Tag Archives: Lowndes County

2021 ANNUAL REPORT, Lowndes County Impaired Streams Monitoring 2021-04-07

After two years, Lowndes County has still not found sources of the fecal contamination in its streams. Maybe the testing methodology needs to be revised.

Fortunately, WWALS is covering part of what the county does not: WWALS is testing for E. coli after big rains on Cat Creek and Beatty Branch and multiple Withlacoochee, Little, and Alapaha River locations, and we are doing some DNA spot tests.

Fecal Coliform
Lowndes County has not identified any point sources within the drainage areas that can be attributed to the widespread exceedances. Based on the limited data collected to date, it is the opinion of Lowndes County that the cause of the exceedances is from natural conditions.

[Map and graphs]
Map and graphs

There are no DNA marker or chemical tracer results in the report. A few DNA tests would have given some indication of what species were producing the fecal contamination.

Also, the report includes no Continue reading

Personnel and trash at Valdosta City Council 2022-08-11

It wasn’t us this time.

Council Sandra Tooley brought up trash, Click ‘n’ Fix, and Valdosta’s favorite excuse for not doing much: “we’re short on staff“ and “A lot of people have a lot of things going on in their departments.” This was in the last five minutes of the August 11, 2022, Valdosta City Council meeting.

[Council Sandra Tooley requests Executive Session about personnel and trash]
Council Sandra Tooley requests Executive Session about personnel and trash

The Mayor said they had a request for an Executive Session, and asked for a motion. Council Tim Carroll wondered why.

Council Sandra Tooley explained, “Citizens have come to me, and they have this thing they like to say, that we do not have enough staff, that we’re short on staff, that we’re not getting things done.”

See for yourself in this excerpt of Valdosta’s own facebook live video of the meeting. Continue reading

Sugar Creek trash boom after 1.5 inches rain 2022-06-29

Update 2022-07-05: Click ‘n’ Fix of uncleaned Sugar Creek WaterGoat 2022-06-30.

Substantial trash washed into the new WaterGoat trash boom on Sugar Creek in Valdosta after only 1.5 inches of rain yesterday.

Since then, upstream gauges recorded more than 2 inches, and some gauges around Lowndes County measured 3 and even 4 inches.

[Trash composite]
Trash composite

Valdosta needs to come up with a plan for cleaning out that trash boom, before that trash washes on down into the Withlacoochee River.. And get more trash booms and do something about upstream trash.

In good news, the Zacadoos on Ashley Street now has trash cans in its parking lot. Since we have often found Zacadoos discarded cups in the creeks, that’s really good. Yay, Zacadoos! Continue reading

Boxes down into the water at Flying J, Exit 2, I-75 2022-03-19

Update 2022-07-07: Chain link fence, trash cans, and dumpsters: Flying J, Exit 2 2022-07-02.

There’s been some improvement down at the Flying J at I-75 Exit 2 in Lowndes County, Georgia, but there are still discarded boxes in the water, and Denny’s and the Flying J still haven’t finished the fence that would help a lot.

[Boxes at Flying J, Marie Calender's]
Boxes at Flying J, Marie Calender’s

Apparently Marie Callender’s itself has fallen on hard times, and Denny’s lost 60% of its customers in 2021, after losing 52.7% the previous year. But that still doesn’t seem an excuse for discarding boxes into nearby waterways.

Maybe if they finished the fence, like they were supposed to be doing in December 2019, that would cut down on the problem, which has been going on at least since August 2019.

I am also sending this report to Lowndes County Code Enforcement. Continue reading

WWALS at Azalea Festival, Drexel Park, Valdosta, GA 2022-03-12-13

Update March 10, 2022; 5:00p.m.
Attention Azalea Festival Vendors and Patrons,
Severe Weather Statement:
There is a cold front expected to come through between the hours of 6am and 10am on Saturday, and wind gusts of 60-70 mph are expected to push that front through during those hours. The worst of the rain and wind is expected to move out of Lowndes County by 10am. With that being said, after consulting with local officials, arts & crafts vendor setup will be moved to 10am-12:30pm on Saturday. The Festival will open to patrons at noon on Saturday. Because of the late start, the Festival hours will be extended to 7:30pm Saturday evening.

