Tag Archives: Scott Fowler

Valdosta sewer spill, Meadowbrook Drive at Gornto Road 2022-08-14

Valdosta had a sewage spill on Meadowbrook Drive at Gornto Road this weekend, which this morning they said they fixed that same weekend. We don’t know how many gallons, but we’re guessing not many. Maybe we’ll know more about that once Valdosta reports to GA-EPD. If it was small, it probably did not get into Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River, although we hope Valdosta is testing to find out.

Congratulations to Valdosta for fixing this problem quickly. Room for improvement on internal handoffs on Valdosta’s Click ‘n’ Fix smartphone app, and on completeness of reporting. Also, we would like to know the cause, considering there was no rain.

[Map, Manhole]
Map, Manhole

That’s the fourth small Valdosta sewage spill and one major one since June. So far as we can tell by later testing, none of them had any noticeable effect on the Withlacoochee River.

Plus there was a spill from Quitman, Georgia, that very likely did affect Okapilco Creek and the Withlacoochee River, although more than a week later nobody yet knows how many gallons. And there was a spill from High Springs, Florida, which probably did not affect the Santa Fe River.

WWALS member Suzy Hall noticed yesterday (Sunday) afternoon Continue reading

Rivers probably OK water quality 2022-08-04

Update 2022-08-12: Bad Water Quality Creeks and Withlacoochee River 2022-08-11.

Chances are the rivers are OK today for this weekend.

The test results we have for Thursday from WWALS and for Wednesday from Valdosta are all good. No new sewage spills have been reported in Georgia or Florida in the Suwannee River Basin.

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

However, there was more than an inch of rain on the west side of Brooks County, Georgia, yesterday. We don’t know whether that washed any cattle manure down Okapilco Creek into the Withlacoochee River. That rain fell in the afternoon, after testing times, and our downstream WWALS testers are off this week anyway. More rain is predicted every day for a week. Continue reading

Good Water Quality, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2022-07-28

Update 2022-08-05: Rivers probably OK water quality 2022-08-04.

Update 2022-07-29: Madison Health lifts Withlacoochee River Health Advisory 2022-07-29.

Happy boating, swimming, and fishing on the Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little Rivers this weekend, according to the most recent water quality test results we have.

No significant rain has fallen in the past two days, and none is predicted for the weekend. And no significant new sewage spills have been reported, so chances are good for all weekend.

Madison Health has not yet lifted its Withlacoochee River Health Alert, because they want successive good results. But we call them according to the most recent data we have.

And happy chainsawing and picking up trash tomorrow on the Withlacoochee River next to Valdosta.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide 2022-07-28]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide 2022-07-28

Valdosta’s results upstream were OK for Wednesday a week ago, Friday, Monday, and this Wednesday, but they were various colors of bad downstream for those same days. Thanks to Scott Fowler of Valdosta Utilities for getting those results updated on Valdosta’s website today. 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

Valdosta Press Release about Gornto Road sewage spill 2022-07-01

Update 2022-07-01: Three reasons (including Valdosta) for Bad Water Quality, Withlacoochee River 2022-06-30.

Better late than never, Valdosta has announced its major Gornto Road Pump Station spill.

But the press release doesn’t say when the spill started or ended, doesn’t even say precisely where (“at the 2400 block of Gornto Road”) and apparently the city didn’t even discover this spill itself: “the City of Valdosta received notification”. Also no pictures, so I’ve used one of Scotti Jay’s.

[Gate.]
Gate.

Received via email at 9:19 AM, Friday, July 1, 2022.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE
DATE: Friday, July 1, 2022
CONTACT: Sharah Denton, Community Relations & Marketing Manager
Telephone: (229) 259-3548
sdenton@valdostacity.com
www.valdostacity.com

On Thursday, June 30th, 2022, the City of Valdosta received notification of a possible ruptured sewer line at the 2400 block of Gornto Road. It was determined after review that a seal from the discharge side of the lift station had ruptured, which caused the issue. City staff were able to isolate the damaged seal and repair it. An estimated 127,750 gallons of discharge was released. Utility crews worked into the evening and captured a portion of the discharge. Staff immediately began cleanup and disinfecting at this overflow location. All appropriate regulatory and public health agencies have been notified, and warning signs have been posted.

