Tag Archives: Alapaha River

All green with Withlacoochee River water quality 2020-11-26

Thanks to WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach, we have clean water quality results for Thursday for Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps on the Withlacoochee River. The most recent Valdosta results we have are for Monday, also clean all the way to the state line. The most recent Florida results are from Thursday a week ago, also clean from the state line to FL 6. So whatever that was in the river at Knights Ferry Thursday a week ago, it’s long gone.

There has been little rain, so chances are the Withlacoochee River will remain clean for the weekend. Happy boating, swimming, and fishing!

Thanks to WWALS testers Josh and Angela Duncan, we have a clean Alapaha River result for Sasser Landing for Wednesday. Have fun on the Alapaha, as well!

[Pictures, Results, Map, Plates]
Pictures, Results, Map, Plates

I’ve marked all the Withlacoochee River “beaches” green on Swim Guide. Continue reading

Horrendous water quality at GA 133 & US 84 Wednesday, clean downstream 2020-11-12

Update 2020-11-16: Better now, Withlacoochee River water quality 2020-11-14.

We’ve never seen anything quite like this.

Valdosta got 137,600 cfu/100 mL E. coli for Wednesday at GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River. That’s 137 times the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream alert limit of 1,000.

That’s far higher than the highest E. coli reading we’ve ever seen for the Withlacoochee River, which was the 39,000 Valdosta got on December 10, 2019, just after its infamous record spill. Which at least makes it unlikely that this contamination is coming from Valdosta.

Even the 85,600 Valdosta got for US 84 Wednesday is higher than that previous record at GA 133, and far above unprecedented for US 84. The previous US 84 record was 1,505 on April 1, after a big rain.

GA 133 is the same place Valdosta keeps finding very high E. coli and Fecal coliform, including 11,600 E. coli Friday a week ago. There has not been any rain. Which makes it very unlikely that this is runoff from farm animals.

[Horrendous upstream, clean downstream]
Horrendous upstream, clean downstream
Photos: Michael and Jacob Bachrach at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, Thursday, November 12, 2020.

Yet Valdosta’s Wednesday downstream water quality results were all good, as were those by WWALS and Madison Health for Thursday.

According to the latest water quality results downstream of US 84, things look great for the Withlacoochee River this weekend. But I have to tell you I wouldn’t get in that water without more sampling.

I wish I could tell you what caused this, but so far I can only say a few things it’s not, and then speculate. Continue reading

Letter: WWALS to FDEP and SRWMD: acquisitions, invitations, withdrawals, water quality testing 2020-11-10

Sent yesterday afternoon after the morning SRWMD board meeting.


November 10, 2020

To: Noah Valenstein
Secretary, FDEP
Noah.Valenstein@floridadep.gov

Hugh Thomas
Executive Director, SRWMD
Hugh.Thomas@srwmd.org

Sen. Keith Perry
Perry.Keith@flsenate.gov

Cc: Scott R. Koons
E.D., Rivers Task Force
koons@ncfrpc.org

Re: land acquisitions, event invitations, water withdrawals, and water quality testing

Dear Secretary Valenstein, Director Thomas, and Sen. Perry,

This morning I spoke via gotowebinar in the SRWMD Board Meeting. This letter expands on what I said.

[WWALS letter to FDEP and SRWMD]
WWALS letter to FDEP and SRWMD
PDF

I offered compliments, a suggestion, and a recommendation on the FDEP press release of yesterday: Continue reading

Horrid quality at GA 133 Friday, but good downstream and Saturday 2020-11-07

2020-11-13: Horrendous water quality at GA 133 & US 84 Wednesday, clean downstream 2020-11-12

Something bad got in the Withlacoochee River between US 41 and GA 133 on Friday: very bad, eleven times the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream alert limit for E. coli. But downstream water quality results by Valdosta Friday at US 84 and by WWALS down to the State Line show nothing unusual. Whatever it was maybe hadn’t gotten that far. Valdosta downstream results for Monday (today) and FDOH results for Tuesday may be interesting.

