Tag Archives: rain

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

Odd water quality upstream, Withlacoochee River 2020-11-04

Update 2020-11-07: Horrid quality at GA 133 Friday, but good downstream and Saturday 2020-11-07

We don’t know what that contamination was upstream Wednesday on the Withlacoochee River at US 41 and GA 133. Rain didn’t cause it, because there was no rain.

We do know it was not the Tuesday Tifton spill, because that was into the Little River, which joins the Withlacoochee River downstream of GA 133.

We can speculate that whatever it was should be reaching the state line about now, or at least Knights Ferry. But we don’t know, because we have no downstream data: neither Valdosta nor Madison Health have reported anything below US 84 since last week, and our usual Thursday testers are out of commission this week.

[Chart and Map]
Chart and Map

So it’s hard to say what Withlacoochee River conditions might be right now.

[What's that?]
What’s that?
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida results, see
https://wwals.net/issues/testing/

Maybe FDEP will report Withlacoochee River results in the morning.

Meanwhile, we did get good news for the Alapaha River Sunday, November 1, 2020, from WWALS tester Renee Kirkland: good quality at Sheboggy (US 82) and Statenville.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Bad Knights Ferry water quality, Withlacoochee River 2020-10-30

Before last weekend all the water quality results from Valdosta for Wednesday and Madison Health for Thursday seemed good. But then it rained late Thursday. I tested Friday, and while US 41, just below Sugar Creek, and US 84 were good on the Withlacoochee River, Knights Ferry Boat Ramp was not good at all.

That contamination must have washed downstream. It may have already passed State Line by Monday, and it may never show up in Valdosta or Madison Health results. We shall see what their results for this week say.

But it was there at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp Friday. This is a good illustration of why even more frequent testing is needed.

Oh, and vote for clean water.

[US 41, NSRR, US 84, KF]
US 41, NSRR, US 84, KF

At Knights Ferry, I counted 39 + 38 + 39 = 116 * 100 / 3 = 3,866 cfu/100 mL E. coli. I went with Gretchen’s slightly lower counts of 40 + 25 + 39 = 104 * 100 / 3 = 3,466, because there was some doubt whether some E. coli colonies were separate or not. Sara Jay got an even lower 2,633. Whichever, it’s clear they’re all well above the 1,000 Georgia Adopt-A-Stream alert limit. So we’re using the 2,633 3,466 middle number, which is plenty bad. Continue reading

Clean Withlacoochee River Thursday for WWALS Boomerang Saturday 2020-10-22

2020-11-02: Bad Knights Ferry water quality, Withlacoochee River 2020-10-30.

You couldn’t ask for better water or weather conditions than for the WWALS Boomerang tomorrow (Saturday), from Georgia into Florida and back from State Line Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River.
wwals.net/pictures/2020-10-24–boomerang/

And for the rest of the Withlacoochee and probably the Suwannee River, too. Even the report we got of a spill Monday in Valdosta appears to have been a false alarm. All water quality test results are advisory, since conditions can change rapidly. But no significant rain is expected, so happy boating, swimming, and fishing this weekend, especially at State Line Boat Ramp!

[Chart, State Line, Boomerang, FL-6]
Chart, State Line, Boomerang, FL-6

The weather prediction at Clyattville, GA, is for 70 degrees at 9AM, and 80 at noon, partly cloudy, with little chance of rain. There’s also been little rain for a week, so nothing much has washed into the rivers.

Those pesky shoals should be easier this year. The water level yesterday at the USGS Quitman Gauge was 2.3′ (85.81 feet NAVD88). The Thursday before last year’s Boomerang, October 24, 2019, it was 1.65″ (85.15 feet NAVD88). So the Withlacoochee River is about 2/3 of a foot or 8 inches higher than it was last year.

All that plus clean river water! Continue reading

Very clean Withlacoochee River 2020-10-15

Update 2020-10-23: Clean Withlacoochee River Thursday for WWALS Boomerang Saturday 2020-10-22.

Update 2020-10-20: Adel spilled ten days ago; did not show up in downstream water quality data 2020-10-10.

Water quality results from WWALS and Madison Health for Thursday and from Valdosta for Wednesday concur: happy boating, swimming, and fishing on the Withlacoochee River this weekend!

While all such results are merely advisory, because conditions can change very quickly, also there has been very little rain to wash anything into the river, and no reported sewage spills.

[KF, Nankin, State Line, Results, Swim Guide, plate]
KF, Nankin, State Line, Results, Swim Guide, plate

WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach got 33 cfu/100 mL E. coli at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp for Thursday, October 15, 2020, and zero for Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps. Continue reading

Ashburn spilled sewage three times in September 2020-09-27

Update 2020-10-17: Very clean Withlacoochee River 2020-10-15.

Ashburn, Georgia, spilled 210,000 gallons of raw sewage spread over three times in September and the public only got notified Wednesday, four weeks after the first spill. There’s not enough water quality testing data downstream from those spills to know what effects they may have had for example on Reed Bingham State Park.

