Tag Archives: Knights Ferry Boat Ramp

PFAS testing, Withlacoochee River, Georgia and Florida 2022-06-30

Update 2022-07-03: Withlacoochee River OK water quality except GA 133 2022-07-02.

WWALS Science Committee Chair Dr. Tom Potter and I took PFAS samples at four locations on the Withlacoochee River Thursday.

We shipped the samples to Cyclopure, a company with which Waterkeeper Alliance got a deal for test kits for all U.S. Waterkeepers.

We picked Thursday because it was after big rains Wednesday, reported in some places nearby as up to four inches. So if any of those forever chemicals were washing off of fields fertilized with biosolids, or coming out of Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, or just left over from Moody Air Force Base’s spills it documented in 2016, maybe we will detect them.

[PFAS testing and locations]
PFAS testing and locations

Suwannee Riverkeeper got two kits: for Georgia and Florida. Each kit has two test sets, for upstream and downstream of likely contamination sources. Continue reading

Location of Quitman sewage spill 2022-03-20

Update 2022-04-08: All rivers bad water quality 2022-04-07.

Quitman’s 48,000 gallon sewage spill on Sunday, March 20, 2022, was from the Quitman settling ponds, which are slightly uphill from Okapilco Creek. Which explains why Valdosta got too-high E. coli at US 84 on Okapilco Creek, and at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps downstream on the Withlacoochee River.

We know this location because of the response to the WWALS open records request to Quitman asking where is this “Influent Liftstation”:

GPS 30.793581, -83.544316
800 North Highland Dr

This has been going on for years. For example, the April 24, 2022 spill from the same location contaminated the Withlacoochee River and the Suwannee River probably as far as Running Springs, if not all the way to the Gulf.

The form Quitman’s contractor sent GA-EPD says the spill was not preventable. Well, according to Quitman’s permit from GA-EPD, “Power failure” is not an excuse, because the permitee is supposed to have backup power. It’s time for Quitman to find a way to prevent these spills from contaminating Okapilco Creek and the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers. This is a public health hazard.

What will the Georgia Environment Protection Division (GA-EPD) do to stop these spills from Quitman, and meanwhile to get much more timely reporting by Quitman to GA-EPD and to the public?

[Map and doc: location of Quitman sewage spill]
Map and doc: location of Quitman sewage spill

It’s only 1.10 creek miles to US 84, and 5 creek miles all the way down Okapilco Creek to the Withlacoochee River. Then 3.68 river miles more to Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, for 8.68 water miles total. At even two miles per hour, that’s less than five hours for contamination to travel. Continue reading

Valdosta-Lowndes County Comprehensive Parks & Recreation Master Plan 2021-08-31

Years in the making by VLPRA, received in response to a WWALS open records request, this new Parks & Rec. Master Plan adds to the traditional team sports strategy new strategies including “STRATEGY 6: IMPROVE ACCESS AND AMENITIES TO THE COUNTY’S RIVERS,” involving land acquisition and for not just one but for a chain of river camps.

[Collage]
Collage

They incorporated all of WWALS Vision for water quality and access in Lowndes County, Georgia 2021-03-01. Continue reading

Big rains and big contamination 2021-10-28

Update 2021-11-06: Good Thursday, but big Friday rains probably will cause contamination, Withlacoochee River 2021-11-04.

Our upstream tester got rained out at GA 122 Thursday, but downstream at Knights Ferry on the Withlacoochee River WWALS got way too high E. coli. That contamination is now running downstream.

[Chart + Alapaha River; Withlacoochee River; KF plates, Clearys Bluff; Swim Guide Map]
Chart + Alapaha River; Withlacoochee River; KF plates, Clearys Bluff; Swim Guide Map

Where did it come from? Chances are the usual cattle manure runoff out of Brooks County, Georgia, down Okapilco Creek. Probably plus wild hogs.

This is unfortunately what we’ve come to expect after big rains. And every gauge we follow got more than an inch of rain Thursday.

So I do not recommend river fishing, swimming, or boating this weekend. Continue reading

Lowndes County Litter Control, rivers and highways 2021-06-10

WWALS Member Bobby McKenzie saw the Lowndes County Little Control truck in the wild, at Nankin Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River.

Gotta give mad props to Lowndes County, GA for the Litter Control crew!

The boat ramps in Lowndes have been surprisingly clean lately! I ran across these folks today while out testing water. If you’ve been paying attention to the trash we’ve been cleaning up out of the rivers and trashed local spots in other counties…this is a much appreciated sight!

These boat ramps have been notoriously trashed in the past. Glad to see Lowndes stepping up!

[Lowndes County Litter Control]
Lowndes County Litter Control at Nankin Boat Ramp. Photo: Bobby McKenzie, who was an intern for WWALS at the time.

You can help, too, at the big river and creek cleanup this Saturday, October 9, 2021, with WWALS sites downstream from Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River and on Sugar Creek at the Salty Snapper just upstream from the Withlacoochee River. Continue reading

Bad Upstream, Withlacoochee River 2021-07-02

Update 2021-07-06: Tropical Storm Elsa headed up Suwannee River Basin 2021-07-06

Valdosta has published its upstream results for Friday, which showed very bad water quality at US 41, GA 133, and US 84 on the Withlacoochee River.