Once again, nothing at US 41 or GA 133 can be due to last Tuesday’s Tifton spill, because Tifton is on the Little River, and those places are on the Withlacoochee River upstream of the Little River Confluence.

So what caused those very bad GA 133 Valdosta results? It’s hard to avoid thinking somebody dumped into the river. When this phenomenon just started, rumor had it that GA-EPD had found the culprit, which was a private company. If so, there must be more than one, or whoever it was is back at it.

[Many locations]
Many locations

We also have Friday WWALS datapoints for Naylor Beach on the Alapaha River and for Royal Spring on the Suwannee River, both good. Continue reading

Odd water quality upstream, Withlacoochee River 2020-11-04

Update 2020-11-07: Horrid quality at GA 133 Friday, but good downstream and Saturday 2020-11-07

We don’t know what that contamination was upstream Wednesday on the Withlacoochee River at US 41 and GA 133. Rain didn’t cause it, because there was no rain.

We do know it was not the Tuesday Tifton spill, because that was into the Little River, which joins the Withlacoochee River downstream of GA 133.

We can speculate that whatever it was should be reaching the state line about now, or at least Knights Ferry. But we don’t know, because we have no downstream data: neither Valdosta nor Madison Health have reported anything below US 84 since last week, and our usual Thursday testers are out of commission this week.

[Chart and Map]
Chart and Map

So it’s hard to say what Withlacoochee River conditions might be right now.

[What's that?]
What’s that?
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida results, see
https://wwals.net/issues/testing/

Maybe FDEP will report Withlacoochee River results in the morning.

Meanwhile, we did get good news for the Alapaha River Sunday, November 1, 2020, from WWALS tester Renee Kirkland: good quality at Sheboggy (US 82) and Statenville.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

SRWMD Board immune to conflicts of interest; Lands Committee buying many parcels 2020-11-10

SRWMD Board members are immune to conflicts of interest if companies they have contracts with or are employed by companies that have cost-share agreements with the District. Such agreements include at least one dairy; I don’t know whether any SRWMD Board members are involved in that.

The Lands Committee is buying up many parcels, which is probably a good thing.

Also, apparently Charles Keith is Treasurer now, not Richard Schwab. While they still only have six of nine board members. Wasn’t a seventh one appointed by the governor?

[Conflict, Cost-Share, Land Purchases]
Conflict, Cost-Share, Land Purchases

There is nothing on the agenda about Nestlé or M-CORES, but that won’t stop anyone from talking about those things in Public Comments.

They meet 9AM Tuesday, 10 November, 2020. You can attend tomorrow morning’s meeting from anywhere. If you want to speak, you must sign up on the public comment form as well as for the webinar and the voice call-in number.

The Meeting will be conducted via GoTo Webinar for Presentations Only

GoTo Webinar Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2119912704840872974

Separate Call-In Number for Audio

Toll Free 1-888-585-9008 – Conference Room Number: 704-019-452 #

Public Comment Form Link: www.MySuwanneeRiver.com/Comments

The SRWMD Board and Lands Committee packets are on the WWALS website, along with images of each page. Continue reading

Waterkeepers Florida Against FDEP Assumption of Army Corps CWA 404 permitting 2020-11-02

Waterkeepers Florida, representing all fourteen Waterkeepers of Florida, wrote to U.S. EPA and FDEP yesterday objecting to FDEP’s plan to take over water permitting from the Army Corps of Engineers. FDEP hasn’t even kept up with the responsibilities it has, and is in no way prepared to take on a much heavier load. Suwannee Riverkeeper voted for this letter, which was also signed by many other organizations, including OSFR and Paddle Florida.

Please vote today for people who will support clean water.

