Tag Archives: Cherry Creek

Four more Valdosta sewage spills 2023-12-17

Update 2024-02-22: Some Knights Creek plans in Valdosta Boone Drive and Knob Hill small sewage spills 2024-02-20.

Update 2024-01-31: Spill from Chemours Trail Ridge South TiO2 mine SE of Starke, FL 2024-01-30.

Four small Valdosta sewage spills appeared in the January 26, 2024 GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report, all listed as happening December 17, 2023, and as “Did not enter State waters”.

[Four small Valdosta sewage spills 2023-12-17]
Four small Valdosta sewage spills 2023-12-17

However, Valdosta Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes confirms that these spills did happen. Which you can see for yourself in the pictures I took on January 23 of the Mile Street spill locations.

The most unusual part of these spill reports is that bit for “WATERWAY IMPACTED”: “Did not enter State waters”. That means these spills were stopped and contained before they could reach Knights Creek or Cherry Creek. Which is impressive considering that Sunday, December 17, 2024, saw more than an inch of rain at every gauge we follow, after more than half an inch the previous day. (See below for one reservation about one of these spills.)

Nobody is going to be happy until the number of Valdosta sewage spills is zero. And WWALS continues watching closely.

However, watching also includes complimenting Valdosta Utilities when things go right. So, congratulations, Valdosta Utilities, for catching these spills before they did any damage.

Curiously, these spills did not appear in the next day’s Sewage Spills Report, or in any later days. Considering recent typos in those GA-EPD Sewage Spills Reports, I’m assuming those later omissions are due to EPD’s problems with lack of staffing and funding.

Let’s look at each of these spills. Continue reading

All 2023 sewage spills into the Suwannee River Basin

Update 2023-08-29: 8,400 gallons of sewage into Dukes Bay Canal, Valdosta, GA, due to unknown obstruction 2023-08-28.

Inquiring minds (Suzy’s) wanted to know how many times Valdosta spilled sewage this year.

Answer: nine reported, five into Knights Creek, which goes to the Alapahoochee and Alapaha Rivers, two into Hightower Creek, which goes into Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River, one into One Mile Branch, also Sugar Creek and Withlacoochee River, and one into Cherry Creek, directly into the Withlacoochee River.

Valdosta spilled 1,182,221 gallons of raw sewage, accounting for 61.93% of the total 1,908,971 gallons spilled in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia and Florida so far in 2023.

I would like to thank Valdosta Utilities Assistant Director Jason Barnes for calling the day after that most recent spill, to note that Utilties found the spill, he had personally been out there and got it stopped that same evening, and they tracked the amount with SCADA. Plus it was reported to the public and to GA-EPD the day after it happened. All that is improvement.

Of course, the only good number of spills is none, as I told WTXL after a previous spill.

[Sewage spills and WWALS water trails]
Sewage spills and WWALS water trails

Runner-up was tiny Ashburn, with 673,400 gallons, or 35.28% of the total, mostly spilled into Hat Creek, which goes into the Alapaha River, with some into Ashburn Branch, which goes into the Little River. Ashburn has had a chronic sewage spill problem for many years, and needs to get a grip. Ashburn did get some ARPA money to work on that, so maybe there will be improvement.

Also-rans included Continue reading

Maps: Valdosta Stormwater Pond Facility Clusters 2023-03-01

These maps show the locations of Valdosta’s Stormwater Pond Facility Clusters previously posted. They provide clues to where trash may be accumulating.

Most of the major creeks in Valdosta are represented, plus some that I didn’t know had names, such as Bunche Street Canal and Knob Hill Canal, as well as some that apparently do not have names.

Most (Sugar Creek, Hightower Creek, Dow Street Canal, One Mile Branch, Two Mile Branch, Three Mile Branch, Knob Hill Canal, Cherry Creek, and Browns Canal) are in the Withlacoochee River Basin.

Others (Knights Creek, Dukes Bay Canal, Bunche Street Canal) are in the Alapaha River Basin.

Several of the maps straddles several watersheds.

[Example Cluster maps]
Example Cluster maps

Below there is a pair of maps for each of the clusters: a map received from Valdosta in response to an open records request, and a map excerpt from one of the WWALS water trail maps.

The rest of the text below is from the document previously posted. Continue reading

Clean rivers 2023-02-16

Update 2023-02-25: Clean Withlacoochee River 2023-02-23.

According to WWALS results for Thursday, happy boating, swimming, and fishing in our rivers this weekend!

Provided you like high water and are prepared to deal with overhanging limbs and getting lost in the floodplain.

I might avoid the Alapaha River at Sasser Landing, due to Valdosta’s Wednesday February 15th probably major spill into Knights Creek.

Valdosta’s other two sewage spills this month, Wednesday, February 8th into Hightower Creek above Sugar Creek and Saturday, February 11th into Cherry Creek probably were too small to have any significant effect on the Withlacoochee River. The WWALS Sunday tests on Cherry Creek and the river appear to have verified that lack of effect for that one, and regular test results after the Hightower Creek one ditto.

No other recent sewage spills have been reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia or Florida: just Valdosta. Continue reading

From bad to worse: Cherry Creek 2023-02-12

Update 2024-01-28: Four more Valdosta sewage spills 2023-12-17.

Update 2023-02-17: Valdosta sewer main collapse, US 84, effects to E. Park Ave., along Knights Creek 2023-02-15.

