Tag Archives: Land Application Site

Vickers Branch and Hahira LAS 2020-05-11

How is the mysterious Vickers Branch south of Hahira related to the Hahira Land Application Site? What is that creek the rest of that LAS is on? And what does all this have to do with Lowndes County’s new IMPAIRED WATERS MONITORING AND IMPLEMENTATION PLAN? Why do we care about all this for the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail?

About six weeks ago, the bridge on Old US 41 North just south of Hahira broke and Lowndes County fixed it. Revealing that nobody knew a name for it. Except Phillip Williams, who says, “Some maps show it as Vickers Branch. The Vickers family were the ones who owned most of the land in the area back in the 1800s.”

[Map: Vickers Branch, Hahira LAS]
Map: Vickers Branch, Hahira LAS
in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

The Vickers Branch Bridge marker south of Hahira looks slightly too far south, but it’s where google street view and aerials show the bridge. It seems that the USGS stream trace I used in this map is not quite right.

[Photo: Lowndes EMA, of broken Vickers Branch Bridge]
Photo: Lowndes EMA, of broken Vickers Branch Bridge

Upstream of that Vickers Branch US 41 bridge, several branches or runs that drain quite an area. I have named them after Continue reading

Avoid Withlacoochee River Knights Ferry to Suwannee River Dowling Park 2020-02-27

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.

[Rain driving contamination down 2020-02-27]
Rain driving contamination down 2020-02-27.
Extract from WWALS composite water quality test results from Georgia and Florida.

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

Better: Valdosta and Quitman, Withlacoochee River, Suwanneee River past Santa Fe River 2020-02-22

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]
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.

[Quitman Land Application Site]
Quitman Land Application Site
in WWALS map of Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

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

Dirty Crooked Creek Wednesday & Friday; Withlacoochee River better in GA Wednesday 2020-02-21

Update 2020-02-28: Madison County fed up with contaminated water –WCTV 2020-02-26

Two of these rows are not like the first, and the middle ones are worst.

[Three sets]
Three sets

The really ugly plates in the middle were made from water collected at the Devane Road bridge over Crooked Creek, just off of US 84, in Brooks County, Georgia, a bit east of Okapilco Creek, upstream of Knights Ferry Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River.

[Crooked Creek Bridge]
Crooked Creek Bridge

You can see these Friday results are even worse than what the Coles saw Wednesday. In this table of results for this week, focusing on Brooks County and downstream, my Friday Devane Road result is up in the range of what Valdosta saw for Monday at Knights Ferry on the Withlacoochee River. My Monday result for Devane Road was actually taken at US 84, and it would appear I was sampling ditch water, not the main creek. We will be using the Devane Road bridge location for sampling Crooked Creek. And if anyone knows a better name for this creek, let us know.

[Crooked Creek quite bad]
Crooked Creek quite bad
The entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of data from three Florida agencies, WWALS, and Valdosta is on the WWALS website.

I even stopped by Valdosta City Hall Friday to compliment them on something. But there is more Valdosta and the state of Florida need to do.

WWALS will keep testing. You can help.

The first row of plates is Continue reading

Very high E. coli on Okapilco feeder creek 2020-02-19

2020-02-23: Dirty Crooked Creek Wednesday & Friday; Withlacoochee River better in GA Wednesday 2020-02-21.

This very high E. coli count of 5,933 cfu/100 mL can’t possibly be because of Valdosta. And it can’t be because of the Quitman Land Application Site (LAS). What could it be? Well, there are many cows upstream on Crooked Creek. But also a Quitman sewage settling pond. You can help find out what it is.

[Crooked-creek]
Crooked Creek in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

Conn and Trudy Cole took this sample Wednesday, February 19, 2020, for WWALS, at the bridge on Devane Road over what we’re calling Crooked Creek. If anybody knows Continue reading

Bad: Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River, to Dowling Park, Suwannee River 2020-02-19

Update 2020-02-21: Very high E. coli on Okapilco feeder creek 2020-02-19.

Florida testing shows the contamination Suzy Hall detected Monday at Knights Ferry on the Withlacoochee River appears to have reached the state line and into Florida the next day, at least as far as Florida 6, which is just upstream from Madison Blue Spring.

The day after, Wednesday, February 18, 2020, levels were above normal but not alarming that far down (other than at the state line), and there was a hot spot at CR 250 (Dowling Park Ramp).

[Downstream into Florida]
Downstream into Florida
The entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of data from three Florida agencies, WWALS, and Valdosta is on the WWALS website.

As usual, you can help.

Once again, upstream on the Withlacoochee, US 84 and above, Valdosta and WWALS testing Monday showed nothing remotely as high as these downstream results. And my spot check on the feeder creek at US 84 that runs into Okapilco Creek showed nothing out of the ordinary. Which leaves the prime suspect still the Quitman Land Application Site (LAS), which is near Okapilco Creek, south of US 84. And Okapilco Creek runs into the Withlacoochee River between US 84 and Knights Ferry. I have scheduled an appointment to go investigate the Quitman LAS.

