Tag Archives: Sewage Spill

Clean Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Santa Fe Rivers 2024-04-25

Update 2024-05-04: Clean rivers and some creeks, but rain 2024-05-02.

Update 2024-05-03: Valdosta test results: filthy Withlacoochee River after big spill, many creeks still filthy after smaller spills 2024-04-11.

This week, the rivers that have been tested were clean: Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Santa Fe.

This is despite a Wednesday inland High Springs sewage spill of 1,500 gallons.

And clean even in the aftermath of all the spills of last week. There is more about sewage spills below, including that Valdosta did test the Friday and Saturday of the big spill, and the Withlacoochee River was filthy then.

But it’s clean now, and water levels are coming down in all the rivers. So if you don’t mind still a bit high and fast, happy boating, swimming, and fishing this weekend.

[Clean Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Santa Fe Rivers 2024-04-25; Filthy Withlacoochee River & creeks 2024-04-12, 2024-04-13]
Clean Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Santa Fe Rivers 2024-04-25; Filthy Withlacoochee River & creeks 2024-04-12, 2024-04-13

Testing at State Line by Madison Health and FDEP on Wednesday last week corroborated the WWALS result for the previous day. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) also tested downstream at CR 150 (Sullivan Launch) and at FL 6, and all three sites again Thursday, getting clean results each time. That corroborated the WWALS result for Holly Point downstream on that Thursday.

Madison Health has not yet withdrawn its health advisory for the Withlacoochee River, but I imagine it probably will the next time they or FDEP test.

And it turns out Valdosta is posting on its website the results of the testing it is required to do by the Georgia Environmental Pro Division (GA-EPD) after each major spill. None of Quitman, Tifton, Rochelle, Ashburn, or Homerville are posting their results, so that’s a good thing Valdosta is doing.

Those Valdosta results for this Wednesday and last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday also corroborate the WWALS results at US 84 and GA 133.

As noted last week, apparently the massive flow of the river from the rains diluted or washed the contamination downstream.

But Valdosta got very different results for Friday April 12, and Saturday April 13. Continue reading

High Springs, FL, 1,500-gallon sewage spill, NE Railroad Ave 2024-04-24

High Springs, Florida had a 1,500-gallon sewage spill from about midnight, Wednesday, April 24, until 7AM the same day. It was far from the Santa Fe River and probably had no effect on the river.

Incident Description: Bypass ball valve in discharge pipe vault union separated and pumped out from there. Residents in area mentioned smelling something around midnight the previous night but never reported it till maintenance showed up at 0700 and called us to report it. We were able to shut the pumps off and close a valve after the vault to isolate the station.”

Clean-up Actions: Applied lime, Signs posted”

[High Springs 1,500-gallon, Sewage Spill 2024-04-24, 23301 NW 186th Ave., aka NE Railroad Ave.]
High Springs 1,500-gallon, Sewage Spill 2024-04-24, 23301 NW 186th Ave., aka NE Railroad Ave.

The address given was 23301 NW 186th Ave, High Springs, FL 32643, with coordinates 29.82482649, -82.59387311.

Google Maps says that is on NE Railroad Ave. at Plantation Oaks Assisted Living and Memory Care, near US 27. Continue reading

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

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

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

It’s been a long time since the last Health Advisory from the Madison County, Florida, Health Department.

But Valdosta took the risk of guessing how big to make its sewage catch basin, and found out last weekend it was too small.

[Valdosta sewage spill gets Madison Health Advisory 2024-04-17; 1.67 million gallons into Withlacoochee River 2024-04-12]
Valdosta sewage spill gets Madison Health Advisory 2024-04-17; 1.67 million gallons into Withlacoochee River 2024-04-12

WWALS has already been testing the waters. Results soon.

And now FDEP and SRWMD are joining in with Madison DOH.

Received this afternoon.

DOH-MADISON ISSUES HEALTH ADVISORY NEAR WITHLACOOCHEE RIVER

Contact:
Lisa Hayes
Lisa. Hayes@flhealth.gov
850-879-0683

Madison, Fla.— The Florida Department of Health in Madison County (DOH-Madison) has issued a health advisory to residents and visitors near the Withlacoochee River in North Florida due to a wastewater overflow in the City of Valdosta, Georgia, from a recent weather event with excessive rain amounts. Drinking water is not affected by this advisory.

Continue reading

Valdosta spilled 6.7 million gallons including 1.34 million gallons raw sewage 2024-04-12

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.

Update 2024-04-15: Homerville, Rochelle, and Tifton sewage spills 2024-04-11.