[Charts and Map: Ashburn spills to GA-FL line]
Charts and Map: Ashburn spills to GA-FL line

Ashburn spilled once into Hat Creek, which runs into the Alapaha River, and twice from its MLK Lift Station into a tributary of Ashburn Branch, which runs into the Little River. We don’t have any data downstream on the Alapaha for that time period, so we don’t know anything about downstream effects. We do have quite a bit of downstream data for the other two spills, but so far downstream and with so many other things going on that it’s hard to tell if there were any effects showing up in that data.

About the only thing we know for sure is it would be great for Ashburn to get a grip on its chronic sewage spill problem, starting by at least reporting spills in a timely manner. That and it would be great if the state of Georgia or the federal government would resume testing on the Little and Alapaha Rivers as they apparently used to do up until about 1998, so we would know, for example, did this spill affect Reed Bingham State Park.

These are the spills, as reported in the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) Sewage Spills Report. WWALS commends GA-EPD for those online reports. GA-EPD can’t publish spills until it receives reports from the spilling organizaiton. Maybe Ashburn could be a bit more timely in reporting. Continue reading

Health Advisory, Withlacoochee River, State Line 2020-10-02

Update 2020-10-06 Two or more sources last Tuesday, advisory lifted Monday, Withlacoochee River 2020-10-05.

A Health Advisory was isssued today by Madison and Hamilton Counties, Florida, for fecal bacteria in the Withlacoochee River, apparently based on a too-high water quality test result at the GA-FL line on Thursday (yesterday). As that washes downstream, it’s probably best to avoid the river. Upstream, Valdosta reported a too-high reading at GA 133, and that is probably also washing down the river, so this is not a good weekend for boating.

[Chart, State Line, Swim Guide, Advisory]
Chart, State Line, Swim Guide, Advisory
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida water quality results, see:
https://wwals.net/issues/testing/

You sure can’t tell what’s in Withlacoochee River water by looking at it. Continue reading

GA 133 and Knights Ferry in 2.5 weeks of Valdosta and Florida water quality data 2020-09-24

Update 2020-10-02: Health Advisory, Withlacoochee River, State Line 2020-10-02.

Mostly all clear on the Withlacoochee River in a bunch of data Valdosta and FDEP posted recently, except a bad reading at Knights Ferry Friday a week ago, and yet again a problem at GA 133 this past Monday.

The latest (Wednesday by Valdosta and Thursday by Madison Health) indicates good quality for this weekend. Since there has been hardly any rain to wash anything into the river, all the WWALS Withlacoochee River “beaches” remain green on Swim Guide.

Happy boating, so far as we can see!

[Charts and map]
Charts and map

Valdosta’s new data goes back two and a half weeks downstream, and FDEP filled in Tuesday a week ago as well as this Tuesday and Thursday.

That long chart is hard to read, so let’s take it a week at a time. Continue reading

Bad far upstream and far downstream: Withlacoochee, Clyatt Mill Creek, Suwannee, Santa Fe 2020-09-21

Update 2020-09-26: GA 133 and Knights Ferry in 2.5 weeks of Valdosta and Florida water quality data 2020-09-24.

The most diverse set of testing data ever! It’s not bad upstream on the Withlacoochee River, but worse the farther down the Suwannee River, and, surprisingly, also the Santa Fe River.

[Rivers and Results]
Rivers and Results

Valdosta has reported for upstream on the Withlacoochee River for last Wednesday (good) and Friday (bad at GA 133, good at US 84).

Suzy Hall reported for WWALS at Clyatt Mill Creek (not bad, and thanks Langdale Company), and on the Suwannee River at Gibson Park (good for E. coli but very puzzling) and Anderson Spring Launch (good).

Loretta Tennant reported for WWALS on the Santa Fe River at Lemmons Ramp (alert!) and on the Suwannee River at Ivey Metropolitan Park in Branford (bad) and at Yellow Jacket Ramp between Manatee Springs and Fowlers Bluff (horrible). That’s enough to make us wonder if some of what’s getting into the Lower Suwannee River might be coming from the Santa Fe River.

We have no new data from FDEP or other Florida government agencies. Floridians, maybe you’d like to ask your elected and appointed officials for more water quality testing, especially downstream where we’re finding these bad results.

Meanwhile, all the WWALS “beaches” on Swim Guide remain green. That’s because we don’t have as beaches GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River nor as yet anything on the Suwannee River.

[Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers]
Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers
in the WWALS map of all public boat access in the Suwannee River Basin.

Withlacoochee River

Valdosta reported late this afternoon on its usual Continue reading

Bad lower Suwannee, good Withlacoochee and Alapaha 2020-09-14

Update 2020-09-18: OK Withlacoochee River Quality, sewage spill Suwannee, FL, Suwannee River 2020-09-17

Sunday, Suzy Hall tested for WWALS at Sullivan Launch @ CR 15 on the Withlacoochee River, and got good results.

This despite a report of cows in a creek near the river just upstream in Hamilton County, Florida: that’s right, Florida, not Georgia.

Loretta Tennant’s WWALS results for the lower Suwannee were not so pretty.

And while Valdosta’s results for late last week corroborate those of WWALS and Madison Health, for Wedensday, September 2, Valdosta got bad results at State Line Boat Ramp.

[Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers]
Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers

Lower Suwannee River

Monday, September 14, 2020, Loretta Tennant tested again for WWALS at Continue reading