[Opposition and Addendum Letters]
Opposition and Addendum Letters

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP)’s list of waterways it plans to assume (see FDEP’s Appendix A) omits numerous navigable waterways previously listed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Checking all the Florida rivers that empty into the Gulf of Mexico, I found that most of them were included by FDEP, except not the Suwannee River or its tributaries (many creeks, Lake Santa Fe, and the Santa Fe, New, Ichetucknee, Alapaha, Alapahoochee, and Withlacoochee (north) Rivers), not the Withlacoochee (south) River nor its tributaries such as the Rainbow River, and not the Ochlockonee River nor its tributaries, such as Lake Talquin. I added 30 Suwannee River Basin waterways and 24 others to the Waterkeepers Florida list of missing waterways, which is the main subject of the Addendum letter (see PDF). The Addendum also contains copies of several letters previously sent to FDEP: an opposition letter similar to the one to EPA, a request for Public Hearings, and a request that online rulemaking hearings be discontinued until the pandemic allows holding them in person.

Opposition Letter

Here is a transcription of the letter to EPA. See also the PDF.

Don’t forget to vote for clean water. Continue reading

Ashburn spilled sewage three times in September 2020-09-27

Update 2020-10-17: Very clean Withlacoochee River 2020-10-15.

Ashburn, Georgia, spilled 210,000 gallons of raw sewage spread over three times in September and the public only got notified Wednesday, four weeks after the first spill. There’s not enough water quality testing data downstream from those spills to know what effects they may have had for example on Reed Bingham State Park.

[Charts and Map: Ashburn spills to GA-FL line]
Charts and Map: Ashburn spills to GA-FL line

Ashburn spilled once into Hat Creek, which runs into the Alapaha River, and twice from its MLK Lift Station into a tributary of Ashburn Branch, which runs into the Little River. We don’t have any data downstream on the Alapaha for that time period, so we don’t know anything about downstream effects. We do have quite a bit of downstream data for the other two spills, but so far downstream and with so many other things going on that it’s hard to tell if there were any effects showing up in that data.

About the only thing we know for sure is it would be great for Ashburn to get a grip on its chronic sewage spill problem, starting by at least reporting spills in a timely manner. That and it would be great if the state of Georgia or the federal government would resume testing on the Little and Alapaha Rivers as they apparently used to do up until about 1998, so we would know, for example, did this spill affect Reed Bingham State Park.

These are the spills, as reported in the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) Sewage Spills Report. WWALS commends GA-EPD for those online reports. GA-EPD can’t publish spills until it receives reports from the spilling organizaiton. Maybe Ashburn could be a bit more timely in reporting. Continue reading

Who’s the Chair and the Board? Land purchase and toll roads @ SRWMD 2020-10-13

On tomorrow morning’s 9AM Board Consent Agenda is acquisition of ten acres on the Withlacoochee River in Hamilton County near Georgia. The toll roads (M-CORES) are on the Workshop agenda for after the board meeting, along with Water Quality Review, Poe Springs, and Rum Island Park. There’s nothing about Nestlé, but that doesn’t have to stop you talking about it in Public Comments.

News reports say seven of nine positions have been filled, but their own Current Governing Board Members web page only shows five for the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) Board. That page says Virginia H. Johns is still the Chair, but last month she handed the gavel to Richard Schwab, even though he is still listead as the Vice Chair.

[Board, Drufner Tract]
Board, Drufner Tract

You can attend tomorrow morning’s meeting from anyway. If you want to speak, you must sign up on the public comment form as well as for the webinar and the voice call-in number.

The Meeting will be conducted via GoTo Webinar for Presentations Only

GoTo Webinar Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6241426543382591502

Separate Call-In Number for Audio

Toll Free 1-888-585-9008 – Conference Room Number: 704-019-452 #

Public Comment Form Link: www.MySuwanneeRiver.com/Comments

Who’s the Chair? Who’s the Board?

Interesting note in the minutes from the 3PM September 8, 2020, meeting: Continue reading

Quitman, GA, April 2020 spill cause of contamination in Withlacoochee River? 2020-04-24

The recent Georgia spills are now in the WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida water quality data.

Other than the very large December 2019 Valdosta spill, none of the spills (except one) obviously correlate with high E. coli as tested.

Which one? The April 24, 2020, Quitman spill, which may have been seen four days later at Running Springs on the Suwannee River.

[Withlacoochee, Quitman spill, Running Springs, Suwannee]
Withlacoochee, Quitman spill, Running Springs, Suwannee

Continue reading