Tag Archives: Mud Swamp Creek

Sewage Spills: Quitman, Valdosta, Tifton 2021-01-03

Update 2021-01-06: Bad up and down: Withlacoochee River 2021-01-05.

Tifton spilled raw sewage three times over the weekend, all into the New River, upstream of the Withlacoochee River. As already reported, Valdosta spilled into Knights Creek, which goes into Mud Swamp Creek, the Alapahoochee River, and the Alapaha River just above Sasser Landing. We have no water quality data downstream of any of those spills.

Plus Quitman finally reported a spill from more than a week ago, but downstream water quality on the Withlacoochee River the next day was actually better than the day before.

However, the big rains in between drove plenty of contamination, probably mostly cow, pig, and horse manure, into the Withlacoochee, with even Madison Health showing too-high E. coli at State Line for December 29, 2020.

The even bigger rains this past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday probably have done the same.

So I’d recommend avoiding not just the Withlacoochee River, but also the Alapaha River for a few days, until better test results come in.

[Spills and little data]
Spills and little data

The one recent datapoint we have is WWALS tester Tasha Ekman LaFace’s record-high for that location 1,333 cfu/100 mL E. coli at Naylor Park Beach on the Alapaha River, just upstream from US 84. But that can’t be from the Valdosta sewage spill, since Naylor Beach is way upstream of the Alapahoochee River Confluence with the Alapaha River. However, Naylor Beach is not a long way downstream from Lakeland, so it will be interesting if we hear about any spills from there. Continue reading

Valdosta Mildred Street Sewage Spill, Alapaha River Basin 2021-01-02

Update 2021-01-05: Sewage Spills: Quitman, Valdosta, Tifton 2021-01-03.

Happy New Year from Valdosta, with a sewage spill at one of its chronic locations, although Valdosta was vague about exactly where and got the creek wrong. I wonder how they plan to fix this flooding that causes sewage spills if they don’t know where the water drains?

On January 2, 2021, the City of Valdosta Utilities Department responded to a call concerning a sanitary sewer overflow at a manhole in the 400 block of Mildred Street, an area that experiences localized flooding during rain events. The sanitary sewer spill was a result of excessive rainfall over a 24 hour period. This amount of rainfall over a short period of time resulted in storm water infiltration and inflow entering the collection system, and causing the manhole to exceed its capacity. Approximately 25,150 gallons of combined storm water and sewage discharged at this location, eventually entering into Dukes Bay.

…Warning signs have been posted at this location as well as downstream to advise the public to avoid any contact with this waterway for the next seven (7) days.

[Sewage Spill, Mildred Street, Valdosta, Alapaha River]
Sewage Spill, Mildred Street, Valdosta, Alapaha River

Although Valdosta’s press release is careful to point out that this spill did not come from the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treetment Plant (WWTP), which is good, the PR does not say where “downstream” is. Dukes Bay Canal goes to Mud Swamp Creek, then the Alapahoochee River, and then reaches the Alapaha River slightly upstream of Sasser Landing, in Hamilton County, Florida.

[Mildred Street to Sasser Landing, Alapaha River]
Mildred Street to Sasser Landing, Alapaha River in the map of the Alapaha River Water Trail.

So this spill will not affect the Withlacoochee River. WWALS will attempt to get some testing done on the Alapaha River. I’d also like to see a Valdosta warning sign posted at Sasser Landing, but I’d bet there is no such sign.

What is downstream is known to Valdosta’s Engineering Department Stormwater Division: City of Valdosta – Master Stormwater Management Plan 2010,

Section 5
Mud Swamp Creek Basin

Mud Swamp Creek is located on the southern side of the City of Valdosta, flowing from west to east. The Mud Swamp Creek basin is about 43 square miles in total area and is tributary to the Alapahoochee River. Within the City, significant drainage features tributary to Mud Swamp Creek include the Dukes Bay Canal and Knights Creek. The Dukes Bay Canal represents approximately 10 percent of the total tributary area of Mud Swamp Creek, while Knights Creek accounts for nearly 40 percent. During the April 2009 storm, some flooding was experienced along Mud Swamp Creek; however, the severity of the flooding was minimal when compared to flooding associated with the Withlacoochee River. Severe flooding, however, was noted downstream of Mud Swamp Creek along the Alapahoochee and Alapaha Rivers.

I wonder if Valdosta has ever fixed this problem, identified later in Section 5:

5.1.3 Existing Conditions

  • Cypress Street Improvements: The 1996 SWMP recommended upsizing the culvert under Cypress Street to a 3 ft H x 5 ft W box culvert. The City has designed this upgrade; however, the new culvert was never constructed. Currently, there is a double 30-inch circular culvert crossing under Cypress Street.

[Dukes Bay Canal East]
Dukes Bay Canal East

However, according to the Valdosta Stormwater Division, Mildred Street does not drain into Dukes Bay Canal.

[3 node locations with potential structural flooding]
3 node locations with potential structural flooding

Instead, Mildred Street drains into Knights Creek. We’ve mentioned this before, for example after Valdosta’s December 14, 2018, 408 Mildred Street spill of 123,375 gallons of raw sewage. Actually, Valdosta even listed that one with GA-EPD as going into Knights Creek.

