Tag Archives: Onemile Branch

Horrendous water quality at GA 133 & US 84 Wednesday, clean downstream 2020-11-12

Update 2020-11-16: Better now, Withlacoochee River water quality 2020-11-14.

We’ve never seen anything quite like this.

Valdosta got 137,600 cfu/100 mL E. coli for Wednesday at GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River. That’s 137 times the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream alert limit of 1,000.

That’s far higher than the highest E. coli reading we’ve ever seen for the Withlacoochee River, which was the 39,000 Valdosta got on December 10, 2019, just after its infamous record spill. Which at least makes it unlikely that this contamination is coming from Valdosta.

Even the 85,600 Valdosta got for US 84 Wednesday is higher than that previous record at GA 133, and far above unprecedented for US 84. The previous US 84 record was 1,505 on April 1, after a big rain.

GA 133 is the same place Valdosta keeps finding very high E. coli and Fecal coliform, including 11,600 E. coli Friday a week ago. There has not been any rain. Which makes it very unlikely that this is runoff from farm animals.

[Horrendous upstream, clean downstream]
Horrendous upstream, clean downstream
Photos: Michael and Jacob Bachrach at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, Thursday, November 12, 2020.

Yet Valdosta’s Wednesday downstream water quality results were all good, as were those by WWALS and Madison Health for Thursday.

According to the latest water quality results downstream of US 84, things look great for the Withlacoochee River this weekend. But I have to tell you I wouldn’t get in that water without more sampling.

I wish I could tell you what caused this, but so far I can only say a few things it’s not, and then speculate. Continue reading

Two or more sources last Tuesday, advisory lifted Monday, Withlacoochee River 2020-10-05

Update 2020-10-16: Ashburn spilled sewage three times in September 2020-09-27

It was harsh, but it went by fast. Except there seem to have been at least two sources of contamination.

The Health Advisory has been lifted for the Withlacoochee River, and I’ve set all the Withlacoochee “beaches” green again on Swim Guide.

[Lifted, Green on Swim Guide, Sources]
Lifted, Green on Swim Guide, Sources

The contamination that reached the GA-FL line on October 1st appears to have started from Continue reading

The real trash problem: the companies that make it

People shouldn’t litter, but individuals are not the real litter problem. The companies that make all those throwaway items are the problem. There are fixes, which we can implement. One fix Georgians can vote on right now: vote Yes on Amendment 1 please!

There was no lack of trash on the Alapaha River in September, at Berrien Beach Boat Ramp in Berrien County and at Berrien Beach in Lanier County. We found the usual cigarette butts, shotgun shells, and yes, a few used diapers.

Plus tires. To help stop tires being dumped by rivers, please vote Yes on Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1 to stop fee diversions.

We found fewer shotgun shells and tires but more of everything else at Twomile Branch in Valdosta, Sugar Creek, and the Withlacoochee River in August.

Come to the big cleanup this Saturday on the Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers in Lowndes County and on Sugar Creek, Onemile Branch, and Twomile Branch in Valdosta October 10, 2020!

We expect as usual the most numerous items will be plastic and glass bottles and cans.

[Bottles]
Bottles

Sure people shouldn’t litter, but Anheuser-Busch and other beer makers, as well as Nestlé, Coca Cola, and Walmart, should stop making and selling disposable bottles and cans.

Fifty years ago those things had deposits on them, and people would collect them for the cash. In economic downturns such as right now, that could be useful to a lot of people, and a lot more cleanups would happen. Sure, there was still trash back then, but not as much.

People still do in Hawaii and nine other states: California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Vermont, plus Guam. They don’t have nearly as big of a litter problem.

But Georgia or Florida do not have such container deposits. Maybe we should change that.

No, recycling will not solve this problem. There’s no market for plastic to recycle, and recycling has been pushed by big oil for years as an excuse to make more plastic throw-away containers. Laura Sullivan, NPR, 11 September 2020, How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled.

You’ve probably seen the famous ‘Crying Indian’ ad from 1971: Continue reading

Cleanups, Testing, WWALS Boomerang on Steve Nichols radio show 2020-10-06

Steve Nichols and Suwannee Riverkeeper will ask again: does anybody want to drink dirty water? That’s 8:30 AM tomorrow, October 6, 2020, on 105.9 FM WVGA. In addition to water quality testing, we’ll also discuss the big cleanup coming up this Saturday on three rivers and many creeks, and the Third Annual WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Georgia into Florida and back. Plus some other outings.

