Category Archives: Testing

Training: Water Quality Testing, 2022-09-10

You can learn how to help test water quality in the Suwannee River Basin.

WWALS testing trainer Gretchen Quarterman will do the classroom portion of the course by zoom, followed by hands-on practical training at a waterway with physical distancing. This is both Chemical and Bacterial training by Georgia Adopt-A-Stream (AAS) methods.

Yes, we can and do use this in Florida as well as Georgia.

[Map and table, Georgia AAS]
Map and table, Georgia AAS

We currently have testers on the Little, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Ichetucknee, and Santa Fe Rivers.

We need more of those, and also for the Alapahoochee and Suwannee Rivers, as well as Cat Creek, Beatty Branch, Sugar Creek, and especially Okapilco Creek and Crooked Creek, plus others.

For more, see: https://wwals.net/testing/

Sign up: https://forms.gle/37DawiGAJYoyqtPKA Continue reading

Rivers probably OK water quality 2022-08-04

Chances are the rivers are OK today for this weekend.

The test results we have for Thursday from WWALS and for Wednesday from Valdosta are all good. No new sewage spills have been reported in Georgia or Florida in the Suwannee River Basin.

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

However, there was more than an inch of rain on the west side of Brooks County, Georgia, yesterday. We don’t know whether that washed any cattle manure down Okapilco Creek into the Withlacoochee River. That rain fell in the afternoon, after testing times, and our downstream WWALS testers are off this week anyway. More rain is predicted every day for a week. Continue reading

Madison Health lifts Withlacoochee River Health Advisory 2022-07-29

Update 2022-08-05: Rivers probably OK water quality 2022-08-04.

Madison Health has lifted its Health Advisory for the Withlacoochee River, after two days of good results.

Crossed in the email: that came in while I was finishing Good Water Quality, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2022-07-28.

[Advisory Lifted, Underlying Data 2022-07-29]
Advisory Lifted, Underlying Data 2022-07-29

The FDOH data is not yet in floridadep.gov/dear/watershed-monitoring-section/content/suwannee-river-basin-sampling-locations, but Lisa B. Hayes of Madison Health emailed them to us, and here they are in the WWALS composite spreadsheet, along with the Valdosta and WWALS results for Wednesday and Thursday. Continue reading

Good Water Quality, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2022-07-28

Update 2022-08-05: Rivers probably OK water quality 2022-08-04.

Update 2022-07-29: Madison Health lifts Withlacoochee River Health Advisory 2022-07-29.

Happy boating, swimming, and fishing on the Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little Rivers this weekend, according to the most recent water quality test results we have.

No significant rain has fallen in the past two days, and none is predicted for the weekend. And no significant new sewage spills have been reported, so chances are good for all weekend.

Madison Health has not yet lifted its Withlacoochee River Health Alert, because they want successive good results. But we call them according to the most recent data we have.

And happy chainsawing and picking up trash tomorrow on the Withlacoochee River next to Valdosta.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide 2022-07-28]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide 2022-07-28

Valdosta’s results upstream were OK for Wednesday a week ago, Friday, Monday, and this Wednesday, but they were various colors of bad downstream for those same days. Thanks to Scott Fowler of Valdosta Utilities for getting those results updated on Valdosta’s website today. Continue reading

Valdosta Sewage Spill, Sheri Run, Springhill Drive 2022-07-25

Update 2022-07-29: Good Water Quality, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2022-07-28.

Valdosta had an 840-gallon sewage spill Monday, July 25, 2022. It probably did not affect the Withlacoochee River, but nearby residents may be concerned.

[Detail and area maps]
Detail and area maps

It was about 400 feet upstream on Sheri Run from the Baytree Road spill of July 9th. Continue reading

Madison Health Alert, Withlacoochee River 2022-07-25

Yesterday evening at 7:12 PM we got a Health Alert for the Withlacoochee River from Madison Health. I informed them Friday evening of the WWALS test results for Thursday showing bad water quality at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps.

