Category Archives: Quality

Clean Rivers 2022-04-21

Update 2022-04-28: Clean rivers again 2022-04-28.

Happy Earth Day, and good swimming, boating, and fishing this weekend!

All the test results we have are fine for this weekend. There have been no new sewage spills reported in Georgia or Florida. And no rain is predicted for a week.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide Map]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide Map

All the WWALS test results for Wednesday and Thursday were well down in clean green levels.

The most recent results we have from Valdosta are for Monday. They got too high on Okapilco Creek after the Sunday rains (presumably the usual cattle manure). But Valdosta got OK results downstream on the Withlacoochee River for Monday.

Valdosta’s Friday results corroborate what we reported last time. Continue reading

Clean Rivers 2022-04-15

Update 2022-04-22: Clean Rivers 2022-04-21.

Due to little rain, the Withlacoochee, Little, and Alapaha Rivers tested clean for last week. There has been significant rain since then, so conditions may have changed. As in E. coli may have washed down Okapilco Creek from cattle manure or from other creeks from other sources. There have been no new sewage spill reports for Georgia or Florida for the Suwannee River Basin.

Apologies for the late WWALS test results report. There were communication confusions during the holiday weekend.

[Chart, River, Swim Guide]
Chart, River, Swim Guide

Thanks to Elizabeth Brunner for testing her usual three GA 122 sites Thursday, at Folsom Bridge on the Little River, Hagan Bridge on the Withlacoochee River, and Lakeland Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River. Thanks to Gus Cleary for testing Wednesday his usual Cleary’s Bluff below Allen Ramp on the Withlacoochee River. And thanks to Sara and Scotti Jay for testing the Withlacoochee River Friday at Spook Bridge, Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps.

The most recent data we have from Valdosta is from last Monday upstream and Friday a week ago downstream. The Valdosta data for week before last corroborates our previous WWALS report. Continue reading

Still there: Two acres of trash on Valdosta City land at VLPRA HQ, above One Mile Branch 2022-03-09

As previously mentioned, there are two acres of trash on land owned by the City of Valdosta, just south of VLPRA headquarters, at the corner of Barack Obama Blvd. and Ricardo Street, Behind the Pepsi Adopt-A-Spot sign, near the top of One Mile Branch.

In Valdosta’s own Seeclickfix map, you can see the site just across Barack Obama Blvd. from a drainage canal that runs into One Mile Branch just upstream from Vallotton Park.

[Map: Seeclickfix VLPRA HQ, One Mile Branch, Vallotton Park https://seeclickfix.com/issues/12055148]
Map: Seeclickfix VLPRA HQ, One Mile Branch, Vallotton Park https://seeclickfix.com/issues/12055148

This water quality and public health problem was first reported through Valdosta’s Click ‘n’ Fix smartphone app on March 9, 2022, it got some acknowledgement after another report on March 21st, but no cleanup seems to have happened.

Some of the city officials named in these comments are scheduled to be at a meeting with WWALS this afternoon. Maybe they’re waiting on that meeting to schedule a cleanup. We shall see.

Meanwhile, notice the variety of commenters who do not work for the city. First, all the comments from the March 21st report: Continue reading

All rivers bad water quality 2022-04-07

Update 2022-04-15: Clean Rivers 2022-04-15.

Best to avoid the Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers this weekend. In very unusual results, all three were too high in E. coli at GA 122, and the Withlacoochee was way too high at Nankin Boat Ramp.

The Ichetucknee tested clean for Tuesday at TREPO’s Hodor Park.

You might try lakes that are not downstream from likely rivers, such as Banks Lake and Grassy Pond, and maybe Reed Bingham State Park, but we have no data on those lakes.

In good news, no sewage spills have been reported in Georgia or Florida. Of course, certain cities (Quitman, Ashburn) almost always report a week or more late, so stay tuned on that.

[Chart, rivers, Swim Guide]
Chart, rivers, Swim Guide

The most recent data we have from Valdosta is for Monday upstream, which was before the Wednesday and Thursday rains. So WWALS data is what we have to go on, and the WWALS results are pretty bad. Continue reading

Need stronger boom on Sugar Creek 2022-04-07

Russell Allen McBride reports from Sugar Creek:

[Boom bent, trash escaped]
Boom bent, trash escaped

Barrier got hammered by two rain events in a row.

Flow in the middle so strong folded and loosened the noodles. Continue reading

Fixed: storm drain next to Hightower Creek, Valdosta 2022-03-14

Congratulations, Valdosta, on getting this detention pond cleaned up and this private storm drain fixed. The fix didn’t even cost much. Yet it should keep some trash from going into Hightower Creek, Sugar Creek, and the Withlacoochee River.

