Tag Archives: Madison Health

All clear, Withlacoochee River 2021-09-22

Update 2021-10-01: All Clean, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2021-09-30.

All WWALS test results for Wednesday were clean in Georgia and Florida, but Valdosta got bad results at US 84 on the Withlacoochee River.

Yet there has been no significant rain since Tuesday, so in the opposite of last time, I’m going to say that E. coli has probably washed downstream and gotten diluted by now.

Make your own decisions, but I would boat on the Withlacoochee River this weekend. And the Alapaha River yet again seems clean. The Little River, probably, according to the one site we tested.

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

Valdosta results for last Friday corroborate what I said last time: because of the heavy rains, it would not be a good idea to boat, swim, or fish in the Withlacoochee River last weekend.

Valdosta even got too high results at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp for Monday, after heavy rains Sunday in Brooks County, presumably because of the usual cattle manure runoff down Okapilco Creek. Continue reading

Bad Little, Withlacoochee Rivers, good Alapaha River 2021-09-09

Update 2021-09-17: Good water quality results, then hard rain, Withlacoochee River 2021-09-16.

Like last week, but worse: the Alapaha River would be a better choice for boating, swimming, and fishing this weekend than either the Little or Withlacoochee Rivers.

[Chart, Awful Plates, Rivers, Swim Guide]
Chart, Awful Plates, Rivers, Swim Guide

Yes, Madison Health today lifted its Health Advisory for the Withlacoochee, because they got good results for Tuesday and Thursday. But WWALS has more recent upstream data, and it’s not pretty. Continue reading

Bad at GA-FL Line: Health Alert, Withlacoochee River 2021-08-31

Update 2021-09-03: Filthy upstream Little, Withlacoochee Rivers, clean downstream 2021-09-02.

Madison County, Florida, Health Department got very bad E. coli results for its Tuesday sample at Horn Bridge just north of the GA-FL line on the Withlacoochee River. And today, Thursday, Madison Health issued a Health Advisory.

[Chart, Alert]
Chart, Alert

The usual alert limit for E. coli is 1,000 cfu/100 mL, and this Tuesday result is more than three times that.

As you can see in the chart, there was not much rain upstream beforehand to wash anything into the river. Seems like something different than usual got into the Withlacoochee River. Continue reading

Advisory lifted, Withlacoochee River 2021-08-18

Update 2021-08-20: Odd results, but mostly clean rivers 2021-08-19.

Madison Health yesterday lifted its Withlacoochee River Bacterial Advisory of June 22 after it got good water quality results at the state line for Tuesday, August 17, 2021. Apparently the spotty heavy rains over the weekend and Monday did not wash much E. coli down Sugar Creek or Okapilco Creek.

[Lifted, Chart, Swim Guide]
Lifted, Chart, Swim Guide

WWALS and Valdosta have gotten many good results in between, but Madison Health only goes by its own tests. Recent results from Valdosta are also good.

So, happy boating, swimming, and fishing in the Withlacoochee River!

WWALS testers are collecting samples today, so we can report results tomorrow. Continue reading

Clean up and down: Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2021-08-05

Update 2021-08-13: Red US 41, clean downstream 2021-08-12.

All clear for tomorrow’s paddle from Nankin to State Line Boat Ramp, with continuation to Sullivan Launch, on the Withlacoochee River. As always, conditions could change, but all the WWALS water quality tests for Thursday are good at 11 sites on three rivers, including at Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps.

[Chart, Little, Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers, Swim Guide]
Chart, Little, Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers, Swim Guide

Madison Health did get a too-high E. coli result for Tuesday at State Line. Although that was higher than the 410 cfu/100 mL one-time test limit, it was still below the 1,000 alert limit. The WWALS test at the same location and upstream for Thursday, and the WWALS test downstream at Cleary Bluff for Wednesday, all were much cleaner.

Valdosta’s Friday and Monday test results were also clean upstream and downstream all the way to the GA-FL line.

So I would guess that one Madison Health result was due to the rains in Brooks County Monday; more than half an inch on the US 84 Withlacoochee gauge. Probably they washed something down Okapilco Creek. There are no reports of sewage spills in the past week.

We did have a similar rain in the same place yesterday, but if that washed anything into the river, it should be gone downstream by tomorrow. So just don’t drink the river water and you should be OK. Continue reading

Good upstream and downstream, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2021-07-29

Update 2021-08-06: Clean up and down: Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2021-08-05.

All the E. coli test results we have for the Little, Alapaha, and Withlacoochee Rivers are good, all the way down below Allen Ramp almost to the Suwannee River. We don’t test for Fecal coliform, so we don’t know what happened with that sky-high Fecal coliform result Madison Health got for Tuesday. However, from the WWALS test results we have for Wednesday and Thursday, all these rivers seem clean, with two sites tested on each of the Little and Alapaha Rivers, and six on the Withlacoochee.

