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Filthy Withlacoochee River Monday after Sunday rain 2020-06-08

Update 2020-06-10: Additional: Filthy Withlacoochee River Monday after Sunday rain 2020-06-08

Yes, again there’s a Withlacoochee River Advisory from the Hamilton and Madison County, Florida, Health Departments. But it’s not what many people automatically assume.

WWALS is putting its yellow diamond Caution signs back up. All eight Withlacoochee River Boat Ramps and Launces in Swim Guide should shortly show red for failed water quality.

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Notice the high E. coli at US 41 (North Valdosta Road), twice the high alert limit of 1,000. That is north of almost all of Valdosta. The numbers are still above alert limit but somewhat lower at GA 133 and US 84.

The really high numbers start at GA 31, at State Line Boat Ramp. And 24,196 is extremely high. See What do these numbers mean?

So the main contamination seems to be coming into the Withlacoochee River downstream from US 84. That very likely means down Okapilco Creek from Brooks County, Georgia. Which fits with 4.75 inches of rain at Dixie, GA, in the west of Brooks County and 4.7 inches at the east edge of the county on the Withlacoochee River at US 84. Since that storm, as most do, moved from east to west west to east, we can guess similar amounts of rain fell right across Brooks County. What does that spell? Cows.

Not just from one location; probably from cow pastures all over Brooks County. And maybe upstream, since more than two inches of rain fell on Moultrie.

And of course the higher-than-alert results from US 84 north are not from Brooks County. There are horse farms and cows and hogs up there, too, as well as septic tanks, domsetic pets, and wildlife in the woods. And yes, runoff from city streets. But no sewage spills have been reported. Continue reading