Tag Archives: Ray City

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

Creeks bad, OK River Water Quality 2022-11-13

Apparently the rain Thursday did not have much effect, although there were E. coli hot spots when we tested again Sunday. The Withlacoochee River from GA 133 on down seems OK for swimming, fishing, and boating, although there’s not much water until you get farther down than that.

[Chart, Creeks and Rivers, Swim Guide, 2022-11-13]
Chart, Creeks and Rivers, Swim Guide, 2022-11-13

Looks like the Withlacoochee River is also OK from Skipper Bridge on down, except Langdale Park Boat Ramp tested very high. Also, upstream Franklinville Landing was too high. Continue reading

Bad Beatty Branch and Cat Creek, good downstream Withlacoochee River 2022-10-27

Update 2022-11-04: Creek and river water quality problems 2022-11-03.

After a drizzle of rain Wednesday and several high readings by Valdosta at US 41 and GA 133, WWALS tested upstream creeks yesterday, in addition to the usual river locations. Some of the creek results are much higher than expected.

[Chart, Creeks, Rivers, Swim Guide]
Chart, Creeks, Rivers, Swim Guide

So far, it looks like downstream of the Little River Confluence on the Withlacoochee River is probably good for fishing, swimming, and boating.

There’s not enough water in the Withlacoochee higher up to paddle anyway. But I’ll have four more Withlacoochee River results tomorrow to fill in the upstream gaps. Continue reading

Ray City wastewater permit reissue modifications 2022-08-31

You can comment on a proposed update to the wastewater permit for Ray City, Georgia.

[Permit & Map]
Permit & Map

Two of the eleven changes are to nitrogen and phosphorous limits to “to meet Florida’s instream … criteria at the Florida-Georgia state-line.” An ammonia limit is added. Limits are tightened on use of Dissolved Oxygen, Total Suspended Solids, and residual chorine. There appears to be no change on Fecal coliform.

This wastewater treatment plant is southwest of Ray City, where Beaverdam Creek joins Cat Creek. Continue reading

2021 ANNUAL REPORT, Lowndes County Impaired Streams Monitoring 2021-04-07

Update 2023-09-26: ANNUAL REPORT, Lowndes County Impaired Streams Monitoring 2022-04-07.

After two years, Lowndes County has still not found sources of the fecal contamination in its streams. Maybe the testing methodology needs to be revised.

Fortunately, WWALS is covering part of what the county does not: WWALS is testing for E. coli after big rains on Cat Creek and Beatty Branch and multiple Withlacoochee, Little, and Alapaha River locations, and we are doing some DNA spot tests.

Fecal Coliform
Lowndes County has not identified any point sources within the drainage areas that can be attributed to the widespread exceedances. Based on the limited data collected to date, it is the opinion of Lowndes County that the cause of the exceedances is from natural conditions.

[Map and graphs]
Map and graphs

There are no DNA marker or chemical tracer results in the report. A few DNA tests would have given some indication of what species were producing the fecal contamination.

Also, the report includes no Continue reading

Withlacoochee River OK, Cat Creek bad 2022-07-14

Update 2022-07-22: Bad Quality Withlacoochee River 2022-07-21.

All clear for fishing, swimming, and boating on the Withlacoochee, Little, and Alapaha Rivers, according to the latest water quality test results we have.

But avoid Cat Creek and Beatty Branch for fishing. See below. (I don’t know anybody crazy enough to boat or swim in those creeks.)

There hasn’t been much rain the past few days, so probably not much contamination will wash into the rivers. No sewage spills have been reported in Florida or Georgia, other than Valdosta’s 200 gallon sewage spill on Baytree Road, which they vacuumed up quickly enough that probably little if any ever reached the Withlacoochee River.

Thunderstorms could change things quickly, but that’s what we know now.

[Chart, River, Swim Guide]
Chart, River, Swim Guide

Thanks to Scott Fowler of Valdosta Utilities for forwarding Valdosta test results soon after they are finished, so we know that Valdosta E. coli results were good for Wednesday and Monday at US 41, GA 133, and US 84. And we know Valdosta’s US 41 and GA 133 results for last Friday, July 8, 2022, were sky-high: 4,700 and 5,200 cfu/100 mL, respectively. The alert limit is 1,000.

Those high results could not be related to the July 9th Valdosta spill, because it hadn’t happened yet. That E. coli is probably not coming from Valdosta, since US 41 is upstream of almost all of Valdosta. Sure, something could be coming down Cherry Creek through Lake Cleve into the river, or it could be septic tanks in houses around there, or septic tanks across the river in Lowndes County.

Since high E. coli keeps turning up at US 41 and GA 133, WWALS set out to find out where it is coming from. Continue reading

2020 ANNUAL REPORT, Lowndes County Impaired Streams Monitoring 2020-04-07

Update 2022-08-23: 2021 ANNUAL REPORT, Lowndes County Impaired Streams Monitoring 2021-04-07.

Some good news: “Low level mercury levels are well below acute standards at all sampling points.”

Some bad news: “fecal coliform sampling results indicated all sampling points exceeded water quality standards for the June and September sampling events.”

[Cover, Franks Creek and Mud Creek]
Cover, Franks Creek and Mud Creek

That’s in the 2020 ANNUAL REPORT from Lovell Enginnering Associates to Lowndes County for its Impaired Streams Monitoring project that the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) required the county to do.

