Tag Archives: Michael Bachrach

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

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

Update 2021-06-23: Health Advisory, Withlacoochee River, bad at GA-FL line after rains 2021-06-22.

All clear up and down the Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers, for Thursday, June 17, 2021. Happy swimming, boating, and fishing!

Rains are predicted for this weekend, so of course conditions could change rapidly, but that’s what we know now.

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

Thanks to WWALS testers, we have results from eleven locations on three rivers.

  • Valerie Folsom (Willacoochee Landing @ GA 135 in Atkinson County, GA),
  • Elizabeth Brunner (GA 122: Little River @ Folsom Bridge Landing, Withlacoochee River @ Hagan Bridge Landing, Alapaha River @ Lakeland Boat Ramp
  • Bobby McKenzie (Little River @ Troupville Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River @ US 41 and GA 133)
  • Michael and Jacob Bachrach (Withlacoochee River @ Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps)
  • Gus Cleary (Withlacoochee River @ Cleary Bluff, below Allen Ramp, almost to the Suwannee River)

And of course thanks to WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall for organizing and to WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman for training and supplying the testers. 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

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

Bad upstream, too: Withlacoochee River water quality 2021-04-26

Update 2021-04-29: Health alert for Withlacoochee River 2021-04-27.

Valdosta results for Monday are just as bad upstream as the WWALS downstream results.

So indeed it’s best to stay off the Withlacoochee River for a few days, with bacterial counts this high for April 26, 2021. This is not a good time for boating, fishing, or swimming in the river.

The worse news is that since the Withlacoochee River was contaminated Monday at least as far upstream as US 41, that mess will keep running downstream for probably a day or so, as in it’s probably in Florida today.

The good news is that it’s not nearly as bad as a year ago under similar conditions.

[Bad upstream, water quality results and Swim Guide]
Bad upstream, water quality results and Swim Guide

Thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson for posting the Valdosta results.

We are still waiting for Madison Health’s downstream results from Tuesday.

One of our WWALS testers also drew a farther downstream sample today.

Until those or later tests show clear, better safe than sorry.

This time it can’t be just cattle manure coming down Okapilco Creek out of Brooks County, Georgia, because all three of Valdosta’s Monday results are for upstream of there. But there is a dairy and a hog farm on the Withlacoochee River upstream of Lowndes County, and at least three horse farms near the river in Lowndes County, plus many cats, dogs, chickens, deer, and septic tanks. Some of their manure was no doubt washed into the creeks and rivers by the Saturday rain. I also won’t be surprised if in a few days we start seeing sewage late reports on the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report.

This contamination is almost certainly not from the tiny FOG spill Valdosta had Friday. That one wasn’t anywhere near big enough, and US 41 is upstream of Sugar Creek, anyway. Continue reading

Very bad water quality: Withlacoochee River 2021-04-26

Update 2021-04-28: Bad upstream, too: Withlacoochee River water quality 2021-04-26.

It’s best to stay off the Withlacoochee River for a few days, with bacterial counts this high in the samples WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach took yesterday (Monday). This is not a good time for boating, fishing, or swimming in the river.

[Bad results, Petrifilms, River, Swim Guide]
Bad results, Petrifilms, River, Swim Guide

Probably Madison Health tested today, and we may see results via FDEP tomorrow. But at least until then, better safe than sorry.

This river contamination is most likely the usual cattle manure (and plus some wild hog manure) washed into the creeks and rivers by the Saturday rain. It is almost certainly not from the tiny FOG spill Valdosta had Friday. Continue reading

Clean Little River and Withlacoochee River clean again 2021-04-22

Update 2021-04-27: Very bad water quality: Withlacoochee River 2021-04-26.

Clean as a whistle: the start of tomorrow morning’s BIG Little River Paddle Race, Red Roberts Landing at Rountree Bridge, upstream on the Little River from Reed Bingham State Park Lake, according to a Thursday sample by WWALS tester Elizabeth Brunner.

Postponed due to weather to 2PM, Sunday, April 25, 2021: BIG Little River Paddle Race.

And clean Thursday from Knights Ferry to FL-6 on the Withlacoochee River, according to WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach and Madison Health.

So as far as we can tell, happy paddling, swimming, and fishing!

[Clean week, agate, Withlacoochee River, Little River @ Red Roberts to Suwannee River Clean]
Clean week, agate, Withlacoochee River, Little River @ Red Roberts to Suwannee River Clean

We have nothing from Valdosta for any day since Monday, but that showed clean at US 41, GA 133, and US 84 on the Withlacoochee River. Continue reading