Tag Archives: GA EPD

Tifton 7,000-gallon sewage spill, Golden Road above Little River 2024-02-12

Update 2024-02-23: Ribbon cutting for Water Quality Testing Lab at Valdosta Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant 2024-03-05.

A major spill takes 10,000 gallons, so Tifton spilled less than that at 7,000 gallons, making it a minor spill.

[Tifton Golden Road 7,000-gallon sewage spill into Little River 2024-02-12]
Tifton Golden Road 7,000-gallon sewage spill into Little River 2024-02-12

According to the February 19, 2024, GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report, this Tifton spill happened February 12, due to power failure.

Tifton, like Ashburn, may want to invest in some backup generators.

The location given by GA-EPD is 803 E. Golden Road, into “Gum Creek”.

[803 Golden Road, Tifton, Spill of 2024-02-12 in GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report 2024-02-19]
803 Golden Road, Tifton, Spill of 2024-02-12 in GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report 2024-02-19

That address is just west of the Golden Road Lift Station that has been the location of previous spills, including:

The excuse each time was power failure or equipment failure. Continue reading

Valdosta Boone Drive and Knob Hill small sewage spills 2024-02-20

Update 2024-02-22: Tifton 7,000-gallon sewage spill, Golden Road above Little River 2024-02-12.

This Tuesday, February 20, 2024, we learned of two small Valdosta sewage spills, each 100 gallons. That’s not enough to get down the creeks to affect the Withlacoochee River, but enough to stink up the neighborhood.

[Map, Boone Drive & Knob Hill 100-gallon sewer spills, Valdosta, GA, 2024-02-20]
Map, Boone Drive & Knob Hill 100-gallon sewer spills, Valdosta, GA, 2024-02-20

One was on Boone Drive at Baytree Road, next to Valdosta State University and One Mile Branch, which runs into Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River.

The other was at 215 Knob Hill Road on a ditch that runs into Three Mile Branch at the southeast corner of Langdale Park, then into the Withlacoochee River near the southwest corner of the park. That’s the same location as the much larger January 10 spill.

I learned about the Boone Drive spill when I called Valdosta Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes Tuesday morning about the Knob Hill spill.

Neither of these spills has yet appeared in the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report. Jason Barnes says he already sent a report on the Boone Drive spill to EPD, and he will send one soon about the new Knob Hill spill. Continue reading

Okefenokee bills, Georgia legislature 2024-02-21

As crossover day approaches in the Georgia legislature, events are moving faster about the proposed strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp.

In addition to a mining prohibition bill that has been in the legislature since last year, now there is a fine, draft permits, and two new bills, for increased criminal penalties, and for a mining moratorium (with a big catch).

None of these are likely to stop this specific “demonstration” mine, but some of them could prevent any further such mines.

Crossover day is the day by which a bill has to have been passed by one house to get into the other house. It’s February 29 this year, Thursday of next week.

[Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge: 15 miles]
Okefenokee NationaGl Wildlife Refuge: 15 miles
Map courtesy Prof. Can Denizman and students, Valdosta State University.

Draft Permits

As previously mentioned, On February 9, 2024, GA-EPD published draft permits (surface mining, water withdrawal, and air quality). for the applications by Twin Pines Minerals, LLC (TPM) to strip mine for titanium dioxide (TiO2) within three miles of the Okefenokee Swamp, between Moniac and St. George, Georgia. You have until April 9 to comment, and there is a public online meeting on March 5.

Details here:
https://wwals.net/?p=64142

Consent Orders

Back in January, I was told by a former state legislator that these miners be very careful to avoid infractions, because they had a lot of money riding on their venture. A week later, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) issued a Consent Order on TPM, saying back in 2018 the miners had drilled soil samples without a professional geologist or engineer supervising, as required by state law, and they also failed to provide a letter of credit or a performance bond. TPM “voluntarily” agreed to pay a tiny fine of $20,000. For more details, see Russ Bynum, AP, 24 January 2024, Company seeking to mine near Okefenokee will pay $20,000 to settle environmental violation claims.

This is not the first time TPM has been under a Consent Order. Continue reading

Clean rivers and creek 2024-02-14

Update 2024-02-24: Clean Withlacoochee, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers and Franks Creek 2024-02-21.

Update 2024-02-22: Valdosta Boone Drive and Knob Hill small sewage spills 2024-02-20.

We got good results for Wednesday for the Alapaha, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers, and Franks Creek.

Valdosta’s recent upstream Withlacoochee River results through Wednesday are good.

Rain is predicted for this weekend, through Saturday. But if there is not much rain, paddling Sunday should be OK. If you like high water, since the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers are up from previous upstream rains. The Santa Fe River is coming back down. The Suwannee was never especially high.

WWALS has two outings coming up on Saturday, February 24, 2024: the morning paddle from Knights Ferry to Nankin on the Withlacoochee River, and the evening Full Snow Moon paddle on Banks Lake.

And of course don’t forget that Saturday, March 2, is the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle from Langdale Park to Troupville on the Withlacoochee River. That one is free, thanks to a generous grant from Georgia Power.

