Tag Archives: New River

Updates on Homerville, Quitman, Tifton, and Valdosta in GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report 2024-04-11

Update 2024-04-18: Dirty creeks, but clean rivers 2024-04-17.

The Tuesday and Wednesday GA-EPD Sewage Spills Reports provide updates about the spills during and after last week’s thunderstorms.

Tifton’s biggest spill was 40,400 gallons, which is four times the limit for a major spill, and GA-EPD still is confused about where it was.

Rochelle’s spill was only 3,000 gallons. No sewage spill is a good spill, but at least that one was small.

Quitman had three, not two, spills, although they were all small and not near Okapilco Creek.

We guessed correctly where the Homerville spill was.

And while latitudes and longitudes appeared again briefly, many of them are inaccurate, for Tifton, and especially for Valdosta. Even Valdosta’s 6.7 million gallon WWTP spill has slightly wrong latitude and longitude.

We know where they all were, and WWALS has been doing some water quality testing. Stay tuned for results.

[Updates on Homerville, Quitman, Tifton, and Valdosta in GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report 2024-04-16-17]
Updates on Homerville, Quitman, Tifton, and Valdosta in GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report 2024-04-16-17

The Tuesday report provides 5,000 gallons for the Rochelle spill.

For the Tifton spills, it provides Continue reading

Homerville, Rochelle, and Tifton sewage spills 2024-04-11

Update 2024-04-18: Updates on Homerville, Quitman, Tifton, and Valdosta in GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report 2024-04-11.

Update 2024-04-17: Madison County, Florida, Health advisory for Withlacoochee River about Valdosta sewage spill 2024-04-17.

Some more cities spilled during the big thunderstorms last week: Homerville and Rochelle, according to today’s GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report.

[Homerville, Rochelle, and Tifton, sewage spills 2024-04-11, More Valdosta will appear, No Quitman update yet]
Homerville, Rochelle, and Tifton, sewage spills 2024-04-11, More Valdosta will appear, No Quitman update yet

There are still no spills reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida’s Pollution Spills Report.

Back in Georgia, Doerun is not in the Suwannee River Basin, but got picked up by the WWALS highlighting algorithm, which goes by counties as well as rivers.

Reynolds Creek runs from Rochelle into the Alapaha River. We’ve seen many spills there before.

Valdosta’s small April 9 sewage spill is in here. But not yet its seven April 11 spills nor its 6.7 million gallon spill. GA-EPD is aware of all of those, and presumably they will appear soon.

Tifton got an update with gallons spilled in this Monday’s GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report. 809 E Golden road is on Gum Creek, which runs into the New River, not the Little River. Maybe they meant 809 Golden Road W, which does run into the Little River. I have alerted GA-EPD.

No update yet on Quitman’s April 10th spills.

I had to look up Gallows Branch. Apparently it’s by E. Forest Ave., running into Woodyard Creek, which runs into Surveyors Creek, into the Okefenokee Swamp.

[Homerveille WTP, Gallows Branch, and Woodyard Creek in SRWT]
Homerveille WTP, Gallows Branch, and Woodyard Creek in the WWALS map of the Suwannee River Water Trail (SRWT)

And the Homerville Wastewater Treatment Plant is on E. Forest Ave.

[Homerville WTP --Google Streetview]
Homerville WTP in Google Streetview

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!

Valdosta, Quitman, and Tifton sewage spills in big rains 2024-04-11

Update 2024-04-15: Valdosta spilled 6.7 million gallons including 1.34 million gallons raw sewage 2024-04-12.

Update 2024-04-13: Clean before the storm, but sewage spills during 2024-04-11.

During the recent thunderstorms, Quitman had two sewage spills, presumably into Okapilco Creek, and Tifton had two spills into the New River, according to the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report, all of unknown amounts.

According to a City of Valdosta press release, Valdosta had seven sewage spills during the storms, adding up to 434,850 gallons of raw sewage. Plus a small spill a few days before due to grease and rags.

[Tifton, Quitman, and Valdosta thunderstorm sewage spills 2024-04-11]
Tifton, Quitman, and Valdosta thunderstorm sewage spills 2024-04-11

Georgia Updates, Newsbreak, April 12, 2024, Valdosta Residents Face Sewer Overflows After Major Rainfall Event, “Residents are advised to avoid contact with rivers, creeks, streams, or tributaries in Lowndes County due to potential exposure to untreated sewage.”

That sentence is not in the City of Valdosta press release from yesterday, although that PR is the source for the rest of that story.

Interestingly, no spills were reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida in FDEP’s Public Notices of Pollution.

