Tag Archives: creeks

Asphalt-caused sewage spill in flooding on One Mile Branch in Valdosta 2023-12-03

Update 2023-12-04: Added Valdosta Press Release.

After the recent rains, at least two houses on Pin Oak Circle at Lakeland Ave in Valdosta flooded again, attributed to a sewer leak by residents.

[One Mile Branch crossing Pin Oak Circle in a floodplain and location maps]
One Mile Branch crossing Pin Oak Circle in a floodplain and location maps

Valdosta Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes just now on the telephone said it was caused by a piece of asphalt stuck in the sewer line. It took Utilities about an hour and 15 minutes Saturday to get it out. He did not know how it got there; maybe from previous street resurfacing. They will be doing further work today. He alerted GA-EPD Saturday, and is working on a press release this morning. It will be a spill, but probably not a major spill.

WWALS member Suzy Hall found this spill in a WALB TV story (see below). I located it by looking up the names from the story in the Lowndes County Tax Assessors Map.

One Mile Branch runs through their back yards, and we’ve seen flooding problems there before. Continue reading

Mostly clean rivers 2023-11-30

Update 2023-12-02: Sewage spills: Ashburn, GA, Live Oak, FL 2023-12-01.

We got clean results for the Alapaha and Santa Fe Rivers, and mostly for the Withlacoochee River, except for Langdale Park, where somebody dumped a dead deer.

There was some rain in the past few days, but not much. More rain is predicted for Sunday. However, most of the first flush is probably over from the previous rains. So if you like drizzly paddling or fishing or swimming in low water, you’ll probably be pretty safe from E. coli. this weekend, except downstream from Langdale Park.

In the last two weeks, two new sewage spills were reported in the Suwannee River Basin: Ashburn, Georgia, spilled 2,000 gallons on November 19, reported on November 28, into Ashburn Branch, which ends up in the Little River far upstream from Tifton, and Live Oak, Florida, spilled 10,000 gallons at its WWTP Headworks, “confined to wastewater plant site lawn and garden lime is being applied to the affected areas.” See separate report for those spills. Neither are likely to have affected the Little River or the Suwannee River.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide Map 2023-11-30]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide Map 2023-11-30

Heather Brasell tested the Alapaha River Friday a week ago at the City of Alapaha WWTP outflow and just upstream from Sheboggy Boat Ramp and go acceptable results, below the 410 cfu/100 mL one-time test limit.

Joanne Tremblay tested the Santa Fe River Tuesday, and got good results at the US 27 bridge and at US 41.

Cindy Vedas tested the Withlacoochee River Thursday at Franklinville Landing, Crawford Branch, Staten Road, and Langdale Park. All got acceptable results, except Langdale Park, where somebody had discarded a deer carcass. Why do people like that call themselves hunters?

Russ Tatum tested the Withlacoochee River Wednesday at Holly Point, between Allen Ramp and the Suwannee River, and got excellent results.

WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall reviewed all the results and some were recalibrated in the ensuing discussion.

WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman delivered testing supplies to several testers.

If you want to get trained to be a WWALS water quality tester, please fill out the form:

The most recent Valdosta results we have are for Wednesday last week and this Monday, both bad for US 41 and GA 133, but OK for US 84.

So our prediction last week that the Withlacoochee would probably be OK proved incorrect for near US 41 or GA 133.

Due to the holidays, we have no WWALS results for Thursday last week. Apparently Valdosta took both Monday and Friday off last week, since they report no results for those days.

As previously noted, Valdosta’s last downstream tests were September 1, 2023. Continue reading

Scotti and Sara Jay discovered One Mile Branch fish kill, leading to GA-EPD Consent Order 2023-09-23

Thanks to Scotti Jay Jones for discovering and photographing a fish kill on One Mile Branch a year ago, and for taking water quality samples. Thanks to Sara Jay Jones for plating those samples. Suwannee Riverkeeper reported all that to GA-EPD.

One year later, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD), levied a Consent Order on the City of Valdosta for that fish kill and various sewage spills.

[IG: Sara and Scotti Jay Jones, the GA-EPD Consent Order, location map, and fish kill]
IG: Sara and Scotti Jay Jones, the GA-EPD Consent Order, location map, and fish kill

Maybe that Consent Order and its requirements for Standard Operating Procedures will help prevent sewage spills from getting into One Mile Branch, Hightower Creek, and Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River, as well as into Knights Creek into Mud Swamp Creek, the Alapahoochee River, and the Alapaha River. There have also been many personnel changes in the Valdosta City government, and the current Acting Utilities Director so far seems like a big improvement.

And you can join Scotti and Sara and WWALS at Iche Nippy Dip Day Swim and Paddle, Ichetucknee River, Ichetucknee Headspring, 2024-01-06.

Below are links and snippets for previous WWALS blog posts during that year. Continue reading

Clean Rivers 2023-11-09

Update 2023-11-17: Mostly clean Withlacoochee River 2023-11-16.

The rivers were still clean, in yet another week with no rain: the Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Suwannee Rivers. Even famously filthy Crawford Branch was clean. However, notoriously dirty Sugar Creek was dirty, but it did not seem to affect the Withlacoochee River much.