[Water Quality Testing]
Water Quality Testing 2020-08-18

WVGA FM says:

The top rated morning talk show in south Georgia, Steve Nichols offers both sides of every story from Berrien County to the Beltway, and everywhere in between.

You can listen at 105.9 FM, on the WVGA Live apps, through ValdostaToday.com (link on front page), on Alexa devices, or you can stream in-studio video at the official Morning Drive Facebook page.

When: 8:30 AM, Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Where: 105.9 FM WVGA (see above for how to listen)

Event: facebook

Thanks to Steve Nichols for helping promote the Third Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, which went very well.

On Saturday, October 10, 2020, in conjunction with Lowndes County, WWALS will be doing a three-location cleanup at Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River, on Sugar Creek down to the Withlacoochee River, and at Naylor Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River, plus Valdosta is organizing several creek cleanups.
https://wwals.net/?p=53557

[Flyer: Cleanup on three rivers, many creeks]
Flyer: Cleanup on three rivers, many creeks

On Saturday, October 24, 2020, there’s the Third Annual WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Georgia into Florida and back.

Tickets to the WWALS Boomerang are $20 online through Ocotber 15, then $30 at the event.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wwals-boomerang-paddle-race-2020-tickets-118844038719?aff=efbeventtix

For much more, follow this link: wwals.net/pictures/2020-10-24–boomerang/ Continue reading

River and Creek Cleanup, Lowndes County, Valdosta, and WWALS 2020-10-10

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (See also PDF)

River and Creek Cleanup, Lowndes County, Valdosta, and WWALS 2020-10-10

Hahira, GA, September 8, 2020 — Lowndes County has three rivers, all great for fishing, boating, and swimming, and Valdosta has many creeks. Everyone enjoys our waterways better when they are clean. Here’s a fun opportunity to get outside and clean them up.

[Flyer: Cleanup on three rivers, many creeks]
Flyer: Cleanup on three rivers, many creeks

Lowndes County, the City of Valdosta, and WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) are jointly organizing a three-river cleanup in the county, at Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River, at Sugar Creek on the Withlacoochee River, and at Naylor Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River, plus cleanups in Valdosta on Onemile Branch, Twomile Branch, and Sugar Creek.

Please join us, from 9 AM to 11 AM, on Saturday, October 10, 2020. No boat required, although if you want to bring a boat, there are water cleanup opportunities at each river location and some of the creeks.

Please bring sturdy mud boots or shoes, long pants and clothes that can get wet or dirty, insect repellant, a refillable water bottle, and an emergency phone number. Trash bags and trash pickers will be provided, as well as drinking water and snacks, but bring your own if you can.

Please maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from people not in your household. Please wear a mask when near people not in your household. We will have extra masks.

Events: Facebook, meetup.

The Valdosta Locations are:

Continue reading

WWALS Honored at Georgia DNR Confluence Conference as Volunteers of the Year 2020-08-29

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, GA, August 31, 2020 — WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman zoomed into the annual Georgia Adopt-A-Stream Confluence conference on Saturday, August 29, 2020, so WWALS could receive the statewide Volunteer of the Year award while we were finishing the Twomile Branch Cleanup.

[Award and Cleanup]
Award and Cleanup

The award is for “Individual has gone beyond the call of duty to improve water quality and meet AAS goals.” We emphasized it was not just one volunteer, but many, in our one-minute award acceptance video. We also thanked Georgia Power again for a grant. We didn’t have time to mention we’re getting testing kits to WWALS testers in Florida, upcoming WWALS water quality testing training, and branching out to the Santa Fe River, but all that is in this post.

Testers shown in the video include Sara Jay, Scotti Jay, Suzy Hall, Alex Chesna, Bobby McKenzie, Jacob Bachrach, and Trudy Cole. Continue reading

Songwriting Contest on Steve Nichols radio show 2020-08-18

Here is video of Steve Nichols and Suwannee Riverkeeper talking about the Songwriting Contest on the radio, last Tuesday morning at 8:30 AM, 105.9 FM WVGA.

Tickets to listen are available, $10 online or $12 at the door (children under 12 free).
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/third-annual-suwannee-riverkeeper-songwriting-contest-finals-tickets-110284875030

For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

[Radio, History, Waterworks, Georgia Beer Co.]
Radio, History, Waterworks, Georgia Beer Co.

The Contest Finals are this Saturday (tomorrow), 7-9 PM, August 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park, 605 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601.

Scott James of 92.1 FM will be the M.C. The headliner, Dirty Bird and the Flu, will play. Then each of the three judges will play. The finalists will play for the judges and you the audience. Somebody will win the $300 First Prize, and the other prizes.

