how that stuff got in there. I’m beginning to wonder whether it was vandalism. Continue reading

Chant for the Okefenokee –Jane Ross Fallon 2024-01-04

As Jane Fallon sings,

There is no right way
To do the wrong thing.

[Movie: Chant for the Okefenokee --Jane Ross Fallon (8.5M)]
Movie: Chant for the Okefenokee –Jane Ross Fallon

You can help stop a strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp for titanium dioxide for white paint:
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium-mining

Georgians, ask your statehouse delegation to pass HB 71 to stop further such mines on Trail Ridge east of the Swamp.
https://protectgeorgia.org/okefenokee/#/366/

Floridians, ask your friends and relatives in Georgia to do this, and ask the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to ask the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to deny the permits for this single point source of pollution upstream of Florida.

Jane Ross Fallon wrote, “I recently won the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest. The contest video of my performance did not turn out, and it was suggested I film one myself. John S. Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper, sent me a banner to use. So I made a video with my cell in my house. I didn’t think the sonic quality of the phone was adequate, so I recorded the song on my computer, overdubbing the video. Never done that before. Then I decided, it’s not about me, it’s about the song and its purpose. So I made a more elaborate presentation. Let me know if it works.😏”

Lyrics

Here is Jane’s video of her Chant for the Okefenokee.
https://youtu.be/UQx9eEWbEcI Continue reading