Recent Valdosta Sewage Spills

Here is Valdosta’s 2024-04-11 spill report table, with an additional column for waterbody that I added, and a row for the April 9 grease and rags spill, followed by subtotal and total rows.

Update 2024-04-14 Also I inserted a date column and some reformatting.

LocationDate            Start TimeEnd TimeCauseEstimated
1402 N Lee St (1)2024-04-117:30 AM12:00 PMI&I*40,500One Mile Branch
1402 N Lee St (2)2024-04-117:30 AM12:00 PMI&I*6,750One Mile Branch
1402 N Lee St (3)2024-04-117:30 AM12:00 PMI&I*67,500One Mile Branch
1212 Wainwright Dr2024-04-1111:00 AM6:00 PMI&I*150,000One Mile Branch
2509 Seymour2024-04-1111:15 AM3:00 PMI&I*900Two Mile Branch
1817 Gornto2024-04-1110:00 AM6:00 PMI&I*60,000Lake Sheri
1825 Norman Dr2024-04-1110:15 AM3:00 PMI&I*1,200Sugar Creek
213 Knob Hill2024-04-1111:00 AM6:00 PMI&I*108,000Three Mile Branch
Subtotal* Infiltration and Inflow434,850
4051 Huntley Dr2024-04-09?6:30 PMGrease and rags5,000Cherry Creek

What we do not see is any spills from the notorious collapsed sewer main between E. Park Ave. and US 84. Maybe the bypass is finally working correctly.

I commend Valdosta for including start and end times and precise locations, as well as for timely press releases. Next, if they can look in Valdosta Stormwater Division maps to determine which streams the spills end up in, that would be great. Continue reading

Ockolocoochee, Little River 1889-01-29

Who knows the Ockolocoochee River? No, not the Ochlockonee River; that’s a bit to the west.

[Withlacoochee River labeled Suwanee R. in 1823 Irwin and 1834 Lowndes County maps; current WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail map]
Withlacoochee River labeled Suwanee R. in 1823 Irwin and 1834 Lowndes County maps; current WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail map

You do know the Ockolocoochee River as the Little River, of the Withlacoochee, of the Suwannee.

Here is news from 1889 that also includes the boat that didn’t survive from Troupville to Ellaville, which was apparently not a paddlewheel steamer. Continue reading

Exploring the Santa Fe River: Origins –Joanne Tremblay 2023-11-03

Joanne Tremblay says, “I was inspired to create a visual of the river’s path so folks could get a better understanding of its changes it goes through before it becomes the spring-laden stretch that most are familiar with. All my own footage, paddles are a composite from my own at different times.”


My favorite is this slide, “I will not repeat this journey”, about Worthington to Bible Camp Road: “Seven miles through tangled woods”. Continue reading

Hurricane Idalia landing in Florida, more Georgia counties on Hurricane Watch 2023-08-30

Cedar Key is getting high winds from Hurricane Idalia, and Steinhatchee’s weather camera is offline, while the National Weather Service has added more Georgia counties to its Hurricane Watch; all Florida Suwannee River Basin Counties were already in Hurricane Watch.

If you’re in Florida, hunker down. If you’re in Georgia, you may have time for some last-minute preparations. Either way, most schools and businesses are closed today in the Hurricane Watch counties, so there’s not much need to go out in the rain and wind.

Also, don’t buy water in plastic bottles. Fill pots, jugs, buckets, and bathtubs with tap or well water.

Watch your local county or city Emergency Management Agency. Have your power utility outage number handy.

Dear central and south Florida urban sophisticates: we know you’re used to this. In the rural Suwannee River Basin a Category 3 hurricane is unusual, especially one making landfall where it is, and likely to stay a hurricane so far inland.

Also, many of us remember Hurricane Michael, which only five years ago devastated the Florida Big Bend and trashed Albany, Georgia, on a path only a bit farther west than Hurricane Idalia. So this is not a joke to those of us who live here.

Better safe than sorry.

[Hurricane Watch in more Georgia Counties, High winds at Cedar Key, Hurricane Idalia, 2023-08-30 06:00]
Hurricane Watch in more Georgia Counties, High winds at Cedar Key, Hurricane Idalia, 2023-08-30 06:00

Since our last post, NWS JAX has added to the Hurricane Watch Suwannee River Basin Georgia counties Thomas, Cook, Berrien, Atkinson, and Coffee, along with more counties northeastward, Jeff Davis, Bacon, Pierce, Brantley, Apppling, Appling, Wayne, Tatnall, Long, Evans, and along the coast McIntosh, Liberty, Bryan, and Chatham Counties. All the Florida Suwannee River Basin Counties were already on Hurricane Watch.

