Tag Archives: spill

Ashburn sewage problem and Moultrie 2022-09-16

Update 2022-09-23: One Mile Branch Fish Kill 2022-09-23.

Ashburn needs to get a grip on its sewage problem.

This summer, in five separate incidents, Ashburn spilled 1,229,000 gallons of raw sewage into Hat Creek, which runs into the Alapaha River.

Moultrie has a much tinier sewage problem, spilling 500 gallons into Okapilco Creek, which runs into the Withlacoochee River.

And no, we haven’t forgotten about Tifton’s spill or Valdosta’s five summer spills or the spills by Starke and High Springs, Florida. Those we have reported separately, and all of them together (plus the Moultrie spill) do not add up to Ashburn’s 400,000 gallon August 19th spill, much less Ashburn’s 800,000 gallon August 25th spill.

[Summer 2022 Ashburn and Moultrie sewage spills]
Summer 2022 Ashburn and Moultrie sewage spills

Ashburn’s excuses varied: Continue reading

Good river water quality 2022-09-01

Update 2022-09-09: Tifton sewage spill, Little River 2022-09-04.

All WWALS water quality results for Thursday came in below the one-time test limit of 410 cfu/100 mL. There has been rain, but not as much as it usually takes to wash significant contamination into the rivers. More rain is predicted for the next week, but no more than what we’ve seen this week.

Ashburn got around to reporting two sewage spills this week, but those are both old and on Hat Creek, far upstream from the top of the Alapaha River Water Trail, so probably they did not have much effect on that river.

Starke reported a sewage spill from two manholes, but it was small and not near a waterbody, so it probably had no effect on the Santa Fe River.

So by what we know today, happy swimming, boating, and fishing this weekend. Conditions could change rapidly, of course.

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

Thanks to Continue reading

High Springs 500-gallon sewage spill, mostly cleaned up 2022-07-07

Update 2022-07-29: Good Water Quality, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2022-07-28.

Well, I missed this one. FDEP says it was reported on July 7th, but it wasn’t in their 30-day map last time I looked, so I’m not sure when it showed up.

[FDEP report, aerial, WWALS map]
FDEP report, aerial, WWALS map

At only 500 gallons, 200 of that recovered, it probably didn’t have much effect on the Santa Fe River or its springs.

The address given seems to be a typo. The real address appears to be Continue reading

Valdosta says it has fixed Baytree Road trash trap sewer leak 2022-07-10

Update 2022-07-27: Valdosta Sewage Spill, Sheri Run, Springhill Drive 2022-07-27.

Update 2022-07-15: Withlacoochee River OK, Cat Creek bad 2022-07-14.

Compliments to Valdosta Utilities for a speedy fix to the Sewer spill at Baytree Road trash trap 2022-07-09. If it really was only 200 gallons, probably very little of it got through Lake Sheri into the Withlacoochee River.

I commend the Valdosta PIO for getting a press release out on a Sunday. WWALS received the press release below at 10:14 PM yesterday, Sunday, July 10, 2022. That’s about 29 hours after Valdosta Utilities got the report of the sewage spill. And about 3 hours after Valdosta City Council Andy Gibbs replied to my tag of him on a facebook picture with the text of this PR. Still, it’s only the day after the spill, so pretty good. Nobody probably liked working on a weekend; I know I had to bump back some other stuff to deal with this spill, including getting up at 3AM to finish preparations for a board meeting. But weather and sewage spills don’t wait on weekends or vacations.

Meanwhile, this PR is still not on the city’s website, facebook, or twitter. Update 2022-07-12 Council Andy Gibbs points out it is on the city’s website; turns out you can find it from the front page by drilling down on Recent News; I had tried the front page and the Utilities page. As the location it gives only vague “2000 block of Baytree Road”, even though it’s pretty hard to miss that decade-old fancy-model trash trap on Sheri Run above Lake Sheri, at 2133 Baytree Road, Valdosta, GA 31602.

[More-sewage-across-baytree-road-trash-trap]
More sewage across Baytree Road trash trap; Photo: Bobby McKenzie, July 9, 2022.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE
DATE: Friday[sic], July 10, 2022
CONTACT: Sharah Denton, Community Relations & Marketing Manager
Telephone: (229) 259-3548
sdenton@valdostacity.com Continue reading

Sewer spill at Baytree Road trash trap 2022-07-09

Update 2022-07-11: Valdosta says it has fixed Baytree Road trash trap sewer leak 2022-07-10.

Two manholes are spewing sewage next to Baytree Road and Sheri Run, upstream from Lake Sheri and the Withlacoochee River.