Thanks to this property owner for pioneering such a fix. Other parking lot detention pond drains could probably apply similar inexpensive fixes.

You can help by reporting any trash or litter problem you see in Valdosta with Valdosta’s Click ‘n’ Fix smartphone app.

For trash or other problems elsewhere, here’s how to report: https://wwals.net/report/.

[Before and after]
Before and after

The drain fix is that bit of sawed-in-half pipe attached to the drain structure. It keeps trash from washing straight out. Instead, trash collects in the concrete block structure while water runs out the top. Inexpensive, yet should be effective. Continue reading

Location of Quitman sewage spill 2022-03-20

Update 2022-04-08: All rivers bad water quality 2022-04-07.

Quitman’s 48,000 gallon sewage spill on Sunday, March 20, 2022, was from the Quitman settling ponds, which are slightly uphill from Okapilco Creek. Which explains why Valdosta got too-high E. coli at US 84 on Okapilco Creek, and at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps downstream on the Withlacoochee River.

We know this location because of the response to the WWALS open records request to Quitman asking where is this “Influent Liftstation”:

GPS 30.793581, -83.544316
800 North Highland Dr

This has been going on for years. For example, the April 24, 2022 spill from the same location contaminated the Withlacoochee River and the Suwannee River probably as far as Running Springs, if not all the way to the Gulf.

The form Quitman’s contractor sent GA-EPD says the spill was not preventable. Well, according to Quitman’s permit from GA-EPD, “Power failure” is not an excuse, because the permitee is supposed to have backup power. It’s time for Quitman to find a way to prevent these spills from contaminating Okapilco Creek and the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers. This is a public health hazard.

What will the Georgia Environment Protection Division (GA-EPD) do to stop these spills from Quitman, and meanwhile to get much more timely reporting by Quitman to GA-EPD and to the public?

[Map and doc: location of Quitman sewage spill]
Map and doc: location of Quitman sewage spill

It’s only 1.10 creek miles to US 84, and 5 creek miles all the way down Okapilco Creek to the Withlacoochee River. Then 3.68 river miles more to Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, for 8.68 water miles total. At even two miles per hour, that’s less than five hours for contamination to travel. Continue reading

Estrogens and PFAS from cattle manure into rivers

We already knew E. coli was washing into the Withlacoochee (and other) rivers from cattle manure; that is one of the main reasons for our WWALS volunteer water quality testing program.

We also need to worry about estrogens and the PFAS forever chemicals, not only washing off of fields with cow-applied cattle manure, but also off of fields where manure has been applied as fertilizer.

Thanks to WWALS Science Chair Tom Potter for finding these articles.

[Shallow Disk Injection and Surface Broadcast]
Shallow Disk Injection and Surface Broadcast from Mina et. al.

Various forms of artificial estrogen are known to damage fish and other wildlife, and can affect humans. Lactating dairy cows produce natural estrogen. I have asked the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to add estrogen tests to its batter of DNA markers and chemical tracers. So far no response.

Odette Mina, Heather E. Gall, Louis S. Saporito, Peter J.A. Kleinman, Journal of Environmental Quality, 1 November 2016, Estrogen Transport in Surface Runoff from Agricultural Fields Treated with Two Application Methods of Dairy Manure,

Abstract

Continue reading

Stop the Northern Turnpike Extension un-needed toll road 2022-04-04

You can help stop the undead Northern Turnpike Extension toll road from plowing over to US 19 and then up it across the Suwannee River.

Floridians, please go to the Florida Department of Transportation’s Northern Turnpike Extension web page and tell FDOT we don’t need any more toll roads. Here’s where you can say No Build:
https://floridasturnpike.com/turnpike-projects/featured-projects/northern-turnpike-extension/

Doesn’t matter that No Build isn’t listed as an option. Tell them anyway.

[Suwannee River, Toll toad routes]
Suwannee River, Toll toad routes

Meetings

Attend your city council or county commission or Economic Development or Chamber meetings and ask them to pass a resolution against these toll roads.

Today, Continue reading

Last day to oppose HB 1150 Bad Neighbor Bill in Georgia legislature 2022-04-04

Please use this handy form: https://www.protectgeorgia.org/farm.html#/334.

[Hog CAFO manure lagoons. Photo: Kemp Burdette]
Hog CAFO manure lagoons. Photo: Kemp Burdette.

Jeff Amy, U.S. News & World Report via AP, April 1, 2022,

The Senate voted 31-23 for House Bill 1150, sending it back to the House for final approval of changes.

Today is Sine Die, the last day before the legislature adjourns until next year. So there’s no time for a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of HB 1150. The House can only vote to approve the Senate version, or not. Continue reading