The Withlacoochee River tested worse than Cherry Creek for E. coli both upstream and downstream from where Cherry Creek comes in, after Valdosta’s Saturday sewage spill.

[Cherry Creek tests 2023-02-12]
Cherry Creek tests 2023-02-12

So that 2,800 gallons of raw sewage apparently did not materially affect the Withlacoochee River.

But the test results mean it would be wise to steer clear of creeks and rivers for a few days. Continue reading

Cherry Creek water quality sampling after Valdosta sewage spill 2023-02-12

Update 2023-02-12: From bad to worse: Cherry Creek 2023-02-12.

Valdosta had a small sewage spill Saturday, next to a branch of Cherry Creek. It was probably too small to have much effect on the creek and even less on the Withlacoochee River. WWALS sent water quality testers out to sample anyway.

[Boys & Girls Club Lift Station, Lake Laurie Drive, The Dip, Lake Cleve, Cherry Creek 2023-02-12]
Boys & Girls Club Lift Station, Lake Laurie Drive, The Dip, Lake Cleve, Cherry Creek 2023-02-12

Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson texted me yesterday. He says the spill was first reported to Valdosta Utilities about 7:30 PM and “stopped discharging about 11:00p last night.” He was referring to Saturday, February 11, 2023.

The amount is estimated to be 2,800 gallons. That’s a minor spill (less than 10,000 gallons).

The spill was from Valdosta’s Boys and Girls Club Lift Station, 3658 Lake Laurie Drive, Valdosta, GA 31605. That’s in Valdosta City Council District 5, Tim Carroll. Continue reading

Trash cans at Freedom Park 2022-11-21

Bobby McKenzie reported yesterday, “I’m at Freedom Park and what is new? I count 11 trash receptacles strategical placed in the baseball parking lot….guess what in them..😆 trash”

[Trash cans at Freedom Park 2022-11-21]
Trash cans at Freedom Park 2022-11-21

Imagine that: trash cans in a parking lot, like Valdosta city ordinances require.

And people do use them. Continue reading

Clean Rivers 2022-06-02

Update 2022-06-11: Five Rivers Clean 2022-06-09.

Seventh week: all rivers clean! Happy swimming, fishing, and boating in the Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers.

For example, tomorrow morning, Florida Campsites to Allen Ramp, Withlacoochee River 2022-06-04.

Of course, there can be undetected local water quality problems (see below). But all the WWALS sites tested Thursday got clean results. While there is a prediction of rain today and tomorrow, if it’s like what we’ve been seeing, it will be light and won’t wash much contamination into the river. No sewage spills have been reported in Georgia or Florida in the past week. So have a good weekend.

The most recent results we have from Valdosta are for Wednesday upstream and Wednesday of last week downstream. Those were all clean, too.

But earlier contamination was detected in Valdosta results. Continue reading

Videos: One Valdosta-Lowndes, Troupville River Camp @ LCC 2021-11-08

Featuring as their number one BIG thing was “River Camp Project”, in a presentation about One Valdosta-Lowndes (OVL), which was far the longest item at 33 minutes at the Lowndes County Commission Work Session on November 8, 2021.

[One Valdosta-Lowndes, River Camp Project, Dr. Carvajal, Origins]
One Valdosta-Lowndes, River Camp Project, Dr. Carvajal, Origins

You may recognize that as Troupville River Camp, for which WWALS submitted an application to the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program (GOSP) in 2019. Back then there was no cash match available. Now both Valdosta and Lowndes County have funds to purchase Land Between the Rivers from Helen Tapp, at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River. Helen sent GA-AL Land Trust to walk the land a month ago, and probably soon a conservation easement will be worked out. Meanwhile, Troupville River Camp and Troupville Nature Park are prominently featured in the WWALS Vision for Water Quality and Access in Lowndes County Georgia 2020-12-02. That Vision was input to the Master Plan Update process for Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority (VLPRA), and the resulting VLPRA Master Plan incorporates the River Camp and other river access and facilities as priorities.

Add the possibility of Valdosta buying for parkland the 300+ acres of the Cherry Creek Mitigation Bank. And the potential for Sugar Creek downstream of Baytree as an urban recreational creek.

It’s good to see One Valdosta-Lowndes interested in river and creek access and recreation.

Below are videos by Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE), which also has the rest of the meeting. Continue reading

VLPRA Master Plan Presentation 2021-08-31

It’s a long-term vision, with strategies for funding and implementation, which includes everything needed for a Troupville River Camp at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River, and other river parks and trails. This Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Recreation Authority (VLPRA) Master Plan is based on both a statistically-representative survey and an anecdotal qualitative survey, which came up with very similar results.

[Strategy 6: Access to Rivers, Provide Additional Amenities]
Strategy 6: Access to Rivers, Provide Additional Amenities

These are the presentation slides used by David Barth in the September 13, 2021, Lowndes County Commission Work Session. His Barth & Associates helped develop the plan for the Valdosta-Lowndes Parks & Recreation Authority (VLPRA).

It’s our understanding that the WWALS Vision for water quality and access in Lowndes County, Georgia 2021-03-01 is incorporated in this VLPRA Master Plan, including Troupville River Camp, Troupville River Park, and other river recommendations.

After the slides, see also some more recent WWALS recommendations.

VLPRA Master Plan Presentation Slides

See also PDF. Thanks to Jessica Catlett of VLPRA for sending these slides.

You can see David Barth present the slides in videos by Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE). Continue reading