[Chart, Franks Creek, Alapaha River, Little River, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide]
Chart, Franks Creek, Alapaha River, Little River, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide

We have no new results from Valdosta or Madison Health since yesterday’s post. Apparently Valdosta does have some new results, but they’re having some sort of website problem. Madison Health seems to only test Tuesdays, and only at the state line anymore. That’s too bad, because they both test Fecal coliform, and we do not.

This is yet another example of how the state of Florida needs to step up, fund, and implement regular testing of all the rivers from the state line to the Gulf. Then we might know how far which contamination blob got. We’d also have a better chance tracking it back to its source. Floridians, please ask your statehouse delegation to make it so. Continue reading

Clean Rivers after Tuesday blip and before Thursday rains 2021-07-01

Update 2021-07-06: Bad Upstream, Withlacoochee River 2021-07-02.

The Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers are remarkably clean by samples Thursday, July 1, 2021. No sewage spills have been reported for Georgia.

Some bad news: something caused high E. coli in the Withlacoochee River at GA 133 on Tuesday. And Starke, Florida, had two more small spills above the Santa Fe River, but nothing like the big one that Florida city had a week ago.

The good news: according to those Tuesday tests, whatever was in the Withlacoochee River at GA 133 was not coming from Valdosta’s Mulch Yard off of Val-Tech Road. And by Thursday samples, whatever it was was gone by then.

So by the results we have right now, it’s clear for swimming, diving, fishing, and boating.

And still more good news: Madison Health has lifted its former Bacterial Advisory for the Withlacoochee River.

But beware: many inches of rain fell later Thursday and today. That usually washes more contamination into the rivers. See Cattle and hogs: Withlacoochee River water quality status 2021-06-27 https://wwals.net/?p=55966

[Chart, rivers, results, Swim Guide]
Chart, rivers, results, Swim Guide

Just don’t say we didn’t mention those rains yesterday and today, which in Brooks County started even earlier, and have been very heavy. If we’re all lucky, most of what manure would wash off has already washed off. We shall see.

With a dozen tests this week, we’re burning through testing materials. Thanks to Joe Brownlee, Southwest Director, Georgia Power, for another generous water quality testing grant that helps make this possible. 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

Health Advisory, Withlacoochee River, bad at GA-FL line after rains 2021-06-22

Update 2021-09-19: Advisory lifted, Withlacoochee River 2021-08-18.

Update 2021-06-25 Filthy at Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River 2021-06-24.

Unfortunately as expected, the recent rains have washed Fecal coliform and E. coli into the Withlacoochee River. The Madison County, Florida, Health Department has issued an advisory of possible bacterial contamination. I wouldn’t want to get that river water on me until better results are seen. It’s most likely both upstream and downstream of the one datapoint Madison Health collected, which is for the GA-FL line. Better wait a few days before swimming, fishing, or boating on the Withlacoochee River.

[Bacterial Advisory, TNTC and 800 cfu/100 mL, Red State Line on Swim Guide]
Bacterial Advisory, TNTC and 800 cfu/100 mL, Red State Line on Swim Guide

The contamination most likely comes from the usual source: cattle manure, mostly washing off of open pastures in Brooks County, Georgia, down Okapilco Creek.

But we do not really know, because the only data we have for this week is the one report by Madison Health for yesterday, Tuesday, June 22, 2021. We only know that much because Madison County Chairman Donnie Waldrep Sr. posted it on his facebook page. It does not yet appear on the public web page of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

The most recent data we have for Valdosta is from last week, before the rains, and only for US 41, GA 133, and US 84, all upstream of where Okapilco Creek enters the Withlacoochee River. The last downstream data Valdosta has published is for two weeks ago, Monday, June 7, 2021.

I hear Valdosta wants people downstream in Florida to understand that recent contamination is not coming from Valdosta. Well, timely publishing that downstream data would help with that.

Not publishing that data until weeks later could give the impression that Valdosta does not care about people downstream. Continue reading

Clean Rivers 2021-06-03

Update 2021-06-11: Clean Rivers Again 2021-06-10.

Thanks to WWALS testers Elizabeth Brunner (3 sites), Bobby McKenzie (6 sites), and Gus Cleary (1 site), we know the Withlacoochee River clean Thursday at last in spots from GA 122 almost to the Suwannee River, the Little River down to its Confluence, and the Alapaha River at Lakeland. No rain, no manure runoff! And there were no reported sewage spills this week.

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

So happy boating, swimming, and fishing!

Valdosta was once again asleep at the wheel. The most recent results we have from them are for last Friday upstream and the Friday before that downstream. Madison Health did not test this week. So it’s fortunate WWALS testers were diligent! Continue reading