Come to Drexel Park in Valdosta to help WWALS celebrate spring with 30,000 of our south Georgia and north Florida friends, at the Azalea Festival.

[WWALS Booth, One Mile Branch, Azalea Festival]
WWALS Booth, One Mile Branch, Azalea Festival

Come talk to us about our outings and advocacy (yes, including Valdosta trash and wastewater), our Water Trails, the pictures for sale Gretchen took of our rivers, notecards, stickers, hats, t-shirts, plus a kayak raffle.

Help everyone out by reporting any trash or litter problem you see with Valdosta’s Click ‘n’ Fix smartphone app.

Like last year, “The Azalea Festival is a 100% all outdoor event. Patrons are encouraged to socially distance and wear masks.”

When: 10AM-6PM 12PM-7:30PM Saturday 12 March 2022
10AM-3:30PM 10AM-5PM Sunday 13 March 2022

Volunteer: If you are a WWALS member and you have had both vaccinations against COVID-19, we could use some help at the WWALS booth.

Where: Drexel Park, 1401 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, GA, 31601
30.846771, -83.285066
That’s east across Patterson from VSU and north of Brookwood Drive.
It is on One Mile Branch, which flows into Sugar Creek, then the Withlacoochee River, the Suwannee River, to the Gulf of Mexico.
Fortunately, Valdosta has not had any significant sewage spills for several years. WWALS is discussing with the City the trash that washes down these creeks. You can help with cleanups or water quality testing, and by using Click ‘n’ Fix.

Event: facebook, meetup

Schedule: Continue reading

Trash beyond fence not finished at Flying J, I-75 exit 2 2022-02-26

Update 2022-03-21: Boxes down into the water at Flying J, Exit 2, I-75 2022-03-19.

Well, they never finished the fence behind the Flying J at I-75 Exit 2, after Lowndes County Code Enforcement made them and Dennys clean up back there in 2019. The trash is not as bad as it was, but definitely room for further improvement.

[Trash in water, No Dumping sign, trash where no fence]
Trash in water, No Dumping sign, trash where no fence

That’s Flying J Travel Center #631, 7001 Lake Park Bellville Road, Lake Park, GA 31636.

As near as I can tell, that containment pond eventually drains into Deese Tract Creek that runs into the Withlacoochee River just upstream from Sullivan Launch.

I will mention this to Lowndes County Code Enforcement. Continue reading

Federal water grants funneled through Georgia to Suwannee River Basin

The Georgia Governor’s office yesterday announced grants to many cities and counties for water projects. The funds come from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021.

Of the eighteen awardees in the Suwannee River Basin, adding up to $57,285,314.00, no surprise, Valdosta got the most. No, it’s not to fix some more of those sewer and manhole problems. It’s to build a new drinking well system, “southwest of the City limits, west of I-75 on Highway 84 near exit 16…”

Hahira, with about 5% of Valdosta’s population, got the second most, to fix its wastewater treatment plant and some stormwater drainage. Maybe that will stop Hahira from leaking E. coli into Franks Creek and the Little River.

[Treatment Plant Flow Diagram]
Treatment Plant Flow Diagram

Ray City got a substantial amount to fix its aging wastewater treatment plant, which should be good for Cat Creek and the Withlacoochee River.

Unfortunately missing is Quitman, which wanted $482,000 to top off local funds for fixing its lift stations. So no ARPA help to Quitman for stopping sewage spills into Okapilco Creek and the Withlacoochee River.

Here are those awardees, most to least: Continue reading

Rescheduled: Third Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2022-02-19

Update 2022-02-15: We’re go for this Saturday, February 19, 2022, for the Third Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle. Saturday is going to be the coolest day of the week, but that’s low 39, high 64, much warmer than last month, and the water temperature at US 84 is currently 51F, much higher than the mid-40s last time. Dress warmly in layers and bring a dry change of clothes in a waterproof bag just in case. And come on down to Troupville Boat Ramp this Saturday!