All the nearby Georgia and Florida counties are on Tropical Storm Warning, as far west as Albany in Dougherty County. Continue reading

Georgia declares State of Emergency for Hurricane Idalia 2023-08-29

Update 2023-08-30: Hurricane Idalia landing in Florida, more Georgia counties on Hurricane Watch 2023-08-30.

The Georgia governor has declared a State of Emergency about Hurricane Idalia for the entire state.

[Georgia State of Emergency, Hurricane Watch Counties 2023-08-29 14:27]
Georgia State of Emergency, Hurricane Watch Counties 2023-08-29 14:27

Like the earlier Florida State of Emergency, this Georgia one mobilizes numerous state agencies and enables cooperation with relevant federal agencies.

The Executive Order does not name any counties, but the press release names almost all the Suwannee River Basin Counties on the GA-FL line (Brooks, Lowndes, Echols, Clinch, Ware, and Charlton), plus Lanier, but not Thomas. Continue reading

All 2023 sewage spills into the Suwannee River Basin

Update 2023-08-29: 8,400 gallons of sewage into Dukes Bay Canal, Valdosta, GA, due to unknown obstruction 2023-08-28.

Inquiring minds (Suzy’s) wanted to know how many times Valdosta spilled sewage this year.

Answer: nine reported, five into Knights Creek, which goes to the Alapahoochee and Alapaha Rivers, two into Hightower Creek, which goes into Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River, one into One Mile Branch, also Sugar Creek and Withlacoochee River, and one into Cherry Creek, directly into the Withlacoochee River.

Valdosta spilled 1,182,221 gallons of raw sewage, accounting for 61.93% of the total 1,908,971 gallons spilled in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia and Florida so far in 2023.

I would like to thank Valdosta Utilities Assistant Director Jason Barnes for calling the day after that most recent spill, to note that Utilties found the spill, he had personally been out there and got it stopped that same evening, and they tracked the amount with SCADA. Plus it was reported to the public and to GA-EPD the day after it happened. All that is improvement.

Of course, the only good number of spills is none, as I told WTXL after a previous spill.

[Sewage spills and WWALS water trails]
Sewage spills and WWALS water trails

Runner-up was tiny Ashburn, with 673,400 gallons, or 35.28% of the total, mostly spilled into Hat Creek, which goes into the Alapaha River, with some into Ashburn Branch, which goes into the Little River. Ashburn has had a chronic sewage spill problem for many years, and needs to get a grip. Ashburn did get some ARPA money to work on that, so maybe there will be improvement.

Also-rans included Continue reading

FL Gov signed sprawl bill: need Rights to Clean Water 2023-06-08

Thanks to everyone who asked the Florida Governor to veto the sprawl bill, HB 359 / SB 540. But he signed it anyway, so now anyone who sues to stop a comprehensive plan change and loses has to pay the other side’s legal bills.

And the Supreme Court drastically limited the scope of the Clean Water Act in its decision in Sackett II.

Now we really need Right to Clean Water in Florida as a constitutional amendment. Please sign the petition and ask all your Florida registered voter friends and relatives to do so.

With enough signatures, the RTCW petition can get a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2024, and there is nothing the legislature or governor can do to stop it.

[Right to Clean Water, FL SB 540]
Right to Clean Water, FL SB 540

Georgians, please encourage Floridians to sign the petition.

Here’s an explanation of why other means won’t work,
“Floridians who’ve been following along know that we are not going to achieve anything remotely resembling such protections through legislative action, which is why supporting this amendment is a no-brainer.”

Cheryl Lasse, Palm Beach Post, June 8, 2023, New Florida law and court ruling leave state’s waterways in peril, Continue reading

Suwannee Riverkeeper wants you to get these Florida bills vetoed

Floridians, you can help protect our river, springs, and Floridan Aquifer!

Please use these convenient Waterkeepers Florida forms to ask Florida Governor DeSantis to veto three bad bills:

[Suwannee Riverkeeper wants you! Photo: Shirley Kokidko, Alapahoochee River 2022-07-09]
Suwannee Riverkeeper wants you! Photo: Shirley Kokidko, Alapahoochee River 2022-07-09

Don’t forget to sign the petition for a constitutional amendment referendum on Right to Clean and Healthy Waters:

Georgians and everybody else, you can still send a comment to GA-EPD opposing a titanium dioxide strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp:
twinpines.comment@dnr.ga.gov Continue reading