Tag Archives: Ashlyn Johnson

Clean Rivers after Tuesday blip and before Thursday rains 2021-07-01

Update 2021-07-06: Bad Upstream, Withlacoochee River 2021-07-02.

The Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers are remarkably clean by samples Thursday, July 1, 2021. No sewage spills have been reported for Georgia.

Some bad news: something caused high E. coli in the Withlacoochee River at GA 133 on Tuesday. And Starke, Florida, had two more small spills above the Santa Fe River, but nothing like the big one that Florida city had a week ago.

The good news: according to those Tuesday tests, whatever was in the Withlacoochee River at GA 133 was not coming from Valdosta’s Mulch Yard off of Val-Tech Road. And by Thursday samples, whatever it was was gone by then.

So by the results we have right now, it’s clear for swimming, diving, fishing, and boating.

And still more good news: Madison Health has lifted its former Bacterial Advisory for the Withlacoochee River.

But beware: many inches of rain fell later Thursday and today. That usually washes more contamination into the rivers. See Cattle and hogs: Withlacoochee River water quality status 2021-06-27 https://wwals.net/?p=55966

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

Just don’t say we didn’t mention those rains yesterday and today, which in Brooks County started even earlier, and have been very heavy. If we’re all lucky, most of what manure would wash off has already washed off. We shall see.

With a dozen tests this week, we’re burning through testing materials. Thanks to Joe Brownlee, Southwest Director, Georgia Power, for another generous water quality testing grant that helps make this possible. Continue reading

Clean Rivers Again 2021-06-10

Update 2021-06-19: Clean eleven sites: Withlacoochee, Little, and Alapaha Rivers 2021-06-17.

All clear again on the Withlacoochee River, as far as we can tell, which is from US 41 at North Valdosta Road down almost to the Suwannee River. Valdosta’s results for Friday, Monday, and Wednesday at US 41, GA 133, and US 84 concur.

Also Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River, and Willacoochee Landing @ GA 135 on the Alapaha River were clean Thursday. Of course, if the predicted rains arrive, they could wash something into the rivers.

But for now, by the recent water quality results we have, happy boating, swimming, and fishing!

[Chart, Swim Guide, many river test sites]
Chart, Swim Guide, many river test sites

All the WWALS results for Thursday, June 10, 2021, were well below the 410 cfu/100 mL one-time sample limit, and most were below the 126 average limit. Thanks to Bobby McKenzie for testing at US 41 and GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River, as well as at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, plus Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River.

Thanks to Gus Cleary for samping at Cleary Bluff, which is between Allen Ramp and the Suwannee River on the Withlacoochee. All those sites are on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

And thanks to new tester Valerie Folsom for testing Willacoochee Landing @ GA 135 on the Alapaha River Wednesday, in the Alapaha River Water Trail.

Thanks to WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall for reviewing all the plates.

And thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson for getting at least the upstream Valdosta data on the Valdosta website in a timely manner. The downstream Valdosta data continues to lag two weeks behind. Continue reading

Much cleaner: Withlacoochee River 2021-04-29

Update 2021-05-03: Still clean Friday: Withlacoochee River 2021-04-30.

Despite a Quitman sewage spill last weekend, the Withlacoochee River was already much cleaner Wednesday, as found by WWALS tester Gus Cleary at Cleary Bluff below Allen Ramp. He got similar results for Thursday, confirmed by Valdosta’s upstream results for Wednesday, and Madison Health’s Florida results for Thursday.

How can this be? The massive upstream rains Saturday are coming down the rivers now, washing the contamination downstream and diluting it.

While Madison and Hamilton Counties, Florida, will probably leave their health alert in place until they get a second clean set of Florida results, I’d feel comfortable now with boating, swimming, or fishing in the Withlacoochee River.

I’d still wait a day or so for the Suwannee River downstream of the Withlacoochee.

[Results, Plates, Swim Guide]
Results, Plates, Swim Guide

We don’t have any new data for Knights Ferry or Nankin Boat Ramps (our usual testers are off this week, after discovering this problem Monday). So those two locations still show Continue reading

Bad upstream, too: Withlacoochee River water quality 2021-04-26

Update 2021-04-29: Health alert for Withlacoochee River 2021-04-27.

Valdosta results for Monday are just as bad upstream as the WWALS downstream results.

So indeed it’s best to stay off the Withlacoochee River for a few days, with bacterial counts this high for April 26, 2021. This is not a good time for boating, fishing, or swimming in the river.

The worse news is that since the Withlacoochee River was contaminated Monday at least as far upstream as US 41, that mess will keep running downstream for probably a day or so, as in it’s probably in Florida today.

The good news is that it’s not nearly as bad as a year ago under similar conditions.

[Bad upstream, water quality results and Swim Guide]
Bad upstream, water quality results and Swim Guide

Thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson for posting the Valdosta results.

We are still waiting for Madison Health’s downstream results from Tuesday.

One of our WWALS testers also drew a farther downstream sample today.

Until those or later tests show clear, better safe than sorry.

This time it can’t be just cattle manure coming down Okapilco Creek out of Brooks County, Georgia, because all three of Valdosta’s Monday results are for upstream of there. But there is a dairy and a hog farm on the Withlacoochee River upstream of Lowndes County, and at least three horse farms near the river in Lowndes County, plus many cats, dogs, chickens, deer, and septic tanks. Some of their manure was no doubt washed into the creeks and rivers by the Saturday rain. I also won’t be surprised if in a few days we start seeing sewage late reports on the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report.