No rain is predicted for this weekend.

In the last week, no new sewage spills were reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia or Florida.

So happy swimming, boating, and fishing this weekend!

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide Map 2023-11-09]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide Map 2023-11-09

Heather Brasell got good results for Continue reading

Sewage inside Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, Valdosta 2023-10-16

Numerous reports say Ollie’s has been closed since Monday morning, and apparently T.J. Maxx, apparently due to sewage backing up into the building, at 1200 N St Augustine Rd, Valdosta, GA 31602. This is concerning, since that building is at the top of the creek that runs into Lake Sheri, and then into the Withlacoochee River.

[Sheri Run, Lake Sheri, Withlacoochee River in WLRWT]
Sheri Run, Lake Sheri, Withlacoochee River in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT)

However, Valdosta City Marshall Josh Hunt says the issue has been fixed and the stores reopened this morning.

I also checked with Valdosta Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes, and he says the problem was entirely on private property, and did not escape the building. He also confirmed that Valdosta did not have any sewage spills during last week’s rains. Continue reading

Videos: Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council in Valdosta 2023-09-27

Yesterday I presented slides about the draft VSU & WWALS GA-EPD Seed Grant application to the Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council at their meeting in Valdosta. The slides for that presentation are on the WWALS website.

[Collage @ SSRWPC 27 September 2023]
Collage @ SSRWPC 27 September 2023

The longest item in the agenda was about the Lake Beatrice project. For more about that, see Videos: Lake Beatrice, Alapaha River, GA-EPD Seed Grants @ SSRWPC 2023-03-14.

Also, Cliff Lewis of GA-EPD talked about gradual relaxation of the moratorium on water withdrawals in the Flint River Basin and its effect on mussels.

Here is the agenda: Continue reading

Please keep Quarterman Road in agriculture and forestry –WWALS to Greater Lowndes Planning Commission 2023-08-28

Update 2023-09-17: Videos: Quarterman Road rezoning unanimously denied @ LCC 2023-09-12.

Update 2023-09-09: Packet: Board of Health appointment, two rezonings, 4 water, mosquitoes @ LCC 2023-09-11.

Thanks to the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC) for voting 7:1 to recommend denial of a proposed rezoning on Quarterman Road that would have injected 2.5-acre lots into a 5-acre minimum agricultural and forestry area.

[WWALS Letter, maps, speakers 2023-08-28]
WWALS Letter, maps, speakers 2023-08-28

Thanks to all the neighbors and others who helped get that done, with a petition, by speaking in the Public Hearing, and by calling and writing their Commissioners.

GLPC only recommends. The actual decision will be by the Lowndes County Commission at 5:30 PM, Tuesday, September 12, 2023, in Commission Chambers, second floor, 327 North Ashley Street, Valdosta, GA 31601. You can speak in that Public Hearing, as well as call and write your County Commissioners, and sign the petition.

Meanwhile, thanks to WWALS President Sara Jay for sending the letter below to GLPC. 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

Valdosta spilled 15,000 gallons of wastewater into Knights Creek 2023-08-22

2023-08-25: All 2023 sewage spills into the Suwannee River Basin 2023-08-25.

Yes, another one. Fifth Valdosta sewage spill this year in about the same location, into Knights Creek, which goes into Mud Swamp Creek, the Alapahoochee River, the Alapaha River, and the Suwannee.

I do give credit to the City of Valdosta for limiting it to only 15,000 gallons (although that is still a major spill), and for getting the press release out the next day, and before 5PM. WWALS received it at 2:01 PM.

[Location of the previous spill, and warning sign from a spill before that, Knights Creek, between E. Park Ave. and US 84]
Location of the previous spill, and warning sign from a spill before that, all into Knights Creek, between E. Park Ave. and US 84.

However, as I told WTXL after one of the previous spills, “There have been a number of things they’ve done better lately, they don’t have as bad or as frequent spills as they used to. The ideal number however is none.”

FYI, this spill is not yet in the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report.

And looking forward to some new results showing up in Valdosta’s 2023 Knight’s Creek Biological Monitoring Results.


Pictures: Sugar Creek Withlacoochee River on-land cleanup 2023-07-22

Thanks to Russell Allen McBride for leading the rerouted on-land Sugar Creek and mostly Withlacoochee River cleanup. Children and experienced adults teamed up to get the job done. We found only one big trash jam and we cleaned that one up.

Phil Hubbard came with boat and chainsaws ready to do a chainsaw cleanup, but due to the reroute there was no chainsawing.

We thanked Valdosta Assistant Utilities Director Jason Barnes for alerting us to the sewage spill contamination in Sugar Creek that caused us to reroute from a cleanup paddle to an on-land cleanup. He arrived before we left, so we thanked him again in person.

[Before, WaterGoat, Trashjam, Level log, after, Sugar Creek, Withlacoochee River 2023-07-22]
Before, WaterGoat, Trashjam, Level log, after, Sugar Creek, Withlacoochee River 2023-07-22

Yes, Vivian, there could be alligators. Continue reading