[Chart, Clean Franks Creek and Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers 2024-02-14, Map]
Chart, Clean Franks Creek and Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers 2024-02-14, Map

No sewage spills were reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida in the past week.

But one was reported in Georgia. Ashburn had a spill of 3,000 gallons of raw sewage into Ashburn Branch, which flows into the Little River. Continue reading

GA-EPD issues draft permit for TiO2 strip mine near the Okefenokee Swamp 2024-02-09

Update 2024-02-21: Okefenokee bills, Georgia legislature 2024-02-21.

Updated 2024-02-12: Today GA-EPD updated its Public Notice to day 60 days (instead of 30 days) for the public comment period. So that appears to mean the revised final comment date is April 9, 2024.

Four years after the original application, and two weeks after publishing the miners’ revised mining plan, GA-EPD has published a draft permit for the strip mine for titanium dioxide too near the Okefenokee Swamp.

You have 30 60 days from today, February 9, 2024 to comment to GA-EPD:
twinpines.comment@dnr.ga.gov

There will be an online zoom public meeting at 6PM on March 5, 2024.
https://gaepd.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ff7nrdELQPOr0DaPwfxK3A

You can encourage the Georgia legislature to pass legislation to prevent more such mines:
https://www.gawater.org/okefenokee-swamp

And it’s a safe bet that if GA-EPD approves the final permits, lawsuits will fly.

[TPM Saunders Mine Site Layout and WWALS Aerial]
TPM Saunders Mine Site Layout and WWALS Aerial from January 10, 2021

Two weeks ago GA-EPD published the Twin Pines Minerals (TPM) Revised MLUP and Associated Documents.

Today, GA-EPD published Continue reading

Berrien County, GA, Okefenokee resolution against the proposed strip mine

Thanks to the Berrien County Board of Commissioners for passing a resolution supporting the Okefenokee Swamp and opposing the strip mine for titanium dioxide proposed by Twin Pines Minerals, LLC.

Please contact your Georgia statehouse members and ask them to protect the Okefenokee Swamp:
https://www.gawater.org/okefenokee-swamp

Ask your Georgia state Senator to sponsor a bill in the Senate:
https://wwals.net/about/elected-officials/georgia-senate/

Floridians, please ask your Georgia friends and relatives to do this.

[Berrien County Resolution No: 24-002 2024-02-06]
Berrien County Resolution No: 24-002 2024-02-06

See also the other resolutions so far.

More about this issue:
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium-mining

The Berrien County Resolution

See also PDF. Continue reading

Clean Santa Fe and Withlacoochee Rivers 2024-02-01

Update 2024-02-09: Three clean rivers 2024-02-07.

We got good results for Wednesday the Withlacoochee and Santa Fe Rivers. Valdosta’s Wednesday upstream Withlacoochee River results concur.

There is prediction of rain on Sunday, but you can get on the water before then.

So happy fishing, paddling, and swimming this weekend.

Or join us today (Saturday) for Finish: Langdale Park to Sugar Creek Chainsaw Cleanup, Withlacoochee River, 2024-02-03.

[Chart, Clean Rivers, Map 2024-02-01]
Chart, Clean Rivers, Map 2024-02-01

Sewage Spills

For once, there were more spills in Florida than in Georgia, although not all were sewage.

One sewage spill was reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia for last Friday, from Quitman. It first appeared in the Monday, January 29, 2024, GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report, with little detail. Continue reading

Nashville, Georgia, resolution opposing strip mining in or near the Okefenokee Swamp

Thank you, Nashville, Georgia, Mayor and Council, for passing a resolution supporting the Okefenokee Swamp against the proposed strip mine.

[City of Nashville Resolution and Okefenokee NWR sign]
City of Nashville Resolution and Okefenokee NWR sign

For the increasing number of these resolutions, see:
https://wwals.net/?p=57248

Please ask your Georgia statehouse members to pass HB 71. Floridians, ask your friends and relatives in Georgia to do that. And ask your city or county in Florida to also pass a resolution.

For more about this issue, see:
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium-mining/

The resolution

Continue reading

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

Five clean rivers and a clean creek 2024-01-25

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

We got good results for Wednesday and Thursday for five rivers: Alapaha, Withlacoochee, Ichetucknee, Santa Fe, and Suwannee, plus Mud Swamp Creek, a tributary of the Alapaha. Valdosta’s Wednesday upstream Withlacoochee River results concur.

There is a 50% chance of rain on Sunday, but you can get on the water before then.

So happy fishing, paddling, and swimming this weekend.

Or join us tomorrow (Saturday) for Try again: Langdale Park to Sugar Creek Chainsaw Cleanup, Withlacoochee River, 2024-01-27.

[Chart, Clean Rivers and Creek, Map 2024-01-25]
Chart, Clean Rivers and Creek, Map 2024-01-25

Sewage Spills

One sewage spill was reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia last Thusrday: Ashburn spilled 100,000 gallons of raw sewage into Ashburn Creek, which ends up in the Little River far above Reed Bingham State Park.

In Florida, Lake Butler reported a spill at its airport, which apparently wasn’t enough to get into any waterway, much less the New River of the Santa Fe. Continue reading