This contamination is almost certainly not from the tiny FOG spill Valdosta had Friday. That one wasn’t anywhere near big enough, and US 41 is upstream of Sugar Creek, anyway. Continue reading

Valdosta FOG Manhole sewage spill 2021-04-26

2021-05-11: two weeks later, Valdosta’s FOG spill shows up on GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report, for two days earlier than in Valdosta’s press release.

This Valdosta sewage spill on Saturday was very small, mostly vacuumed up by the city, and unlikely to get the 1.89 miles down Onemile Branch to Sugar Creek, and the 1.85 miles farther to the Withlacoochee River. I think we can all agree that nobody wants sewage spills caused by Fats, Oils, or Greases. Also don’t dump your face masks into storm drains or waterways.

[FOG in manhole, 1400 Williams Street spill site, creeks to Withlacoochee River]
FOG in manhole, 1400 Williams Street spill site, creeks to Withlacoochee River

Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson prepended this note with the picture you see below: “It is important to note that while this did happen over the weekend, it was not a weather related incident. For our media partners, I am attaching an example of a previous grease blockage in our system so that you can get a visual of how grease build up can block pipes, ultimately leading to a manhole overflow.”

Continue reading

Withlacoochee advisory lifted; more FDEP DNA marker and chemical tracer data 2021-01-12

Update 2021-01-21: Clean Withlacoochee 2020-01-14 and Suwannee River tests 2021-01-18.

It’s lifted: the bacterial advisory from Madison and Hamilton Health Departments, because of two successive good sets of results from Madison Health on the Withlacoochee River, the lastest for Tuesday. And Valdosta got good results upstream for Monday. All of which corroborates the Thursday Madison Health, Friday Valdosta, and Saturday WWALS results.

[Lifted, Chart, Markers, Map]
Lifted, Chart, Markers, Map

We also have more DNA marker data from FDEP, for Wednesday, January 6, 2021, which shows continued high ruminant DNA marker results on the Withlacoochee River, this time for Horn Bridge at the State Line, plus CR 150 at Sullivan Launch, and FL 6 just above Madison Blue Spring. Plus some clarifications of what I wrote in the previous blog post.

Before we get into all that, happy boating, swimming, and fishing on the Withlacoochee River! Continue reading

Contaminated Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Suwannee Rivers 2021-01-04; cleaner 2021-01-09

Update 2021-01-14: see clarifications and updates in Withlacoochee advisory lifted; more FDEP DNA marker and chemical tracer data 2021-01-12.

The Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Suwannee Rivers were contaminated with E. coli Monday, January 4, 2021, all the way from US 41 at North Valdosta Road to US 90 below the Withlacoochee River Confluence, and probably farther downstream, according to Valdosta, Madison Health, and FDEP data for that day. We also have preliminary DNA marker results from FDEP.

The culprit? Ruminants. The only ruminants numerous enough to cause the sky-high DNA marker results for the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers? Cattle.

This is a good example of how when testing happens upstream and down, we can all tell what is going on. Florida needs to fund frequent, regular, closely-spaced water quality testing from the state line to the Gulf. Continue reading

Bad Nankin, Withlacoochee River 2020-12-28

Update 2021-01-04: Valdosta Mildred Street Sewage Spill, Alapaha River Basin 2021-01-02.

Valdosta got bad results at Nankin Boat Ramp for Monday (yesterday). Not as bad as the WWALS results for Friday, but bad enough. I’d avoid the Withlacoochee River downstream for now. We did get a good reading for Sunday upstream on the Suwannee River, though.

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

Thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson for getting the Valdosta downstream results for yesterday published today. Also in the Valdosta update were results for last Monday and Wednesday. GA 133 did improve. We don’t yet know what it or US 84 or US 41 were like yesterday. Continue reading

Valdosta data: Quitman sewage spill, Okapilco Creek, Withlacoochee River

Update 2020-12-19: Bad Knights Ferry Thursday, Withlacoochee River 2020-12-17.

Valdosta’s downstream test results show the Withlacoochee River still clean on the day of the Quitman sewage spill, Wednesday, December 9, and on that Friday and Monday, just as Madison Health and WWALS results showed for the Friday.

[Clean downstream, and likely spill sites]
Clean downstream, and likely spill sites

Valdosta did show quite high E. coli on Okapilco Creek at US 84 for the Friday, higher than WWALS saw on the Saturday.

If the spill location really was the South Highland Road Lift Station, maybe it took a few days for the contamination to ooze Okapilco Creek. Continue reading

Bad at Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River 2020-11-19

Update 2020-11-27: All green with Withlacoochee River water quality 2020-11-26.

Something bad was in the Withlacoochee River at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp Thursday, which is a big change since our post earlier today. And there is yet another possible source.

[Maps and Chart]
Maps and Chart

WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach got 933 cfu/100 mL E. coli at Knights Ferry, which is well above the 410 one-time limit.

[Bad at Knights Ferry]
Bad at Knights Ferry
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida water quality results, see
https://wwals.net/issues/testing/

Yet downstream they got 0 and 33 at Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps, which is very good. And Monday and Wednesday Valdosta got good results at US 41, GA 133, and US 84.

So what caused that bad KF result?

[Knights Ferry PetriFilms]
Knights Ferry PetriFilms

It could be Continue reading