Category Archives: Testing

Clean rivers 2023-02-02

Happy paddling, fishing, and swimming (if you like cold) this weekend!

Yes, we are paddling tomorrow (Saturday) on the Withlacoochee River from Allen Ramp to Suwannee River State Park. If you like high water including a quarter mile paddle upstream, join us!

All the WWALS water quality tests were well within the one-time test limit.

The rains promised for yesterday mostly did not happen, so most likely not much contamination washed into the rivers.

The only sewage spill was small and at the top of the Alapaha River watersheds, and it did not appear to affect downstream water quality.

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

The city of Rochelle, Georgia, at least took less than a week to report its sewage spill. Continue reading

Fourth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2023-03-04

Valdosta, Georgia, January 30, 2021 — Join us March 4th for this annual eleven-mile river paddle, past the future site of Troupville River Camp and Nature Park, along the west side of the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin, past Valdosta’s clean outfall of its Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, with many creeks, oaks, cypresses, pines, fish, turtles, and maybe an alligator, down to Spook Bridge, so scary it has its own movie.

“Come on down to where I used to fish as a child, and with my children!” said Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter. ”This event allows our residents to come out and explore the natural beauties of Lowndes County while enjoying our waterways.”

“I am excited to partner once again with WWALS, plus this time with Lowndes County, to show people our fabulous blackwater rivers, only a few miles from City Hall and VSU,” said Valdosta Mayor Scott James. “After the largest infrastructure project and single largest financial commitment in the history of our City was made toward a completely modern sewer system, we are now exploring the next phase toward beautifying our area waterways. Council and City staff will be addressing the most cost effective way to educate our citizens and eliminate the trash littering our streets that eventually makes into our creeks and rivers. The fight will begin with further education of our friends and neighbors combined with additional focus from City staff and volunteers. I invite everyone to come out and join us for a day of fellowship on the river!”

“Welcome to this one of our many paddles,” said WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman. “We have at least one daytime river paddle a month, in Florida or Georgia, plus an evening Full Moon paddle at Banks Lake, near Lakeland, GA. If you’re ill in any way, please stay home.”

[Paddlers on the Withlacoochee River, Photo: John S. Quarterman 2022-02-19]
Paddlers on the Withlacoochee River, Photo: John S. Quarterman 2022-02-19

Come as early as 8 AM, Saturday, March 3, 2023, to Troupville Boat Ramp, Continue reading

Bad Water Quality, Creeks and Rivers 2023-01-26

Update 2023-02-03: Clean rivers 2023-02-02,

Avoid the Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers this weekend.

All three rivers tested worse for E. coli than the one-time test limit of 410 cfu/100 mL. The worst river result was at Nankin Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River, of 6,567. That contamination has probably washed past State Line Boat Ramp to Florida by now.

I’d also avoid fishing in Beaverdam Creek, Cat Creek, and especially Beatty Branch this weekend.

If you do want to fish, swim, or paddle this chilly weekend, I’d recommend the Suwannee or Ichetucknee Rivers.

But not the chainsaw cleanup tomorrow: we postponed that until February 19th.

[Chart, Creeks and Rivers, Swim Guide Map 2022-01-26]
Chart, Creeks and Rivers, Swim Guide Map 2022-01-26

All this contamination was washed into the creeks and rivers by big rains Wednesday.

No sewage spills have been reported in the last week in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida or Georgia.

So what is the contamination? Continue reading

Mostly Clean Rivers 2023-01-19

Update 2023-01-27: Bad Water Quality, Creeks and Rivers 2023-01-26.

WWALS results for Thursday and (most of) the recent Valdosta results agree: clean rivers, and happy boating, fishing, and swimming this weekend.

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

No new sewage spills have been reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia or Florida.

There’s been no rain to speak of, so nothing much has washed from creeks into the rivers, apparently not even Cat Creek.

Valdosta did get too-high E. coli for GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River for Wednesday. So avoid near there.

Other than that, Valdosta’s results for the past week corroborate WWALS’ results reported last week. Continue reading

Clean Rivers 2023-01-12

Update 2023-01-20: Mostly Clean Rivers 2023-01-19.

All three rivers tested clean in WWALS results for Thursday. And no new sewage spills have been reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida or Georgia.

However, it also rained later Thursday, more than half an inch at almost every gauge we follow.

So, by the test results, happy fishing, swimming, and boating this weekend. If you like cold.

But remember that rain of more than half an inch often washes contamination into the rivers, such as happened from Beatty Branch, Cat Creek, and Sugar Creek last Friday.