[First Prize, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest]
First Prize, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

There will be a silent auction and kayak raffle tickets will be available. Our top-tier sponsor, Georgia Beer Company, will say a few words, as will our host, the Turner Arts Center, and several WWALS people will speak about programs, projects, stewardship, and advocacy. Each elected official present will get three minutes to speak on any subject; just remember it’s a festival.

Bring your own chairs and tables if you can. We will have some, but if you can bring your own, that will be great. There’s plenty of room to have tables spaced apart. We will be requiring masks when you go up to the WWALS information tables or close to others not in your group.

Food will be by Rico’s Tacos’ food truck. Drinks will be provided by the Pour House.

For much more, follow this link: https://wwals.net/pictures/2020-08-22–songwriting/

Steve Nichols and I also talked about Why care about the waters?, WWALS Cleanups and Outings, Water Quality Testing, Masks at the Contest, and Georgia Beer Company, Top Tier Sponsor.

Why care about the waters?

Video at 3:33. Steve Nichols asked why I was so involved in this water stuff.

A century ago, my grandfather Continue reading

Songwriting Contest on Scott James Radio 2020-08-18

The first of three radio interviews yesterday about the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest was at 7:30 AM on the Scott James show, 92.1 FM.

Songwriting on the radio

Scott James will be the M.C. of the Contest, which is this Saturday, 7-9 PM, August 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park, 605 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601.

Tickets to listen are available, $10 online or $12 at the door (children under 12 free).
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/third-annual-suwannee-riverkeeper-songwriting-contest-finals-tickets-110284875030

For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

I’m pretty sure M.C. Scott James promised to keep the weather fine this Saturday evening. We will have a couple of tents for the M.C. and the judges.

After Scott James and I talked about that, I asked, “Please bring your own chairs and tables. We will have some, but if you can bring your own, that’s great.”

There’s more below about the Songwriting Contest, about Masks and Distance, and about Georgia Beer Company, Top Tier Sponsor.

We also talked about Current Situation of Water Quality Testing, Suwannee River Basin 2020-08-02, WWALS Summary of FDEP chemical and biological tracers, Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers 2020-08-05, and Troupville River Park, Outings: bike and paddle, full moons, and cleanups. Continue reading

Valdosta holds ground-breaking on WWTP catch basin 2020-07-21

Long-awaited, since December 2018, with GA-EPD permit in hand since December 2019, today was the groundbreaking for the new catch basin at the entrance to Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).

[Ground breaking]
Photo: City of Valdosta, Ground breaking

The catch basin probably would have stopped 2/3 of the December 2018 spills. *The other 1/3 in December 2018 was from city infrastructure not acting as designed, unless 2 million gallons of raw sewage spilling from manholes was in that design.

It would not have done anything to stop the record December 2019 raw sewage spill, which resulted from the Remer Lane Pump Station being left offline and disconnected from the SCADA system.

However, some of the other projects mentioned in the below Valdosta press release may help with both those 2018 and 2019 other problems. It’s good to see Valdosta moving ahead to fix its chronic sewer system infrastructure problems.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2020
Release #07-21-104

City Breaks Ground on 7.26 Million-Gallon Equalization Basin at Withlacoochee WWTP

On Tuesday, July 21, 2020, The City of Valdosta broke ground on the new Equalization (EG) Basin located at the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The new secondary basin will provide more than double the available storage for extended periods of operation at the peak hourly flow thereby reducing the potential for overflows at the Plant. The Project includes a lined 7.26 MG excavated Basin, a new pump station, and an associated gravity pipe and force main.

Since its start-up in 2016, Continue reading

Subaru featured Tom Potter for science, cleanup, outings, and water quality

“If you get people out on the river and they have a positive experience with nature, they will help protect it,” wrote Dr. Tom Potter, pictured during the March 2019 Onemile Branch Cleanup at Drexel Park during Azalea Festival.

Kara Pound, Subaru Drive, Winter 2019, 2019 Subaru Drive Community Champions,

We are thrilled to celebrate these exceptional Subaru owners who embody the Subaru Love Promise by giving their time and talent to help their communities.

[The catch]
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, Tom Potter at Onemile Branch Cleanup during Azalea Festival, Drexel Park, Valdosta, GA, 2019-03-10.

The Watershed Protector

Tom Potter, 69
Valdosta, Georgia
Vehicle:
Subaru Outback
Volunteering: WWALS Watershed Coalition, which works to protect watersheds in South Georgia and North Florida

“I have a Ph.D. in environmental chemistry and a lengthy background in the science of water quality — I worked as Continue reading