Despite leaving messages at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) the past two days, I’ve gotten no response from them. Ironically, the Florida agencies communicate with WWALS Continue reading

Awful: Knights Ferry, Nankin, Withlacoochee River 2020-02-17

Update 2020-02-20: Bad: Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River, to Dowling Park, Suwannee River 2020-02-19.

These Nankin plates are not what anyone wants to see:

[Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line 2020-02-17]
Photo: Suzy Hall, of WWALS E. coli test results for Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line 2020-02-17.

Suzy Hall filed Nankin Boat Ramp for Monday, February 17, 2020, as TNTC: Too Many To Count. Yes, that is a technical term, and you can see why: how many blue colonies with bubbles would you count?

Knights Ferry Boat Ramp wasn’t much better, at 8,933 cfu/100 mL. The Georgia Adopt-A-Stream high alert level is 1,000; see What do these numbers mean?. We have seen worse, namely the 39,000 Valdosta result at GA 133 on December 10, 2019.

You can help find out what’s in our waterways. And, finally, indirectly, there is some help from Valdosta.

[Awful 2020-02-17]
Awful 2020-02-17
The entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of test results from three Florida agencies, WWALS, Lowndes County, and Valdosta, is on the WWALS website.

I finally got a test result for that feeder creek that crosses US 84 east of Okapilco Creek and then joins with it downstream. At 66 cfu/100 mL, it’s very unlikely the dairy farm upstream can have caused these downstream numbers on the Withlacoochee River.

The Monday Valdosta results at US 84, GA 133, and US 41 are a bit messy, but nothing comparable to Knights Ferry or Nankin. Note my US 41 result is very similar to Valdosta’s. And my Hagan Bridge zero (0) is the level of E. coli we want to see: none.

These Monday WWALS results at Nankin and Knights Ferry are far worse than Continue reading

Withlacoochee still not clean Thursday but not alarming in Florida results 2020-02-13

Update 2020-02-19: Awful: Knights Ferry, Nankin, Withlacoochee River 2020-02-17.

In Florida water quality results for Monday through Thursday last week, the high numbers Monday had already died down somewhat from the state line downstream, by the time Lowndes County saw high numbers at the state line and upstream on Tuesday, on the Withlacoochee River and Okapilco Creek.

WWALS collected water samples yesterday (it rained all day Sunday), so we should have some results later today or tomorrow. You can help. Sure would be nice if Valdosta would help.

[2020-02-13--fl-loco-wq-results]
WWALS composite results from Lowndes County and Florida, February 10-13, 2020.
See also the entire of WWALS composite spreadsheet going back to December 10, 2020.

According to Darlene Velez, Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) Water Resources Chief, Continue reading

Clean Withlacoochee, Okapilco Creek (mostly), and Little River 2020-02-02

Update 2020-02-08: Clean Withlacoochee River; dubious Okapilco Creek; and rain 2020-02-05.

Even better news: clean everywhere WWALS tested Sunday on the Withlacoochee River, Little River, and Okapilco Creek. If this keeps up, eventually we, and presumbably Lowndes County, will remove our warning signs. We’ll make some inquiries in Quitman while waiting for Lowndes County’s data upcoming this Wednesday.

At least weekly ongoing testing is still needed. What Lowndes County keeps seeing in Okapilco Creek illustrates that while Valdosta is chronically the biggest problem, and Valdosta has some remediation to do, it’s not the only source of contamination. The only way to tell when our rivers are clean or not, so we can market eco-tourism and gradually lift the reputational stigma on our rivers, is regular, weekly, water quality testing.

You can help.

[With reference dog]
Photo: Suzy Hall, of the Withlacoochee RIver downstream of Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, With reference dog.

Suzy Hall tested the Continue reading

Rivers maybe finally clean after Valdosta sewage: but Okapilco Creek and need weekly testing 2020-01-31

Update 2020-02-04: Clean Withlacoochee, Okapilco Creek (mostly), and Little River 2020-02-02.

More good news: the Withlacoochee River above the Little River Confluence tested zero (0) for E. coli on Friday, for the first time since Valdosta’s record-largest raw sewage spill. If this good news continues, eventually WWALS (and Lowndes County) will take down our warning signs at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps.

Testing continues by WWALS volunteers and Lowndes County, Georgia. Please continue to be cautious in your interaction with the Withlacoochee until we get clean readings for a prolonged period.

But we still need to find out what is the source of the contamination Lowndes County keeps finding in Okapilco Creek downstream of US 84. Okapilco Creek demonstrates that testing after a spill is not good enough: we need ongoing, at least weekly, testing.

If you’re going to paddle, swim, or fish in one of our rivers, wouldn’t you want to know what the latest test results are? I know I would.

[Green upstream Withlacoochee]
Photo: Scotti Jay, of green water upstream from the Little River Confluence on the Withlacoochee River, December 21, 2019.
It’s back to its usual tea color now.
The entire WWALS composite testing results spreadsheet is on the WWALS website.

That January 31 Confluence result is from WWALS tester Sara Jay.

WWALS testers Suzy Hall and Conn and Trudy Cole pulled samples yesterday Continue reading