Personally, I’d pick the Alapaha or the Suwannee River for this weekend. Although with the predicted freeze, I’m not paddling this weekend.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide 2023-01-12]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide 2023-01-12

The most recent results we have from Valdosta are from Friday a week ago. Continue reading

Bad Creeks and Withlacoochee River 2023-01-06

Update 2023-01-13: Clean Rivers 2023-01-12.

WWALS found very bad results in Friday samples of upstream creeks and river sites.

Worse than the Thursday river test results.

Except Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River is back well within limits.

If I were you, I would still avoid the Withlacoochee River for a few days, at least as far down as the Little River Confluence.

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

Beaverdam Creek showed too high E. coli at Main Street (US 129), but green again at Park Street. What’s between Ramblinwood Road and Main Street to produce that contamination?

Beatty Branch showed mysteriously too high at Continue reading

Bad Upstream: Little and Withlacoochee Rivers 2023-01-05

Update 2023-01-07: Bad Creeks and Withlacoochee River 2023-01-06.

Avoid the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers this weekend.

WWALS got too high and way too high E. coli on the Little River at Folsom Bridge (GA 122) and Troupville Boat Ramp.

And almost as much too high at Hagan Bridge (GA 122) on the Withlacoochee River.

The Alapaha River still seemed OK. For boating this weekend, I’d pick the Alapaha or the Suwannee, or the Ichetucknee or the Santa Fe.

Or come to our on-land cleanup tomorrow, on the Alapaha River at Statenville Boat Ramp in Georgia and Sasser Landing in Florida.

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

No new sewage spills were reported this week in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia or Florida.

The most recent results we have from Valdosta are for upstream before the Wednesday rain that washed this contamination into the rivers. The most recent downstream Valdosta results are for last week.

WWALS collected many more water samples today, including on Cat Creek, Beaverdam Creek, Beatty Branch, and Sugar Creek, which we will report tomorrow. Valdosta presumably also tested today, but we and the public won’t see any updated Valdosta results until probably Tuesday. Continue reading

Clean Rivers 2022-12-29

Update 2023-01-06: Bad Upstream: Little and Withlacoochee Rivers 2023-01-05.

WWALS tests for Thursday upstream and downstream, and Valdosta upstream tests for Wednesday agree: clean Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers.

There was some rain last night, but probably not enough to wash much contamination into the rivers.

So happy swimming, fishing, and boating for New Years!

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide, 2022-12-29]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide, 2022-12-29

Two pollution spills have been reported this week.

On Sunday, December 18, 2022 (reported more than a week later on December 27), Ashburn, Georgia, spilled 3,000 gallons of sewage from their MLK Lift Station into Ashburn Branch, which flows into the Little River. But that’s too little and too far upstream to affect the river. Ashburn’s excuse: power failure. Maybe they should invest in a backup generator.

On Monday, December 26, 2022, the Chemours Trail Ridge South Mine southeast of Starke, Florida, spilled some unknown amount of not exactly sure what, at the top edge of the Santa Fe River Basin. Their excuse? Cold weather.

More on those spills later in separate posts. Continue reading

Mostly clean rivers 2022-12-22

Update 2022-12-31: Clean rivers 2022-12-29.

All the recent WWALS test results are quite clean, for the Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers. There was some rain Tuesday, but not enough on the drought-dry ground to wash much E. coli into the rivers, not even from Cat Creek, Sugar Creek, or Okapilco Creek.

The most recent results we have from Valdosta are for Wednesday a week ago, but they are bad for US 41 and GA 133. There’s not enough water to be boating there anyway, and it’s too cold for fishing or swimming.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide map]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide map

So if you do want to brave the freezing weather and paddle, I recommend below the Little River Confluence on the Withlacoochee River, or the Alapaha, Alapahoochee, Suwannee, Santa Fe, or Ichetucknee Rivers. Continue reading

Pretty clean rivers 2022-12-16

Update 2022-12-23: Mostly clean rivers 2022-12-22.

Update 2022-12-19: And also good water quality at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp for Saturday, December 17, 2022, test thanks to WWALS Water Quality Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall.

[2022-12-17--knights-ferry.html Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River, 2022-12-17]
2022-12-17–knights-ferry.html Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River, 2022-12-17

The Thursday rain appears to have had little effect on water quality or levels in the Little, Withlacoochee, or Alapaha Rivers.

So downstream of the Little River Confluence, as near as we can tell, happy boating, fishing, and, if you really like cold, swimming.

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

Valdosta found very high E. coli for Monday a week ago at both US 41 and GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River. This was with no rain.

Experience indicates that whatever that was, it was probably gone by Friday. Continue reading