Tag Archives: Sewage Spills Report

Twelve months of Ashburn sewage spills 2024-07-08

Update 2024-07-19: Clean Santa Fe River 2024-07-17.

It looks like Ashburn, Georgia, has spilled 1,806,500 gallons of raw sewage in the twelve months until now.

The vast majority of that went into Hat Creek, which runs into the Alapaha River.

[Twelve months of Ashburn sewage spills, July 2023 to July 2024]
Twelve months of Ashburn sewage spills, July 2023 to July 2024

The most recent spill, on July 8, but reported a week later on July 16, was 100,000 gallons of raw sewage due to “Mechanical failure”. Previous spills were mosty due to “Wet weather”, although there were several by “Power failure”, some by “Other”, and one by “Equipment failure”.

This list is compiled from the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report, as archived and interpreted daily by WWALS. Continue reading

Filthy Franks Creek, clean Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers, despite Ashburn spill 2024-06-05

Update 2024-06-14: Clean Alapaha, Withlacoochee, Ichetucknee, Santa Fe Rivers except @ US 129 2024-06-13.

With little rain, the Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers tested clean for Wednesday. But Franks Creek west of Hahira was quite filthy. Why is a mystery, unless the Hahira sewer pipe crossing the creek was leaking.

[Clean Withlacoochee and Alapaha River, Filthy Franks Creek 2024-06-05]
Clean Withlacoochee and Alapaha River, Filthy Franks Creek 2024-06-05

One sewage spill was reported in the past week, a big one from Ashburn, far upstream from the Alapaha River.

The weather prediction for the weekend is sunny and hot.

The Alapaha is still high, but other than that, happy boating, swimming, and fishing!

Maybe join us tomorrow, Sullivan Launch to Madison Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River, 2024-06-08.
https://wwals.net/?p=64848 Continue reading

Ashburn and Quitman sewage spills reported 2024-05-22

Update 2024-05-31: Clean Withlacoochee and Santa Fe Rivers plus High Springs sewage spill 2024-05-30.

Ashburn had a 250,000-gallon sewage spill into Hat Creek to the Alapaha River Sunday a week ago, and a 2,500-gallon spill into Ashburn Branch into the Little River the day before, both because of “Wet weather”.

Quitman had a 300-gallon sewage spill at Brooks County High School Wednesday a week ago into a ditch that drains to Okapilco Creek.

[Ashburn 250,000-gallon sewage spill into Hat Creek, Alapaha River 2024-05-19 and 2,500-gallon spill into Ashburn Branch, Little River, plus Quitman 300-gallon spill 2024-05-22]
Ashburn 250,000-gallon sewage spill into Hat Creek, Alapaha River 2024-05-19 and 2,500-gallon spill into Ashburn Branch, Little River, plus Quitman 300-gallon spill 2024-05-22

These spills appeared this Tuesday, May 28, 2024, in the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report.

Why they took so long to report is a mystery.

Ashburn’s excuse of “Wet weather” is wearing thin. Yes, there were big rains those days, but Ashburn needs to fix its sewer system so rains don’t cause spills. Continue reading

Homerville, Rochelle, and Tifton sewage spills 2024-04-11

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.

Some more cities spilled during the big thunderstorms last week: Homerville and Rochelle, according to today’s GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report.

[Homerville, Rochelle, and Tifton, sewage spills 2024-04-11, More Valdosta will appear, No Quitman update yet]
Homerville, Rochelle, and Tifton, sewage spills 2024-04-11, More Valdosta will appear, No Quitman update yet

There are still no spills reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida’s Pollution Spills Report.

Back in Georgia, Doerun is not in the Suwannee River Basin, but got picked up by the WWALS highlighting algorithm, which goes by counties as well as rivers.

Reynolds Creek runs from Rochelle into the Alapaha River. We’ve seen many spills there before.

Valdosta’s small April 9 sewage spill is in here. But not yet its seven April 11 spills nor its 6.7 million gallon spill. GA-EPD is aware of all of those, and presumably they will appear soon.

Tifton got an update with gallons spilled in this Monday’s GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report. 809 E Golden road is on Gum Creek, which runs into the New River, not the Little River. Maybe they meant 809 Golden Road W, which does run into the Little River. I have alerted GA-EPD.

No update yet on Quitman’s April 10th spills.

I had to look up Gallows Branch. Apparently it’s by E. Forest Ave., running into Woodyard Creek, which runs into Surveyors Creek, into the Okefenokee Swamp.

[Homerveille WTP, Gallows Branch, and Woodyard Creek in SRWT]
Homerveille WTP, Gallows Branch, and Woodyard Creek in the WWALS map of the Suwannee River Water Trail (SRWT)

And the Homerville Wastewater Treatment Plant is on E. Forest Ave.