[Chart, Map]
Chart, Map

There’s been even more rain since then, and more is coming straight at the Suwannee River Basin with Tropical Storm Elsa. Continue reading

Filthy at Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River 2021-06-24

Update 2021-06-27: Cattle and hogs: Withlacoochee River water quality status 2021-06-27.

Going by WWALS water quality testing results for Thursday, it’s best to stay off the Withlacoochee River, and maybe the Alapaha River, for a few more days.

[Bad Knights Ferry and Willacoochee Landing]
Bad Knights Ferry and Willacoochee Landing

Very unusual: too-high E. coli on the Alapaha River, at Willacoochee Landing on GA 135 in Atkinson County, Georgia. Thanks to WWALS tester Valerie Folsom. There was a lot of rain upstream in the previous few days, which make me wonder about the city of Alapaha’s wastewater treatment plant.

Unfortunately expected: way-high E. coli on the Withlacoochee River, at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, downstream of Okapilco Creek, with many thousand cattle in Brooks County, Georgia. Thanks to WWALS tester Michael Bachrach. Don’t be surprised if Quitman had a spill and gets around to reporting it about a week later.

Somewhat puzzling: downstream on the Withlacoochee results range from acceptable to clean as a whistle at Cleary Bluff, between Allen Ramp and the Suwannee River. Thaks to WWALS tester Gus Cleary. Even with the river high and fast after the recent rains, it takes a little while for the contamination to wash downstream. Three inches of rain fell in Brooks County Thursday, so don’t be surprised if things get dirty downstream.

We have no new data upstream of Knights Ferry, because we had a technical glitch with upstream WWALS tests.

Meanwhile, Valdosta has posted nothing newer than for Monday. They did catch up to last week with the downstream data, which corroborated what we already knew from WWALS tests.

The Tuesday too-high Madison Health result for the state line still has not appeared on the FDEP website. Continue reading

All clear, Withlacoochee River 2021-05-20

Update 2021-05-28: No rain, clean Withlacoochee River 2021-05-27 .

Good news: all clear on the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers for this weekend! That’s as far as E. coli in numerous water quality samples. And the Alapaha River, too, from the one datapoint we have.

[All clear, many samples, three rivers, Swim Guide]
All clear, many samples, three rivers, Swim Guide

Thanks to WWALS tester Elizabeth Brunner for the GA 122 sites Tuesday: Folsom Bridge on the Little River, Hagan Bridge on the Withlacoochee River, and Lakeland Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River. For Thursday, thanks to Bobby McKenzie for testing Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River and the pictures of the too-low Withlacoochee River at Langdale Park and GA 133. Thanks to Michael Bachrach and Jacob Bachrach in the bug suit for Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps Thursday. Thanks to Gus Cleary for Cleary Bluff Monday and Thursday. Thanks to WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall for wrangling review of results.

Thanks to Madison Health for State Line, Sullivan Launch, and FL 6 Thursday.

Valdosta was again asleep at the wheel.

Here’s the chart: Continue reading

Good upstream, bad down, Withlacoochee River 2021-05-13

Update 2021-05-22: All clear, Withlacoochee River 2021-05-20.

There’s good water quality news upstream for tomorrow’s Withlacoochee River paddle from Langdale Park Boat Ramp to Sugar Creek and the Salty Snapper.
https://wwals.net/?p=55532

Yesterday (Thursday) Bobby McKenzie sampled Langdale Park Boat Ramp and GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River, and Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River. His results today for all three were well within the single-sample limit for E. coli.

Eyeballing the Withlacoochee at GA 133, he decided the level was too low for that stretch of the paddle. However, Bobby paddled from Langdale Park Boat Ramp to Sugar Creek and up it, and except for a couple of portages as you get to Sugar Creek, there’s plenty of water. Bring mud boots and you can stand up in the river there and drag your boat across. And 10% off lunch for each paddler at the Salty Snapper!

[Results, Plates, River, Swim Guide]
Results, Plates, River, Swim Guide

Also for Thursday, there’s bad news from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp downstream to the state line, and by now that contamination has probably washed farther down the river. WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach got horrendous results at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, and above the single-sample limit at State Line Boat Ramp. Nankin Boat Ramp was barely within that limit. If I were you, I would stay off the Withlacoochee River below US 84 for a few days. Continue reading

Little Rain, Still Clean, Withlacoochee River 2021-04-01

Update 2021-04-10: Clean week, Withlacoochee River 2021-04-08.

The rain came gently Wednesday, and the Withlacoochee River was still clean Thursday, April 1, 2021, no joke.

[Clean results, Withlacoochee River down and up, Swim Guide]
Clean results, Withlacoochee River down and up, Swim Guide

Thanks to WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach for testing Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, and to Gus Cleary for testing at Cleary Bluff below Allen Ramp. All came out zero or within one E. coli colony of zero. Can’t ask for much better than that.

We have no new results from Madison Health since Thursday a week ago, and nothing new from Valdosta since Monday.

So according to the data we have, all from WWALS, happy boating, swimming, and fishing in the Withlacoochee River this weekend, at least if you don’t mind a bit of chill! Continue reading