Tag Archives: Florida Department of Health

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

Health alert for Withlacoochee River 2021-04-27

Update 2021-04-30: Much cleaner: Withlacoochee River 2021-04-29.

Received 4:17 PM yesterday, April 28, 2021: “The Florida Department of Health in Hamilton and Madison counties have issued a health alert for the Withlacoochee River, April 28, 2021.”

[Bad State Line to FL 6, Swim Guide red, Health alert]
Bad State Line to FL 6, Swim Guide red, Health alert

That was after FDEP published the Madison Health downstream results for Tuesday, which, while not as bad as the WWALS results for Monday, were still above the 410 colony-forming units per 100 mililiter (cfu/100 mL) limit for of E. coli in a single sample.

The cause? Very likely agriculture, as in cattle manure, maybe horses, likely some wild hogs, plus cats, dogs, chickens, deer, and sheep. No, it’s almost certainly not the tiny and mostly-vacuumed Valdosta FOG Manhole sewage spill of Monday. Don’t be surprised if spills from elsewhere start showing up last on the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report. But those still probably won’t be the main problem, given how widespread the contamination is.

The good news is still that Continue reading

Clean Forty Miles, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-04

Update 2021-02-11: Advisory lifted, Withlacoochee River, but big rains Tuesday 2021-02-09.

The Withlacoochee River tested clean at sites forty miles from US 41 to the state line on Thursday, February 4, 2021, in WWALS tests. We have no new data downstream, but chances are it was clean there, too. Plus the Little River at Troupville Boat Ramp was clean. The rains predicted for yesterday and today have been underwhelming, so chances are the Withlacoochee was clean into Florida, too. So according to the data we have, the Withlacoochee River is good for boating, swimming, and fishing at least from US 41 in Valdosta, Georgia, to CR 15 in Florida. Which serves us right, after we rescheduled the big paddle for today until February 27. It’s cold out there, though, and rain is still predicted.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide

However, the bacterial advisory by Madison and Hamilton Health has not been lifted. We now have four clean test results at State Line: WWALS, Valdosta, Madison Health, and WWALS again. But they probably won’t lift the Florida advisory until they get two successive clean test results themselves. Since more rain is predicted most of the coming week, don’t be surprised if they either don’t lift it for more than another week, or lift it and then issue another a few days later.

Thanks to WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach, who got zero E. coli at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, 33 at Nankin, and 133 at State Line Boat Ramp. Only that last one is above the 126 average test limit, and still well below the 410 one-time test limit. Continue reading

Bad Friday after rain, Better Sunday, Withlacoochee River 2021-01-24

Update 2021-01-29: Very bad, health advisory, Withlacoochee River 2021-01-28.

As expected, the big rains Friday caused contamination on the Withlacoochee River, according to Valdosta’s upstream data for US 41, GA 133, and US 84. Everything was clean the day before, both upstream and down. We don’t know about downstream again until I tested Sunday. While Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps were not as clean as we like, they were well within the one-time test limit of 410 cfu/100 mL E. coli. So it appears that if the downstream sites were contaminated Friday, most of that had already washed away in the rest of the rainwater by Sunday.

[KF, Nankin, SL, chart, Swim Guide]
KF, Nankin, SL, chart, Swim Guide

Apparently the Withlacoochee River is clean again, although we do not have many datapoints yet. Be warned more rain is expected today. 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 Withlacoochee, OK Alapaha 2021-01-07

Update 2021-01-11: Much better Withlacoochee River water quality 2021-01-09.

The latest Withlacoochee River results still show mostly bad water quality, surprisingly good at the State Line on Wednesday, but bad downstream. The Madison and Hamilton County Health advisory for the Withlacoochee River is still in place.

However, Sasser Landing on the Alapaha River tested OK for Wednesday.

[Bad Withlacoochee, good Alapaha]
Bad Withlacoochee, good Alapaha

The Madison Health Wednesday tests were not as horrible as for Tuesday, but they still got too high at Sullivan Launch (CR 150) and FL 6. Some of that could be from the Quitman or Tifton sewage spills, but probably most of it is from Continue reading

Very clean Withlacoochee River 2020-10-15

Update 2020-10-23: Clean Withlacoochee River Thursday for WWALS Boomerang Saturday 2020-10-22.

Update 2020-10-20: Adel spilled ten days ago; did not show up in downstream water quality data 2020-10-10.

Water quality results from WWALS and Madison Health for Thursday and from Valdosta for Wednesday concur: happy boating, swimming, and fishing on the Withlacoochee River this weekend!

While all such results are merely advisory, because conditions can change very quickly, also there has been very little rain to wash anything into the river, and no reported sewage spills.

[KF, Nankin, State Line, Results, Swim Guide, plate]
KF, Nankin, State Line, Results, Swim Guide, plate

WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach got 33 cfu/100 mL E. coli at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp for Thursday, October 15, 2020, and zero for Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps. Continue reading

Green to go, Little and Withlacoochee Rivers 2020-10-08

Happy boating, swimming, and fishing this weekend!

[Green Swim Guide and test results]
Green Swim Guide and test results

The opposite of last week’s advisory, this week all testers show quite clean results up and down the Withlacoochee River, and at Cook County Boat Ramp on the Little River, too. Continue reading

Good downstream, but recurring GA 133, Withlacoochee River 2020-08-27

Update 2020-09-01: Valdosta concurs last week, but not week before, Withlacoochee River 2020-08-28

The good news: all WWALS results for Thursday were good downstream on the Withlacoochee River, and for Tuesday from Madison Health. So as far as we can tell, happy boating, swimming, and fishing this weekend on the Withlacoochee River.

The bad news: something is still getting into the Withlacoochee River above GA 133, and it does not seem related to rainfall. This bad news has been going on too long. It really needs to be resolved for the Troupville River Park.

[Good Troupville, Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line Boat Ramps; bad GA 133]
Good Troupville, Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line Boat Ramps; bad GA 133

Thursday (yesterday) I sampled at Continue reading