[Manhole, trash trap, Sheri Run]
Manhole, trash trap, Sheri Run

Couple of WWALS members went to see Valdosta’s decade-old trash trap on Baytree Road at Sheri Run, and found this sewage spill about 5:20 PM today, Saturday, July 8, 9, 2022. Yes, they did report it to Valdosta Utilities.

Hear them gag at the smell: Continue reading

Bad Water Quality, Withlacoochee River 2022-06-30

Update 2022-07-03: PFAS testing, Withlacoochee River, Georgia and Florida 2022-06-30.

Update 2022-07-03: Madison Health Advisory, Withlacoochee River 2022-07-02.

Please avoid the Withlacoochee River this weekend, at least downstream from Hagan Bridge (GA 122). Try the Little River or the Alapaha, or the Suwannee upstream of the Withlacoochee River Confluence.

[Chart, River, Swim Guide 2022-06-30]
Chart, River, Swim Guide 2022-06-30

There was already contamination washed into the river by rain up to 4 inches in spots, according to Valdosta’s Wednesday results at US 41 and GA 133: 1,000 cfu/100 mL and 2,000 cfu/100 mL, where 1,000 is the alert level.

Then Valdosta had a major sewage spill. Continue reading

Valdosta Manhole Rehabilitation lists 2021-07-13

Update 2021-07-16 Clean Withlacoochee River 2021-07-15.

I thank the City of Valdosta for promptly sending their list of manholes to be rehabilitated, and manholes already rehabilitated, both in response to a WWALS Georgia Open Records Act request.

However, I am mystified why neither list includes the notorious spill locations on Mildred Street or Wainwright Drive.

I add up 358,525 gallons of sewage spilled at Mildred Street into Knights Creek in the Alapaha River Basin and 355,875 gallons at Wainwright Drive into Onemile Branch in the Withlacoochee River Basin. Those totals are each since 2015, according to records from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD).

I haven’t added up spills from all the other locations that are on the Rehab lists. I would hope there are not many that have spilled more than a third of a million gallons of raw sewage.

How many gallons does it take to get on Valdosta’s rehab list?

[Current Rehab list; already rehabilitated lists]
Current Rehab list; already rehabilitated lists

It’s also interesting that these lists include for almost every manhole specific street addresses. Unlike the vague “1200 block” addresses Valdosta puts in its sewage spill press releases, and often in its spill reports to GA-EPD.

Speaking of which, despite Valdosta’s assurances that it had reported at least the two biggest spills of July 7th to GA-EPD, there is still nothing about any of those in GA-EPD’s Sewer Spills Report.

Manhole Rehabilitation (Phase 7)

Continue reading

No Valdosta City repair work at chronic sewage spill manhole, Wainwright Drive, Onemile Branch 2021-07-08

Update 2021-07-14: Valdosta Manhole Rehabilitation lists 2021-07-13.

“Doesn’t look good,” WWALS member Scotti Jay summed up the situation at the Wainwright Drive Onemile Branch manhole that spilled yet again in Tropical Storm Elsa. “No lime was put out.”

[Caution, Sewage Spill, Manhole ajar, Wainwright Drive, Onemile Branch, Valdosta, GA]
Caution, Sewage Spill, Manhole ajar, Wainwright Drive, Onemile Branch, Valdosta, GA

This is a manhole at 1212 Wainwright Drive, where Valdosta, Georgia, spilled 37,500 gallons of raw sewage on July 7, 2021, during Tropical Storm Elsa. That’s the same place Valdosta has spilled numerous times before, listing it as 1208 Wainwright Drive, or “1200 block”, including 51,800 gallons 2018-12-14, 166,275 gallons 2018-12-03, 9,800 gallons 2017-01-22, and 90,500 gallons 2016-02-04. That’s a total of 355,875 gallons spilled at that one location.

Is a third of a million gallons of raw sewage not enough for Valdosta to pay attention and fix that location? Will it require a million gallons?

Back on November 11, 2017, Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse joined WWALS on a cleanup of Onemile Branch, including at the bridge in these pictures. He said they were trying to get the number of sewer spills down to zero.

Yet a year later at a Valdosta City Council meeting and then at a SRWMD Board meeting, Director Muse neglected to mention the 218,075 gallons spilled at that location alone in December 2018. In both cases I had to stand up and correct him in public.

SRWMD Board member Virginia Sanchez noted, “You don’t want to swim in a little sewage versus a lot of sewage either. Both of them are bad. A spill is bad.”