Continue reading

All Rivers Clean 2022-03-03

Update 2022-03-11: Bad Knights Ferry heading downstream 2022-03-10.

All WWALS water quality tests are good for Thursday, including zero E. coli at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, on the Withlacoochee River thanks to Michael and Jacob Bachrach. Elizabeth Brunner for her three GA 122 sites got 133 cfu/100 mL at Hagan Bridge on the Withlacoochee River, still well within acceptable bounds, and zero at Folsom Bridge on the Little River and zero at Lakeland Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River.

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

Valdosta tests for Friday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at US 41, GA 133, and US 84 were also well within bounds; thanks to Scott Fowler for publishing those today.

So all the tests we have say all clear for boating, fishing, and swimming this weekend. With no rain, no E. coli to speak of has washed into the rivers. With no rain predicted for many days, nothing should. Continue reading

Clean Rivers 2022-01-27

Update 2022-02-04: Clean Rivers 2022-02-03.

Good news! All tests pretty clear for the Little, Alapaha, and Withlacoochee Rivers for Wednesday and Thursday. So if you want to boat, fish, or swim in that cold snap tomorrow, or Sunday, the water quality is good so far as we know, with little E. coli. No rain is predicted until mid-week, so nothing else should wash into the rivers.

Oh, and Ashburn had another sewage spill on January 16th, but it does not seem to have affected Alapaha River water quality.

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

Gus Cleary’s Wednesday test downstream from Allen Ramp at Cleary Bluff was as clean as Valdosta’s upstream tests at US 41, GA 133, and US 84. Thanks to Scott Fowler of Valdosta Utilities for that upstream Wednesday data.

Elizabeth Brunner’s GA 122 tests of Thursday samples at Folsom Bridge on the Little River, Hagan Bridge on the Withlacoochee River, and Lakeland Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River, were also all good. 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

Open manhole lawsuits

The City of Valdosta is lucky nobody fell into that open manhole it says is part of manhole rehabilitation. That manhole is next to the Azalea Trail where whole families with small children walk, and on Valdosta State University property next to the VSU Recreation Center.

[Manhole dug down]
Manhole dug down

Mario Cattabiani, RossFellerCasey, 20 March 2014, $85 Million Verdict For Student Who Fell Into Open Manhole,

Founding partner Matt Casey argued in court that defendant Trigen-Philadelphia Energy Corp. failed to properly secure the manhole, which had been removed by a homeless man shortly before Gustafsson happened by that fateful day. The trial lasted three weeks, featured thousands of documents and a closing scene that played out as if written in a Hollywood script. As the jury was set to return a verdict, at literally the last minute, the insurer offered to settle the case for $10 million—a sum Casey, in consultation with his client, rejected. Just moments later, the jury awarded the former promising medical student $85 million.

McAleer Law Firm, 21 April 2020, A Plaintiff’s Evidentiary Burden in Georgia Personal Injury Lawsuits against the Government

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in an appeal from a judgment in favor of a plaintiff in her lawsuit against the City of Atlanta. The woman filed a lawsuit to recover for damages she incurred after driving into an open manhole. The woman contended that the government should be liable for her injuries because the manhole was a public nuisance. The city appealed a jury finding in favor of the woman, arguing that the woman did not meet her evidentiary burden.

Under Georgia law, a municipality “may be held liable for damages it causes to a third party from the operation or maintenance of a nuisance, irrespective of whether it is exercising a governmental or municipal function.” To recover for damages plaintiffs must present evidence that: Continue reading

Avoid sewage spills: no wipes in the pipes 2020-05-06

Nobody wants any more sewage spills because of Fats Oils and Grease (FOG) or blue gloves or sanitary wipes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

[Pumper on Cherry Creek Church Road]
Pumper on Cherry Creek Church Road

Valdosta Utilities apparently cleaned up this one in April off of Bemiss Road before it could get into Cherry Creek, since the bacterial sample I took showed very little E. coli. Here’s a Valdosta press release and video on how to prevent such spills.

City issues reminder: “No wipes in the pipes”

The City of Valdosta is asking residents to avoid flushing sanitation wipes even if the package states they are flushable! Paper towels and facial tissues also should not be flushed in local sewer lines as people practice guidelines to combat the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. While the “flushable” wipes concern is not new to wastewater facilities, there is an increased risk to our system recently. Continue reading