Also notice that time they were more specific: 408, not just 400 block. But earlier that same month when Valdosta spilled 210,000 gallons they listed it merely as 400 block Mildred Street, although they did get Knights Creek right.

[Valdosta Sub-basins]
Valdosta Sub-basins
PDF

More specifically, Mildred street drains into to what we’re calling Knights Creek Cypress Street Branch 03110202006919, which runs into Knights Creek, which goes into Dukes Bay Canal, etc.

[Knights Creek]
Knights Creek

Valdosta Press Release

Thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson, WWALS did get a copy of this PR yesterday at 3:26 PM. However, despite years of promises from Valdosta, we did not get a notice when the state agencies were notified. This Valdosta spill has not yet shown up in GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report, although one from Quitman has, from December 22, 2020; stay tuned on that one.

Weekend Storm Results in Manhole Overflow

On January 2, 2021, the City of Valdosta Utilities Department responded to a call concerning a sanitary sewer overflow at a manhole in the 400 block of Mildred Street, an area that experiences localized flooding during rain events. The sanitary sewer spill was a result of excessive rainfall over a 24 hour period. This amount of rainfall over a short period of time resulted in storm water infiltration and inflow entering the collection system, and causing the manhole to exceed its capacity. Approximately 25,150 gallons of combined storm water and sewage discharged at this location, eventually entering into Dukes Bay.

It is important to note that this spill did not occur at the city’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant. During the storm, city infrastructure operated as designed. The Withlacochee Plant ran all four units plus the two excess flow equalization basins.

The city continues its ongoing effort to improve the infrastructure of the city’s collection system and eliminate these issues in the future. The city Utilities Department is currently working on an inflow and infiltration project that will identify sources of I&I, eventually eliminating excess flows into the sewer system during rain events. Sewer spills are not acceptable at any time. It has been the city’s top priority to prevent them all through the recent construction of the WWTP New Secondary Equalization Basin, as well as the Lift Station Rehab Program, Smoke Testing Program, Annual Manhole Rehab Program and the ongoing River Sampling Program that tests waters three times a week.

All appropriate regulatory agencies has been notified, and sampling of the impacted area will start immediately. Warning signs have been posted at this location as well as downstream to advise the public to avoid any contact with this waterway for the next seven (7) days. City staff have cleaned and disinfected the impacted area of this discharge.

[Google Streetview: north from 400 Mildred Street @ Cypress Street]
Google Streetview: north from 400 Mildred Street @ Cypress Street

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Suwannee Riverkeeper asks Georgia EPD to require Valdosta to do better about its record sewage spill 2019-12-17

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, December 19, 2019 — Compelled by the severity of Valdosta’s record raw sewage spill and the expenses and stigma incurred nearby and downstream, Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS Watershed Coalition has sent a letter requesting ten enforcment actions to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD). WWALS member Deanna Mericle of Hamilton County, Florida, summed it up: “As a person living downstream on the Withlacoochee River in Florida, I feel shat upon by Valdosta over and over. I cannot drink the water from my well. I worry about the health of the river itself and the animals that live in it and drink from it. We in Florida were patient while Valdosta was improving their wastewater plant, which apparently was not adequate since we still have spills when it rains heavily. But this time it was not a rain event. It was gross negligence. I am out of patience. I believe it is time for legal action.”

The Suwannee Riverkeeper letter notes GA-EPD already has a legal action against Valdosta, a Consent Order. WWALS asks GA-EPD to use its enforcement power to require notification, water quality testing, education, and plans and procedures not only for preventing such spills but also for tracking them as they travel down our creeks and rivers and for remediation of effects on wells and reputation.

[2019-12-17--WWALS-GA-EPD-Valdosta-sewage-0001]
2019-12-17–WWALS-GA-EPD-Valdosta-sewage-0001

“Valdosta says it does what GA-EPD tells it to do, so we’re asking GA-EPD to tell them,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Today we’re forwarding the letter to Continue reading

Video: Valdosta explains Mud Creek WTP spill 2018-08-21

Kenneth Lowe, Assistant Plant Superintendent of the Mud Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, explained that plant’s that recent spill to the organizational meeting of the WWALS Water Quality Testing Committee.

Tom Potter, Kenneth Lowe, Ronnie Thomas, Erica McLelland, Shirley Kokidko, student, Effluents
Tom Potter, Kenneth Lowe, Ronnie Thomas, Erica McLelland, Shirley Kokidko, student

He apologized profusely several times for the spill. Continue reading

135,000 gallons from Valdosta Mud Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant 2018-08-13

Valdosta spilled again, and again bigger than any recently from Albany or Tifton. This news was first seen on WALB TV out of Albany 5:10 PM last night. Valdosta sent email to WWALS at 10:17 PM.

Should Suwannee Riverkeeper have to watch WALB in Albany to learn first about a wastewater spill in Valdosta, the biggest city in the Suwannee River Basin?

More importantly, if “Spills of any nature are unacceptable,” why do you keep having them, Valdosta? Especially with only 1.5 inches of rain? What will you do in another tropical storm or hurricane? And how and when will we know?