[Homerville WTP --Google Streetview]
Homerville WTP in Google Streetview

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

Valdosta, Quitman, and Tifton sewage spills in big rains 2024-04-11

Update 2024-04-15: Valdosta spilled 6.7 million gallons including 1.34 million gallons raw sewage 2024-04-12.

Update 2024-04-13: Clean before the storm, but sewage spills during 2024-04-11.

During the recent thunderstorms, Quitman had two sewage spills, presumably into Okapilco Creek, and Tifton had two spills into the New River, according to the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report, all of unknown amounts.

According to a City of Valdosta press release, Valdosta had seven sewage spills during the storms, adding up to 434,850 gallons of raw sewage. Plus a small spill a few days before due to grease and rags.

[Tifton, Quitman, and Valdosta thunderstorm sewage spills 2024-04-11]
Tifton, Quitman, and Valdosta thunderstorm sewage spills 2024-04-11

Georgia Updates, Newsbreak, April 12, 2024, Valdosta Residents Face Sewer Overflows After Major Rainfall Event, “Residents are advised to avoid contact with rivers, creeks, streams, or tributaries in Lowndes County due to potential exposure to untreated sewage.”

That sentence is not in the City of Valdosta press release from yesterday, although that PR is the source for the rest of that story.

Interestingly, no spills were reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida in FDEP’s Public Notices of Pollution.

Recent Valdosta Sewage Spills

Here is Valdosta’s 2024-04-11 spill report table, with an additional column for waterbody that I added, and a row for the April 9 grease and rags spill, followed by subtotal and total rows.

Update 2024-04-14 Also I inserted a date column and some reformatting.

LocationDate            Start TimeEnd TimeCauseEstimated
Gallons
Waterbody
1402 N Lee St (1)2024-04-117:30 AM12:00 PMI&I*40,500One Mile Branch
1402 N Lee St (2)2024-04-117:30 AM12:00 PMI&I*6,750One Mile Branch
1402 N Lee St (3)2024-04-117:30 AM12:00 PMI&I*67,500One Mile Branch
1212 Wainwright Dr2024-04-1111:00 AM6:00 PMI&I*150,000One Mile Branch
2509 Seymour2024-04-1111:15 AM3:00 PMI&I*900Two Mile Branch
1817 Gornto2024-04-1110:00 AM6:00 PMI&I*60,000Lake Sheri
1825 Norman Dr2024-04-1110:15 AM3:00 PMI&I*1,200Sugar Creek
213 Knob Hill2024-04-1111:00 AM6:00 PMI&I*108,000Three Mile Branch
Subtotal* Infiltration and Inflow434,850
4051 Huntley Dr2024-04-09?6:30 PMGrease and rags5,000Cherry Creek
Total439,850

What we do not see is any spills from the notorious collapsed sewer main between E. Park Ave. and US 84. Maybe the bypass is finally working correctly.

I commend Valdosta for including start and end times and precise locations, as well as for timely press releases. Next, if they can look in Valdosta Stormwater Division maps to determine which streams the spills end up in, that would be great. Continue reading

Rain and river contamination 2024-03-28

Update 2024-04-05: Apparently clean rivers after rain 2024-04-04.

We got bad results for Thursday for the Alapaha River. We have few other results, but we know there was much rain Wednesday and Thursday, and that usually washes contamination into the rivers.

If I were you, I would pick something else to do this weekend instead of boating, swimming, or fishing.

Also, Ashburn had yet another spill, although that was probably too far upstream to have much effect. It sure looks like there was some sort of overflow from the city of Alapaha wastewater treatment plant, even though none has yet shown up in the reports.

Instead, join us a week from Saturday for Withlacoochee River Earth Day Cleanup, Langdale Park Boat Ramp 2024-04-13.

Valdosta’s most recent upstream Withlacoochee River results are for Wednesday a week ago. Apparently they did not post their Wednesday results for this week because today is a holiday.

Similarly, most of the usual WWALS testers are off because of the holiday weekend.

[Rain and river contamination 2024-03-28]
Rain and river contamination 2024-03-28

There are no Valdosta Monday results, because, Continue reading

Clean rivers 2024-03-20

Update 2024-03-29: Rain and river contamination 2024-03-28.

We got good results for Wednesday for the Withlacoochee River and Alapaha Rivers. and for Thursday for the Alapaha River.

Valdosta’s recent upstream Withlacoochee River results for Wednesday are good, all two sites.

[Chart, Clean Rivers, Map 2024-03-20]
Chart, Clean Rivers, Map 2024-03-20

There are no Valdosta Monday results, because, as we learned last week from Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes, “we are collecting once a week.”

As previously noted, Valdosta’s last downstream tests were September 1, 2023. Since for two weeks now Valdosta has reported “No Sample” for North Valdosta Road, we guess they’re not collecting there any more, either.