Valdosta, Georgia, January 26, 2021 — An unusual cold snap is expected this Saturday, too cold for novice paddlers. So we’re rescheduling three weeks later, for Saturday, February 19, 2022. Everything else is the same; only the date has changed.

Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter summed it up, “Safety should be considered above all and hypothermia is a huge issue if someone was to go in the water!”

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman added, “Water temperature was already down to 47 degrees Monday at US 84 on the Withlacoochee River, and air temperatures for this Saturday are predicted to be low of 22 and high of 42. So hypothermia is indeed a risk, however seldom seen in south Georgia. Also not many people would turn out in such cold.”

Valdosta Mayor Scott James said, “So we’re all agreed: Saturday, February 19, 2022. Come as early as 8AM to get on the shuttle!”

[Troupville Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River, WWTP clean outfall, Spook Bridge, Takeout]
Troupville Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River, WWTP clean outfall, Spook Bridge, Takeout

We hope there will still be plenty of water for this annual eleven-mile river paddle, past the future site of Troupville River Camp and Nature Park, along the west side of the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin, past Valdosta’s clean outfall of its Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, with many creeks, oaks, cypresses, pines, fish, turtles, and maybe an alligator, down to Spook Bridge, so scary it has its own movie.

Valdosta Mayor Scott James said, “I am excited to partner once again with WWALS, plus this time with Lowndes County, to show people our fabulous blackwater rivers, Continue reading

Third Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Third Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River

Valdosta, Georgia, January 19, 2021 — Looks like there will be plenty of water for this annual eleven-mile river paddle, past the future site of Troupville River Camp and Nature Park, along the west side of the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin, past Valdosta’s clean outfall of its Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, with many creeks, oaks, cypresses, pines, fish, turtles, and maybe an alligator, down to Spook Bridge, so scary it has its own movie.

Valdosta Mayor Scott James said, “I am excited to partner once again with WWALS, plus this time with Lowndes County, to show people our fabulous blackwater rivers, only a few miles from City Hall and VSU. Valdosta is proud to hardly ever have a sewage spill anymore, and now we’re working on eliminating trash from the river. We remain committed to preventing any issues that may impact our Withlacoochee River. I invite everyone to come out and join us for a day of fellowship on the river!” 

“Come on down to where I used to fish as a child, and with my children!” said Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter. “I’ve spoken at this paddle every year, and this year I hope you will paddle.”

“Welcome to this one of our many paddles,” said WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman. “We have at least one daytime river paddle a month, in Florida or Georgia, plus an evening Full Moon paddle at Banks Lake, near Lakeland, GA. We’ll be testing temperatures with an infrared thermometer as people arrive. If you’re ill in any way, please stay home.” Continue reading

We do not need endanger the aquifer recharge zone with a subdivision. –Gretchen Quarterman for WWALS @ GLPC 2021-11-29

Update 2022-01-02: Withdrawn but will return: subdivision in aquifer recharge zone near Little River, Lowndes County, GA @ LCC 2021-12-14

When the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC) held a Public Hearing Monday for a rezoning for a subdivision in an aquifer recharge zone, WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman spoke against it. Three hundred other people opposed the rezoning. The Planning Commission unanimously voted to recommend denying it.

But GLPC does not decide: the Lowndes County Commission will do that on December 14, 2021. And the County Commissioners can, if they choose, change the lot size or approve the rezoning as proposed.

This is what to watch for on that upcoming agenda: REZ-2021-28 Windy Hill S/D, 7532 Miller Bridge Rd., 0010 022, 34 ac., Community well & septic, EA to R1.

[Gretchen, speakers, aquifer recharge zone]
Gretchen, speakers, aquifer recharge zone

Here is the LAKE video of Gretchen speaking, at 19:56. Continue reading