Tag Archives: Madison Health

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

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 2021-06-25 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

Clean Rivers Again 2021-06-10

Update 2021-06-19: Clean eleven sites: Withlacoochee, Little, and Alapaha Rivers 2021-06-17.

All clear again on the Withlacoochee River, as far as we can tell, which is from US 41 at North Valdosta Road down almost to the Suwannee River. Valdosta’s results for Friday, Monday, and Wednesday at US 41, GA 133, and US 84 concur.

Also Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River, and Willacoochee Landing @ GA 135 on the Alapaha River were clean Thursday. Of course, if the predicted rains arrive, they could wash something into the rivers.

But for now, by the recent water quality results we have, happy boating, swimming, and fishing!

[Chart, Swim Guide, many river test sites]
Chart, Swim Guide, many river test sites

All the WWALS results for Thursday, June 10, 2021, were well below the 410 cfu/100 mL one-time sample limit, and most were below the 126 average limit. Thanks to Bobby McKenzie for testing at US 41 and GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River, as well as at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, plus Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River.

Thanks to Gus Cleary for samping at Cleary Bluff, which is between Allen Ramp and the Suwannee River on the Withlacoochee. All those sites are on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

And thanks to new tester Valerie Folsom for testing Willacoochee Landing @ GA 135 on the Alapaha River Wednesday, in the Alapaha River Water Trail.

Thanks to WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall for reviewing all the plates.

And thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson for getting at least the upstream Valdosta data on the Valdosta website in a timely manner. The downstream Valdosta data continues to lag two weeks behind. Continue reading

No rain, clean Withlacoochee River 2021-05-27

Update 2021-06-04: Clean Rivers 2021-06-03.

No rain has produced a quite low but clean Withlacoochee River. It’s fortunate WWALS testers sampled Wednesday and Thursday, so it looks like the Withlacoochee River remains about as clean as we’ve ever seen it. Happy boating, fishing, and swimming!

[Bridges, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide]
Bridges, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide

The last results we have from Valdosta are for upstream on Wednesday. They got slightly higher results at US 41 than did WWALS tester Bobby McKenzie, yet lower at GA 133. 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

Clean upstream and downstream, Withlacoochee River 2021-05-06

Update 2021-05-14: Good upstream, bad down, Withlacoochee River 2021-05-13.

We have mixed results for this week. Madison Health got a too-high single sample at the GA-FL line for Tuesday, May 4, but the other results by Valdosta and WWALS testers are all good. So we don’t have enough recent data to say very confidently, but especially given almost no rain since Tuesday, most likely the Withlacoochee River is good for boating, swimming, and fishing.

[GA 122, Cleary Bluff, Chart, Swim Guide]
GA 122, Cleary Bluff, Chart, Swim Guide

This Thursday, Elizabeth Brunner got zero (0) at Folsom Bridge on the Little River, 166 at Hagan Bridge on the Withlacoochee River, and 100 cfu/100 mL E. coli at Lakeland Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River, all on GA 122. Continue reading

Much cleaner: Withlacoochee River 2021-04-29

Update 2021-05-03: Still clean Friday: Withlacoochee River 2021-04-30.

Despite a Quitman sewage spill last weekend, the Withlacoochee River was already much cleaner Wednesday, as found by WWALS tester Gus Cleary at Cleary Bluff below Allen Ramp. He got similar results for Thursday, confirmed by Valdosta’s upstream results for Wednesday, and Madison Health’s Florida results for Thursday.

How can this be? The massive upstream rains Saturday are coming down the rivers now, washing the contamination downstream and diluting it.

While Madison and Hamilton Counties, Florida, will probably leave their health alert in place until they get a second clean set of Florida results, I’d feel comfortable now with boating, swimming, or fishing in the Withlacoochee River.

I’d still wait a day or so for the Suwannee River downstream of the Withlacoochee.

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

We don’t have any new data for Knights Ferry or Nankin Boat Ramps (our usual testers are off this week, after discovering this problem Monday). So those two locations still show Continue reading