Update 2020-06-16: All eight Withlacoochee River landings green 2020-06-14
Valdosta’s Wednesday Knights Ferry result is not pretty: 2,300 cfu/100 mL E. coli, far over the 1,000 alert limit. Previously, I said we wouldn’t turn Swim Guide green until we saw that result. Plus, much more rain fell Friday on Lowndes and Brooks Counties, Georgia. Also, Valdosta got 1,500 on Okapilco Creek at US 84, even worse than the 833 I got there that same Wednesday (see yellow highlighted area).
So, Swim Guide stays red for the Withlacoochee River in Georgia. But Swim Guide goes green for Florida; see below. See also below for the Little and Alapaha Rivers.
WWALS will test tomorrow. You can help.
After two consecutive days of good results from the state line downstream (see green highlighted area), the Florida Department of Health lifted yesterday, June 12, 2020, the Advisory they issued June 9, 2020. Continue reading
The Withlacoochee River from the state line to the Suwannee River looked much better Wednesday, according to FDEP results.
Upstream on the Withlacoochee and Little Rivers and two out of three creeks in Brooks County, not so good, according to samples I took Wednesday.
Valdosta’s Wednesday results fill in US 41 (North Valdosta Road), GA 133, and US 84 on the Withlacoochee River. We await Valdosta’s Knights Ferry and Nankin Boat Ramp results.
Meanwhile, you can help.
Thanks to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for testing from GA 31 as far downstream as US 90.
But where did the contamination go? Did it get diluted? Or did it just wash farther downstream? Continue reading
2020-05-13: A clean week, Withlacoochee River 2020-05-08.
More good news! The Withlacoochee River is still clean. Of course, all these posts are advisory, because conditions can change at any time, it takes 24 hours to process a sample, and everyone’s reactions are different to E. coli and other pollution.
We can guess the Suwannee River is clean, although nobody is testing it, and it seems to have its own sources of contamination.
This clean spell will probably last until the next big rain, which may be some weeks away. So now’s a good time to get out there on our rivers, where you can easily stay 50 feet apart on the water and six feet on land.
WWALS continues water quality testing, and you can help.
State Line Boat Ramp Photos: Suzy Hall, downstream, John S. Quarterman of 2019 WWALS Boomerang paddle race, and of Waterkeepers Florida toast to Earth Day, all at State Line Boat Ramp.
We’re even thinking of taking down our yellow diamond Caution signs for now.
Thanks to Madison Health for the most recent results, from Continue reading
WWALS testers Conn and Trudy Cole noted for these four Saturday test stations: “All of these were high and flowing fast.” Also dirty. You can help WWALS buy supplies for water quality testing.
You don’t even have to be a trained tester to tell none of those Petrifilms looks good, and that bottom row is by far the worst.
|444||Little River @ GA 76 (Cook County Boat Ramp)|
|1,200||Withlacoochee River @ US 84|
|900||Okapilco Creek @ US 84|
|TNTC||Crooked Creek @ Devane Road|
All four locations were above the 410 single-sample limit, and two were above the 1,000 alert limit.
As expected, every location tested was filthy. Crooked Creek at Devane Road was so much higher that it could only be recorded as Too Many To Count (TNTC). That’s in the left middle of this map, where Continue reading
I put back up a WWALS Caution sign at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp yesterday because of recent bacterial results on the Withlacoochee River; our signs are still up at Nankin and State Line. Thanks to WWALS testers and Madison Health, we have a pretty good picture of creeks and Withlacoochee River health yesterday, to add to what Valdosta got Wednesday. More WWALS testing this weekend. You can help.
And you can watch the livestream Saturday morning (probably today when you read this), April 18, 2020, starting at 8AM, as we demonstrate cleaning up and posting water trail signs at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp. Look for the livestream on the facebook event.
You can’t see E. coli, but you can see trash, such as this at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, Thursday, April 16, 2020. That location had much less E. coli, 233 cfu/100 mL, than only two days before, as did State Line Boat Ramp and CR 150 (Sullivan Launch), but Nankin Boat Ramp had 800 and Florida 6 had 538, just above Madison Blue Spring. Okapilco Creek was OK at US 84, with 166, but Crooked Creek at Devane Road was horrid with TNTC, Too Numerous to Count. See also What do these numbers mean? Continue reading
Update 2020-03-26: Cleaner downstream with no rain 2020-03-24.
Two days after rain, Crooked Creek was still filthy Friday. Some of that probably got into the Withlacoochee River. WWALS continues testing. You can help.
This is in Brooks County, Georgia.
Crooked Creek at Monument Church Road was bad enough, 1,366 cfu/100 mL E. coli, which is above the Georgia Adopt-A Stream alert level of 1,000. See also what do these numbers mean?
The stench was mostly coming from Continue reading
Tuesday data from Lowndes County, Georgia, shows much better water quality in Okapilco Creek upstream from Quitman and in the Withlacoochee River downstream. Remember, Lowndes County has its own sewer system, which did not spill. And one of Lowndes County’s results for the previous week is very interesting.
The most recent data we have from Valdosta and Florida is for Monday. WWALS has not tested this week because of rain, but soon. You can help.
Yesterday and today, five inches of rain fell on Tifton, and all that water is washing downstream, with the Withlacoochee already in flood at Pinetta.
Map: Quitman to Withlacoochee River.
In the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.
In the above map, northeast of Quitman near Okapilco Creek, are the Quitman sewage settling ponds, which Continue reading
The good news: both Valdosta and FDEP are posting testing results on their websites. There’s a catalog of those and WWALS’ results at wwals.net/issues/testing/.
The better news: Valdosta is testing three times a week, FDOH once a week, and FDEP is testing again, after saying it wouldn’t.
The really bad news: Thursday test results say stay off the Withlacoochee River at least from Knights Ferry on down, and the Suwannee River from the Withlacoochee Confluence at least down to Dowling Park.
The WWALS results from my Monday samples may help explain this contamination, and it looks like you can see it flow from Crooked Creek through Okapilco Creek to the Withlacoochee and the Suwannee. You can help.
But Valdosta’s Wednesday results also show contamination at US 41, upstream of Valdosta. And FDEP shows a spike at Dowling Park again. So there are multiple sources, not only in Brooks County, Georgia, but also elsewhere. The good news for Valdosta is it doesn’t seem to be coming from Valdosta.
WWALS continues to work on locating sources of contamination. For example, two of us visited the Quitman Land Application Site Wednesday. More on that in another blog post. WWALS testers will be sampling this weekend.
I took samples on Crooked Creek again Continue reading
Something is still getting into Okapilco Creek, and even more into its tributary Crooked Creek. For last week, we could follow it downstream way into Florida, using data from WWALS, Valdosta, and Florida Departments of Health. Fortunately, Friday the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers were within health limits from US 41 above Valdosta down past Branford. You can help.
State Line Boat Ramp
Photo: Suzy Hall. Somebody stole all our signs from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, but we will reprint and replant. If you want a sign to hang on your wall, you can just buy it from WWALS; prices are reasonable.
Possible sources of contamination getting into Okapilco Creek and then into the Withlacoochee River from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp on down include (but are not limited to) the Quitman Land Application Site (LAS), a sewage settling pond and another sewage pond, and lots of cows. We continue testing to find out.
Whatever it was, it went way down the Suwannee mid-week last week, maybe even as far as Rock Bluff Ramp at CR 340 below Branford. Yet what I detected on Crooked Creek Friday didn’t even make much of a mark on Continue reading