[Chart, Alert, Swim Guide]
Chart, Alert, Swim Guide

No new sewage spills have been reported in Georgia or Florida, although you can see an old one peeking in from the left on the chart: High Springs 500-gallon sewage spill, mostly cleaned up 2022-07-07. Meanwhile, there was heavy rain Sunday on both sides of Brooks County, Georgia: 2.19″ on the west at Dixie, and 1.57″ on the east on the Withlacoochee River at US 84. So it’s likely there was heavy rain across Brooks County, which quite likely washed more cattle manure into Okapilco Creek and then into the Withlacoochee River. Continue reading

Bad Quality Withlacoochee River 2022-07-21

Update 2022-07-29: Good Water Quality, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2022-07-28.

Update 2022-07-26: Madison Health Alert, Withlacoochee River 2022-07-25.

Update 2022-07-23: High Springs 500-gallon sewage spill, mostly cleaned up 2022-07-07.

Avoid the Withlacoochee River this weekend for fishing, swimming, and boating.

Try the Little, Alapaha, or Alapahoochee Rivers, or the Suwannee River upstream from the Withlacoochee River Confluence.

[Chart, River, Swim Guide 2022-07-21]
Chart, River, Swim Guide 2022-07-21

WWALS tested a record 18 sites Thursday, thanks to Elizabeth Brunner, Michael and Jacob Bachrach, and Gus CLeary, with WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall reviewing all the plates.

We didn’t find much upstream, except too high on Beatty Branch at Cat Creek Road.

I did take DNA samples on Cat Creek at Cat Creek Road and on the Withlacoochee River at US 41, so maybe we’ll see what’s getting into the waterways upstream. Continue reading

Videos: Suwannee Riverkeeper on Scott James radio 2022-07-19

Songwriters, don’t forget to send in your song to the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest by tomorrow, July 20, 2022! Really final deadline this time.

[Movie: Intro: Suwannee Riverkeeper and WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.]
Movie: Intro: Suwannee Riverkeeper and WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.

Valdosta Mayor Scott James and Suwannee Riverkeeper talked about that and many other topics on his radio show this morning.

Here’s a Continue reading

Withlacoochee River OK, Cat Creek bad 2022-07-14

Update 2022-07-22: Bad Quality Withlacoochee River 2022-07-21.

All clear for fishing, swimming, and boating on the Withlacoochee, Little, and Alapaha Rivers, according to the latest water quality test results we have.

But avoid Cat Creek and Beatty Branch for fishing. See below. (I don’t know anybody crazy enough to boat or swim in those creeks.)

There hasn’t been much rain the past few days, so probably not much contamination will wash into the rivers. No sewage spills have been reported in Florida or Georgia, other than Valdosta’s 200 gallon sewage spill on Baytree Road, which they vacuumed up quickly enough that probably little if any ever reached the Withlacoochee River.

Thunderstorms could change things quickly, but that’s what we know now.

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

Thanks to Scott Fowler of Valdosta Utilities for forwarding Valdosta test results soon after they are finished, so we know that Valdosta E. coli results were good for Wednesday and Monday at US 41, GA 133, and US 84. And we know Valdosta’s US 41 and GA 133 results for last Friday, July 8, 2022, were sky-high: 4,700 and 5,200 cfu/100 mL, respectively. The alert limit is 1,000.

Those high results could not be related to the July 9th Valdosta spill, because it hadn’t happened yet. That E. coli is probably not coming from Valdosta, since US 41 is upstream of almost all of Valdosta. Sure, something could be coming down Cherry Creek through Lake Cleve into the river, or it could be septic tanks in houses around there, or septic tanks across the river in Lowndes County.

Since high E. coli keeps turning up at US 41 and GA 133, WWALS set out to find out where it is coming from. Continue reading

Five Rivers Clean 2022-07-07

Update 2022-07-15: Withlacoochee River OK, Cat Creek bad 2022-07-14.

According to ten WWALS Thursday test sites on five rivers, and Madison Health lifting their Withlacoochee River Health Advisory, five rivers tested clean Thursday.

There was substantial rain yesterday, but since previous rains probably washed off the worst stuff, most likely there won’t be much effect on the rivers.

Happy boating, swimming, and fishing this weekend!

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

The most recent Valdosta data Continue reading