Valdosta says of the 6.7 million gallons of liquid that overflowed from its catch basin, 20% was “conventional sewage”, so that’s 1.34 million gallons of raw sewage.

[Valdosta spilled 6.7 million gallons, including 1.34 million gallons raw sewage, Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, Spring Branch 2024-04-12-14]
Valdosta spilled 6.7 million gallons, including 1.34 million gallons raw sewage, Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, Spring Branch 2024-04-12-14

The press release says the City of Valdosta knew about it Friday morning, and the spill stopped Sunday morning, yet Valdosta did not tell the public until Monday, this morning.

That’s from the equalization (EQ) basin at the entrance to the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). The one Valdosta built while never revealing how they picked its size. The one with two creeks flowing to the Withlacoochee River, at least one of which is filthy. Continue reading

Valdosta Boone Drive and Knob Hill small sewage spills 2024-02-20

Update 2024-02-28: Three small Valdosta spills into Three Mile Branch, Withlacoochee River 2024-02-27.

Update 2024-02-22: Tifton 7,000-gallon sewage spill, Golden Road above Little River 2024-02-12.

This Tuesday, February 20, 2024, we learned of two small Valdosta sewage spills, each 100 gallons. That’s not enough to get down the creeks to affect the Withlacoochee River, but enough to stink up the neighborhood.

[Map, Boone Drive & Knob Hill 100-gallon sewer spills, Valdosta, GA, 2024-02-20]
Map, Boone Drive & Knob Hill 100-gallon sewer spills, Valdosta, GA, 2024-02-20

One was on Boone Drive at Baytree Road, next to Valdosta State University and One Mile Branch, which runs into Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River.

The other was at 215 Knob Hill Road on a ditch that runs into Three Mile Branch at the southeast corner of Langdale Park, then into the Withlacoochee River near the southwest corner of the park. That’s the same location as the much larger January 10 spill.

I learned about the Boone Drive spill when I called Valdosta Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes Tuesday morning about the Knob Hill spill.

Neither of these spills has yet appeared in the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report. Jason Barnes says he already sent a report on the Boone Drive spill to EPD, and he will send one soon about the new Knob Hill spill. Continue reading

Clean rivers and creek 2024-02-14

Update 2024-02-24: Clean Withlacoochee, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers and Franks Creek 2024-02-21.

Update 2024-02-22: Valdosta Boone Drive and Knob Hill small sewage spills 2024-02-20.

We got good results for Wednesday for the Alapaha, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers, and Franks Creek.

Valdosta’s recent upstream Withlacoochee River results through Wednesday are good.

Rain is predicted for this weekend, through Saturday. But if there is not much rain, paddling Sunday should be OK. If you like high water, since the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers are up from previous upstream rains. The Santa Fe River is coming back down. The Suwannee was never especially high.

WWALS has two outings coming up on Saturday, February 24, 2024: the morning paddle from Knights Ferry to Nankin on the Withlacoochee River, and the evening Full Snow Moon paddle on Banks Lake.

And of course don’t forget that Saturday, March 2, is the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle from Langdale Park to Troupville on the Withlacoochee River. That one is free, thanks to a generous grant from Georgia Power.

[Chart, Clean Franks Creek and Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers 2024-02-14, Map]
Chart, Clean Franks Creek and Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers 2024-02-14, Map

No sewage spills were reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida in the past week.

But one was reported in Georgia. Ashburn had a spill of 3,000 gallons of raw sewage into Ashburn Branch, which flows into the Little River. Continue reading

Clean Santa Fe and Withlacoochee Rivers 2024-02-01

Update 2024-02-09: Three clean rivers 2024-02-07.

We got good results for Wednesday the Withlacoochee and Santa Fe Rivers. Valdosta’s Wednesday upstream Withlacoochee River results concur.

There is prediction of rain on Sunday, but you can get on the water before then.

So happy fishing, paddling, and swimming this weekend.

Or join us today (Saturday) for Finish: Langdale Park to Sugar Creek Chainsaw Cleanup, Withlacoochee River, 2024-02-03.

[Chart, Clean Rivers, Map 2024-02-01]
Chart, Clean Rivers, Map 2024-02-01

Sewage Spills

For once, there were more spills in Florida than in Georgia, although not all were sewage.

One sewage spill was reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia for last Friday, from Quitman. It first appeared in the Monday, January 29, 2024, GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report, with little detail. Continue reading

Four more Valdosta sewage spills 2023-12-17

Update 2024-02-22: Some Knights Creek plans in Valdosta Boone Drive and Knob Hill small sewage spills 2024-02-20.