Thanks to Lowndes County Engineer Mike Fletcher for sending this report in response to a WWALS open records request. I don’t know why Lowndes County did not publish this report themselves. Maybe they did, and I just haven’t found it online yet.

Working through this data, so far it seems that Franks Creek, which comes down west of Hahira to the Little River, shows spikes in Fecal coliform after rains. Those spikes usually occur downstream of Hahira’s wastewater treatment facility. Continue reading

GA-EPD GORA response about Ray City wastewater permit violations 2021-04-05

Ray City has had a long string of wastewater violations, many each year, going back years, at its wastewater treatment plant on Cat Creek, just below Beaverdam Creek, and 8.36 Cat Creek miles upstream from the Withlacoochee River.

[Catwalk, Outfall, Fecal coliform]
Catwalk, Outfall, Fecal coliform

Most of them did not involve fecal bacteria, but two did, on monthly average, for December 2018 (see page 57), for August 2017 (see page 73). Curiously, none of these violations ever showed up in GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report, nor in its underlying spreadsheet going back to 2015, which is as far back as I have it. We have some idea why not about the January and February 2021 Total Suspended Solids (TSS) overflows, but not about the previous incidents.

In response to a Notice of Violation of September 22, 2020, on November 2, 2020, the City of Ray City told GA-EPD it was “in the process of developing a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) to address the issue of non-compliance with the 85% Minimum BOD removal rate stipulated in our NPDES Permit.“ The City proposed to change its sampling method to deal with “periodic low influent BOD levels”, and also to get on with dealing with the “high volumes of infiltration and inflow“ it says is the cause, including filing an application for a CDBG grant before the end of March 2021.

Thanks to Jay Howell of the EPD Southwest office in Albany for scanning and emailing to me the documents of my Georgia Open Records Act (GORA) request of last week. I asked for all the enforcement actions on Ray City that I found listed on EPA ECHO, (see the previous post) together with related correspondence. documents and emailing them to me yesterday. They are on the WWALS website. Update 2021-04-07: website page labels fixed for this GORA document.

This November 2020 CAP is apparently a new one, after the CAP accepted by GA-EPD on June 19, 2019, and submitted by the City on May 2, 2019: Continue reading

Ray City and Lakeland wastewater permits, plus Moody AFB

Update 2021-04-02: Ray City sewage spill in Berrien Press 2021-03-24.

Ray City and Lakeland, Georgia, have wastewater permits, and have never had a spill appear in GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report since 2015. That’s impressive, since pretty much everything else around them in Georgia has spilled at one time or another. Moody Air Force Base, for example, made statewide and national news for spilling PFAS firefighting chemicals from this wastewater plant and from other locations on base.

[Ray City, Lakeland, both + Moody AFB, WTP maps]
Ray City, Lakeland, both + Moody AFB, WTP maps
in the WWALS map of All Public Landings in the Suwannee River Basin.

Ray City WPCP is towards the upper left of the map, about 8.4 creek miles upstream from the Withlacoochee River. Cat Creek reaches the river a bit downstream of Franklinville Landing, towards the lower left.

Moody AFB WPCP is to the right of Franklinville Landing on the map, on Beatty Branch, which in about a mile runs into Cat Creek, a few thousand feet upstream of the Withlacoochee River. currently operated by Lowndes County. See http://www.l-a-k-e.org/blog/?p=17140.

Lakeland WPCP is towards the right of the map, in the north edge of Lakeland, less than two creek miles upstream from where Big Creek 00311363 reaches the Alapaha River between Pafford’s Landing and Burnt Church Landing.

We have to use a number in the creek name to Continue reading

AGL pipeline explosion settlement deferred again by GA-PSC for state-wide safety: needs to add LNG 2019-09-19

For more time to examine where gas detectors are needed throughout the state, GA-PSC has again deferred voting on the AGL settlement. As Commissioner Jason Shaw said at the first deferral Tuesday, they want to “make sure that all across the state we can make sure that this type of equipment…” is available.

Plus GA-PSC should take a hard look at AGL subsidiary Pivotal LNG’s Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) liquefaction facilities and truck and train routes from them to Jacksonville, Florida, especially since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has shirked its oversight duties for inland LNG facilities.

AGL pipeline map, Georgia
Georgia, AGL Pipeline Map, in Homerville, GA pipeline explosion, by John S. Quarterman, 17 August 2018

AGL has pipelines all over the state of Georgia. I don’t know any reason to believe any of them are any safer than the one that goes from my property in Lowndes County to Homerville in Clinch County (and to Moody Air Force Base, to parts of Valdosta, to Ray City in Berrien County, and to Lakeland in Lanier County).

The map above is the newest I could find online. It was last updated in 2008, more than a decade ago. No doubt AGL can provide the PSC with more current mapping data. Maybe the PSC could require AGL to provide an updated map to the public.

The Public Map Viewer by the Pipeline and Hazardous Safety Administration (PHMSA) is no help: it does not include AGL’s distribution pipelines such as the one to Homerville.

PHMSA was sufficiently concerned about the Homerville Coffee Corner explosion that it wrote on AGL’s report to PHMSA: Continue reading