Perhaps it is not coincidental that it is now three years (minus one month) since the March, 2020, GA-EPD Consent Order on Valdosta that required downstream testing as a way to reduce the amount of the fine.

It rained today, and more is predicted for tomorrow. That may wash some contamination into the rivers. I’d recommend the Suwannee, Alapaha, or Santa Fe Rivers for this weekend.

For example, join Shirley Kokidko and others Sunday, Suwannee River Wilderness Paddle, Griffis Fish Camp to Fargo 2024-03-24.

The rivers are at pretty good paddling levels, and it’s not cold. So watch the weather, bring rain gear, and happy paddling, fishing, and maybe swimming this weekend. Continue reading

Ashburn and Rochelle sewage spills 2024-03-09

Update 2024-03-29: Rain and river contamination 2024-03-28.

Yes, there was a lot of rain on March 9, 2024, but 315,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled by Ashburn into two river watersheds seems a bit much.

And we finally got a report of the Rochelle Sook Road spill of that same day, of 10,000 gallons into a ditch that went into Reynolds Creek and from there into the Alapaha River.

[Rochelle and Ashburn spills and maps]
Rochelle and Ashburn spills and maps

On March 9 I reported that Continue reading

Clean rivers 2024-03-13

Update 2024-03-22: Ashburn and Rochelle sewage spills 2024-03-09.

We got good results for Wednesday for the Santa Fe and Withlacoochee Rivers and for Thursday for the Alapaha River.

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

[Chart, Clean Rivers, Map 2024-03-13]
Chart, Clean Rivers, Map 2024-03-13

There are no Valdosta Monday results, because, according to Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes, “we are collecting once a week.”

He did not say why. Perhaps it is not coincidental that it is now three years (minus one month) since the March, 2020, GA-EPD Consent Order on Valdosta that required downstream testing as a way to reduce the amount of the fine.

As previously noted, Valdosta’s last downstream tests were September 1, 2023.

There’s a chance of rain today, and more chance Sunday.

The rivers are at pretty good paddling levels, and it’s not cold. So watch the weather, bring rain gear, and happy paddling, fishing, and maybe swimming this weekend.

[Chart: Clean Rivers 2024-03-13]
Chart: Clean Rivers 2024-03-13
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of water quality results, rainfall, and sewage spills, see:
https://wwals.net/issues/testing

No sewage spills were reported in the past week in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida or in the Georgia Sewage Spills Report.

However, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) tells us via email that Rochelle, GA, had another spill on March 9 through 13, 2024. We don’t know how much. We do know all of Rochelle is upstream from the Alapaha River.

GA-EPD did clarify why the earlier, February 12, 10,000 gallon spill took more than three weeks to appear in the Sewage Spills Report: “The spill was reported to us via email on Feb. 15th. It was entered into GAPDES on the 27th due to staffing vacancies and the Program manager being on vacation. However, it was entered into CTS on Feb. 16th . See attached link: https://cts.gaepd.org/Public/ComplaintDetails/107821

As to why the earlier Rochelle spill disappeared from the Sewage Spills Report, the answer was, “Only lasted from 09:45 until 16:00 on the 12th

I asked, “I don’t understand the answer about why it is not in later Sewage Spills Reports. Normally an item stays in there for 30 days until it rolls off. Spills for Tifton and Ashburn are still in there today, even though they occured in February. Why is this Rochelle spill different?”

Answer, “I do believe that spills to the ground don’t normally make it on the daily spill report. If it was originally updated to a spill to the ground, it may have fallen off for the report.”

That’s an exception I was not previously aware of.

I still wonder whether those very bad downstream Knights Creek results for Wednesday week after significant rain the day before indicated an unreported sewage spill upstream from the Alapahoochee and Alapaha Rivers?

In case you’re not aware, GA-EPD is woefully underfunded. Whenever I get a chance, I suggest to Georgia state legislators that EPD should be funded more.

WWALS tester Kimberly Godden Tanner said everything Continue reading

Sewage spills: Ashburn, GA, Live Oak, FL 2023-12-01

Update 2023-12-08: Clean Santa Fe River 2023-12-06.

Live Oak, Florida, was much faster in reporting its Friday sewage spill than was Ashburn, Georgia, in reporting its Sunday-before-last spill.

Probably neither of these spills had any noticeable effect on the nearby Little or Suwannee Rivers, and certainly not on the far-downstream Withlacoochee River.

For more about WWALS water quality testing, see https://wwals.net/issues/testing.

[Ashburn, GA, and Live Oak, FL, sewage spills]
Ashburn, GA, and Live Oak, FL, sewage spills

Ashburn, Georgia, spilled 2,000 gallons on November 19, reported on November 28, into Ashburn Branch, which ends up in the Little River far upstream from Tifton. Continue reading