When I asked him another year later during one of the Florida dozen-county Valdosta sewage Task Force meetings with the Valdosta City Council when Wainwright Drive would be fixed, Darryl Muse did not recall that location.

Still years more later, Scotti Jay last week observed, “You would be amazed at all the incompetent work being done around the Wainwright location. With no effort whatsoever towards improving the faulty, damaged manhole. Absolutely nothing.”

WS

“Will the City of Valdosta finally repair the most dangerous sewer hole that threatens sewage intrusion. Ask your local government to update the sewer system.” Asked about the sign, Scotti Jay wrote, “it’s just zip tied. But some locations have permanent signs.” Continue reading

Bad Elsa aftermath, water quality, Withlacoochee River 2021-07-08

Update 2021-07-16 Clean Withlacoochee River 2021-07-15.

Update: 2021-07-12: No Valdosta City repair work at chronic sewage spill manhole, Wainwright Drive, Onemile Branch 2021-07-08.

Tropical Storm Elsa washed E. coli into the Withlacoochee River, according to WWALS test results for Thursday, July 8, 2021.

Some of it probably came from Valdosta’s more than half a dozen sewage spills. But that wasn’t the only source, since WWALS found bad water quality starting at Hagan Bridge @ GA 122 and US 41, well upstream from Sugar Creek. Hagan Bridge is even upstream of Cat Creek, through which Moody Air Force Base’s Beatty Branch spill would reach the Withlacoochee. So some of this is probably more of the usual cattle, hog, horse, etc. manure being washed into the river. However, WWALS found much worse water quality at GA 133, downstream of Sugar Creek. So possibly Valdosta’s 45,532 gallons of raw sewage into Twomile Branch and 44,448 gallons into Onemile Branch, which both flush through Sugar Creek, had some ill effect on the Withlacoochee River.

For Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, Valdosta’s own results for Wednesday already showed too much E. coli, and the WWALS results for Thursday at Nankin and State Line were no better. WWALS did get acceptable results at Cleary Bluff, downstream of Allen Ramp, but that may be just because the contamination had not washed down there yet.

[Bad Chart, Little, Withlacoochee, Alapaha Rivers, Swim Guide]
Bad Chart, Little, Withlacoochee, Alapaha Rivers, Swim Guide

For the Little River, WWALS got too-high E. coli at Troupville Boat Ramp, but acceptable upstream at Folsom Bridge Landing @ GA 122.

For the Alapaha River, results were good at Willacoochee Landing @ GA 135 Wednesday, and acceptable at Lakeland Boat Ramp @ GA 122 Thursday. We have no data downstream of where the 320 gallons of Valdosta sewage on MLK Drive might have flushed down Duke Bay Canal, Mud Swamp Creek, and the Alapahoochee River into the Alapaha River just upstream of Sasser Landing, but that was a very small amount.

So if you want to boat this weekend, I’d recommend the Alapaha River or upstream on the Little River, but not the Withlacoochee River.

We have no Santa Fe River water quality data downstream of Starke, Florida’s, half dozen sewage spills. Continue reading

Clean Rivers after Tuesday blip and before Thursday rains 2021-07-01

Update 2021-07-06: Bad Upstream, Withlacoochee River 2021-07-02.

The Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers are remarkably clean by samples Thursday, July 1, 2021. No sewage spills have been reported for Georgia.

Some bad news: something caused high E. coli in the Withlacoochee River at GA 133 on Tuesday. And Starke, Florida, had two more small spills above the Santa Fe River, but nothing like the big one that Florida city had a week ago.

The good news: according to those Tuesday tests, whatever was in the Withlacoochee River at GA 133 was not coming from Valdosta’s Mulch Yard off of Val-Tech Road. And by Thursday samples, whatever it was was gone by then.

So by the results we have right now, it’s clear for swimming, diving, fishing, and boating.

And still more good news: Madison Health has lifted its former Bacterial Advisory for the Withlacoochee River.

But beware: many inches of rain fell later Thursday and today. That usually washes more contamination into the rivers. See Cattle and hogs: Withlacoochee River water quality status 2021-06-27 https://wwals.net/?p=55966

[Chart, rivers, results, Swim Guide]
Chart, rivers, results, Swim Guide

Just don’t say we didn’t mention those rains yesterday and today, which in Brooks County started even earlier, and have been very heavy. If we’re all lucky, most of what manure would wash off has already washed off. We shall see.

With a dozen tests this week, we’re burning through testing materials. Thanks to Joe Brownlee, Southwest Director, Georgia Power, for another generous water quality testing grant that helps make this possible. Continue reading