Update 2024-01-31: Spill from Chemours Trail Ridge South TiO2 mine SE of Starke, FL 2024-01-30.

Four small Valdosta sewage spills appeared in the January 26, 2024 GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report, all listed as happening December 17, 2023, and as “Did not enter State waters”.

[Four small Valdosta sewage spills 2023-12-17]
Four small Valdosta sewage spills 2023-12-17

However, Valdosta Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes confirms that these spills did happen. Which you can see for yourself in the pictures I took on January 23 of the Mile Street spill locations.

The most unusual part of these spill reports is that bit for “WATERWAY IMPACTED”: “Did not enter State waters”. That means these spills were stopped and contained before they could reach Knights Creek or Cherry Creek. Which is impressive considering that Sunday, December 17, 2024, saw more than an inch of rain at every gauge we follow, after more than half an inch the previous day. (See below for one reservation about one of these spills.)

Nobody is going to be happy until the number of Valdosta sewage spills is zero. And WWALS continues watching closely.

However, watching also includes complimenting Valdosta Utilities when things go right. So, congratulations, Valdosta Utilities, for catching these spills before they did any damage.

Curiously, these spills did not appear in the next day’s Sewage Spills Report, or in any later days. Considering recent typos in those GA-EPD Sewage Spills Reports, I’m assuming those later omissions are due to EPD’s problems with lack of staffing and funding.

Let’s look at each of these spills. Continue reading

Five clean rivers and a clean creek 2024-01-25

Update 2024-01-28: Four more Valdosta sewage spills 2023-12-17.

We got good results for Wednesday and Thursday for five rivers: Alapaha, Withlacoochee, Ichetucknee, Santa Fe, and Suwannee, plus Mud Swamp Creek, a tributary of the Alapaha. Valdosta’s Wednesday upstream Withlacoochee River results concur.

There is a 50% chance of rain on Sunday, but you can get on the water before then.

So happy fishing, paddling, and swimming this weekend.

Or join us tomorrow (Saturday) for Try again: Langdale Park to Sugar Creek Chainsaw Cleanup, Withlacoochee River, 2024-01-27.

[Chart, Clean Rivers and Creek, Map 2024-01-25]
Chart, Clean Rivers and Creek, Map 2024-01-25

Sewage Spills

One sewage spill was reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia last Thusrday: Ashburn spilled 100,000 gallons of raw sewage into Ashburn Creek, which ends up in the Little River far above Reed Bingham State Park.

In Florida, Lake Butler reported a spill at its airport, which apparently wasn’t enough to get into any waterway, much less the New River of the Santa Fe. Continue reading

More about the Valdosta Knob Hill or Williamsburg Drive sewage spill 2024-01-10

Update 2024-03-06: WTXL TV report and Pictures: Valdosta WWTP water quality lab ribbon cutting 2024-03-05.

Update 2024-01-26: Five clean rivers and a clean creek 2024-01-25.

I discovered a can of worms when I took a few pictures to illustrate the 100,000-gallon Knob Hill Road or Williamsburg Drive, Valdosta sewage spill of 10-12 January 2024.

The actual location is not quite where I was told by Valdosta Utilities. But I cut them a lot of slack for that, because they were working on getting it stopped, not precisely determining ownership of the affected properties.

[Spill site behind 215 Knob Hill Road, VALORGIS, VLPRA, Lowndes County Tax Assessors, Pebblewood Drive detention pond, Three Mile Branch]
Spill site behind 215 Knob Hill Road, VALORGIS, VLPRA, Lowndes County Tax Assessors, Pebblewood Drive detention pond, Three Mile Branch

More importantly, according to Valdosta Utilities Acting Director Jason Barnes, the cause was not as first thought a collapsed sewer main. When Utilities examined the pipes, they found rocks and some sort of lid in them.

And according to Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson yesterday, they also found other materials that never should have been in a sewer pipe. I will leave it to the City of Valdosta to reveal in their own time exactly what they found.

From the descriptions I heard, those things could not have gotten in there accidentally, and they could not have been washed into the sewer main by stormwater.

The basic point seems clear: this ten-times-major spill was not caused by failing old sewer infrastructure. It was caused by somebody putting things into the sewer pipes that never should have been there. Vandalism is one of the more polite words for that.

Plus the Mayor is making the City of Valdosta an offer of a location for a WaterGoat trash trap.

So I went Continue reading