WALB TV, TV

Krista Monk, WALB TV, 5:10 PM, 14 August 2018, City of Valdosta reports 135K gallon sewage spill, Continue reading

Cherry Creek and Grand Bay Creek

Does Cherry Creek come from Grand Bay? This question came up about Valdosta’s Cherry Creek Lift Station Spill. No, but you weren’t alone if you didn’t know that.

Watershed Divide between Withlacoochee and Alapaha Basins
Cherry Creek (lower left) and Grand Bay Creek (right)

Cherry Creek runs into the Withlacoochee River, and comes from very near Grand Bay, but not Continue reading

Valdosta force main and new WWTP are online and working

The recent rains caused little wastewater overflow, according to Valdosta City Council Tim Carroll, who forwarded cryptic Valdosta press release yesterday and then explained on the telephone what it meant: Map the two biggest pieces of Valdosta’s wastewater and sewer fixes are operational already.

The press release referred to “the new force main” as if it were already in operation, yet nothing on Valdosta’s website says it is. So I called Tim Carroll and he confirmed that yes, the force main is online. Not only that, but 5 million gallons less water than usual for such rains entered the new Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).

Wait, does that mean the new, uphill, out-of-the-floodplain WWTP is also online? Yes, confirmed Carroll. And the less inflow was due to less INI.

What’s INI, I asked, ignorantly? Continue reading

Three more Valdosta wastewater overflows 2016-03-28

Who thought it was a good idea for stormwater to go into Valdosta’s sanitary sewer system? 700 Cypress Street, Valdosta, GA Whoever it was, the current Valdosta Utilities, Engineering, and especially Stormwater Director have to deal with it, frequently. Maybe some of the upwards of $300 million Valdosta is spending on force main, new Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, etc., will help with this problem. But none of that will stop rain from falling on Valdosta, and little of it is directed at the Alapaha River watershed in Valdosta, where one of this week’s three spills went.

Come see for yourself where Sugar Creek flows into the Withlacoochee River, this Sunday morning, April 3rd, on the extra WWALS Outing from Langdale Park to the Little River Boat Ramp. And come paddle with us on the Alapaha River Saturday morning April 23rd, from Hotchkiss Road in Lanier County to Mayday in Echols County, upstream from where Knights Creek flows into Mud Swamp Creek, which joins Grand Bay Creek to form the Alapahoochee River, which joins the Alapaha River in Florida. And of course both the Withlacoochee and the Alapaha join the Suwannee River. Valdosta says there’s no significant vestige of its wastewater that far downstream. It would be good to have some independent water quality monitoring to be sure.

I notice Section 5 Mud Swamp Creek Basin of Valdosta’s Master Stormwater Management Plan says: Continue reading

Valdosta spilled into Alapaha as well as Withlacoochee watersheds in February

Spilling sewage into the Withlacoochee River apparently wasn’t enough 300x388 Figure 2.2.5. Sub-basins Areas, in Section 2 Methodology, by City of Valdosta, for WWALS.net, 14 January 2011 for Valdosta: in February it also spilled three times into the Alapaha River watershed. At least once this was due to rains directly on Valdosta, for which the levee proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers on Sugar Creek at the Withlacoochee River wouldn’t help. It’s time for Valdosta to move along with fixing its wastewater problems. More transparency from Valdosta would also help. And I, for one, would like to see that promised Corps flooding study of the entire Suwannee River Basin.

In three different reports in February, Valdosta mentioned sewage overflows into either Knights Creek or Dukes Bay Canal, without mentioning that those flow into Mud Swamp Creek, which joins with Grand Bay Creek to form the Alapahoochee River, which joins the Alapaha River, which flows into the Suwannee River. The Florida Department of Health apparently didn’t know that, since it didn’t mention the Alapaha River in its advisories for counties downstream. But Valdosta should know, according to its own SWMP Update Phase 1 Final Report, Section 2 Methodology, 2011-01-14, that about half of Valdosta is drained by Knights Creek and Dukes Bay Canal: Continue reading

Alapahoochee River

Proposed for the WWALS January 2014 outing: the river most people know nothing about, from the convergence of Mud Swamp Creek where Grand Bay Creek forms the border between Lowndes County and Echols County in Georgia east of Valdosta, about 14 miles through Echols County between Lake Park and Statenville, to the Alapaha River in Hamilton County, Florida east of Jennings: the Alapahoochee River.

It has a waterfall, limestone caves, and boat ramps, all pictured by South Georgia Kayak Fishing 3 September 2011 in Alapahoochee convergence at Alapaha River – Jennings, FL.

Here’s a brief day paddle description, Florida whitewater, Alapahoochee River Grand Bay Canal), by riverfacts.com:

Echols / Hamilton county, GA SR 135 to FL SR 150 on Alapaha section whitewater kayaking, rafting, and paddling information.

This stretch of Alapahoochee River Grand Bay Canal) in Echols / Hamilton County is 4.5 miles long and is according to American Whitewater a class II section of whitewater.

They include a map.

Continue reading