Tag Archives: Suwannee River

Brooks County Industrial Park: Site Plan, Grading, Drainage, Water, Sewer

Here’s a map of the sewer system in the Brooks County Industrial Park, plus maps of the water and road systems. These maps were sent by the Brooks County Industrial Authority a couple of years ago in response to a WWALS open records request.

[Brooks County Industrial Park, Sewer System 2006-05-09, Site Plan, Grading, Drainage, Water]
Brooks County Industrial Park, Sewer System 2006-05-09, Site Plan, Grading, Drainage, Water

What this industrial park sewer system map does not show is: how does it connect to the rest of Quitman’s sewer system?

How Quitman’s sewer system works and where it is important, because Quitman has had quite a few reported sewage spills; see Quitman: Noncompliance, 9 effluent violations, 5 sewage spills, 11 monitoring violations, 1 reporting violation –GA-EPD Nov 2022 – Oct 2023. Quitman is upstream of the Withlacoochee River, and some of its former spills have quite likely travelled all the way down the Suwannee River to the Gulf of Mexico. Continue reading

A Georgia City Has Spilled Millions of Gallons of Raw Sewage Into 2 Pristine Rivers –Amber Nolan, greenmatters 2024-06-03

Update 2024-06-07: Filthy Franks Creek, clean Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers, despite Ashburn spill 2024-06-05.

Update 2024-06-07: Quitman: Noncompliance, 9 effluent violations, 5 sewage spills, 11 monitoring violations, 1 reporting violation –GA-EPD Nov 2022 – Oct 2023.

A reporter from Key West wrote about what people are saying about Valdosta sewage, and it’s not very pretty.

Maybe Valdosta will get a different public image when it tells people what it is doing, such as the $67 million bond for water and sewer projects the Valdosta City Council will vote on tomorrow.

And when the sewage spills don’t happen anymore.

Meanwhile, if you want to see what we are protecting, you can paddle with us this Saturday on the Withlacoochee River in Florida. https://wwals.net/?p=64848

[Valdosta sewage viewed from Key West 2024-06-03: It's not very pretty]
Valdosta sewage viewed from Key West 2024-06-03: It’s not very pretty

Please go to the original article. I’ve archived it here to be sure it is preserved, using some WWALS images to illustrate it.


Amber Nolan, Greenmatters, June 3, 2024, A Georgia City Has Spilled Millions of Gallons of Raw Sewage Into 2 Pristine Rivers
And the city is hardly doing anything to clean up its mess.

Besides its inclusion in Stephen Foster’s song “Old Folks at Home,” the Suwannee River, along with its sister river, the Withlacoochee, are off most people’s radars. Both are federally designated wild rivers that flow through Georgia and Florida, and offer top-notch kayaking and canoeing opportunities. The lower Suwannee is also home to the 53,000-acre National Wildlife Refuge, and the river’s freshwater springs are extremely popular swimming holes.

Yet, for more than a decade, accidental raw sewage spills into the rivers have been a constant occurrence from a wastewater treatment facility in Valdosta, Ga., and the sewage then flows south across state lines into Florida. Attempts to solve the problem have been bandages on a gash wound, and in April 2024, millions of gallons of sewage again spilled into the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers. So why does this keep happening, and what’s being done to prevent sewage from polluting these pristine rivers? Continue reading

Florida Folk Festival Friday 2024-05-24

Update 2024-05-26: Pictures: Florida Folk Festival Saturday 2024-05-25.

Gretchen Quarterman took a few pictures Friday at the Florida Folk Festival.

[WWALS Booth at, Florida Folk Festival 2024-04-24, Come down to White Springs, FL, Saturday and Sunday]
WWALS Booth at, Florida Folk Festival 2024-04-24, Come down to White Springs, FL, Saturday and Sunday

Come on down Saturday and Sunday to the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park on the Suwannee River in White Springs, Florida. Continue reading

What progress has been made towards springs nitrogen loading reduction by the Suwannee River BMAP? 2024-05-24

Update 2024-05-25: The Santa Fe River BMAP session was no more informative.

If my car has an oil leak and I take it to the dealer, I want to know has it stopped leaking, or at least when will it be fixed so it doesn’t leak, and how far along is it to being fixed. I don’t want to hear a precise torque wrench reading, which nut the wrench turned, etc., at least not until after I’ve heard the progress report.

But FDEP tells us about all the nuts and bolts, makes and models, projects and documents, without ever telling us what have the BMAPs accomplished, compared to their stated goals of reducing nitrogen loadings in springs.

[Suwannee BMAP meeting, what progress? 2024-05-24, vs. 2017-04-13 BMAPs and FDEP 2022 Statewide Annual Report]
Suwannee BMAP meeting, what progress? 2024-05-24, vs. 2017-04-13 BMAPs and FDEP 2022 Statewide Annual Report

I don’t doubt that it’s a great tool and those using it are qualified and hardworking, the Nitrogen Source Inventory Loading Tool (NSILT) and other tools used in the BMAPs. But they are tools, not the goal. I first want to know progress towards the goal.

After an hour of today’s online public meeting about the Suwannee River Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP), I asked via the questions option:

11:16 AM Me to Staff Continue reading

Gainesville: North Central Florida Regional Planning Council 2024-05-23

Update 2024-05-24: Clean Withlacoochee, Santa Fe, and Ichetucknee Rivers 2024-05-22.

Years ago, the dozen downstream Florida counties formed a task force about Valdosta sewage spills. See for example https://wwals.net/?p=51455

Due to recent events, it appears that task force will get reactivated this Thursday, at the monthly meeting of the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council (NCFRPC).

See for example https://wwals.net/?p=64677 and for background see https://wwals.net/issues/testing/

[NFRPC in Gainesville, Thursday, May 23, 2024, M&L Suwannnee & Withlacoochee River Task Force Reactivation]
NFRPC in Gainesville, Thursday, May 23, 2024, M&L Suwannnee & Withlacoochee River Task Force Reactivation

When: 7 PM, Thursday, May 23, 2024

Where: Drury Inn and Suites, Orange Blossom Room/Sweetwater Room, 4000 Southwest 40th Boulevard, Gainesville, Florida
Note the meeting will be in Gainesville, not the usual Lake City location.

Or online: https://meet.goto.com/408138813
DIAL IN NUMBER: Toll Free: 1.866.899.4679
ACCESS CODE: 408-138-813

Includes: VII. B. Middle and Lower Suwannee River and Withlacoochee River Task Force Reactivation

 -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/

WWALS at Florida Folk Festival, White Springs, FL, 2024-05-24-26

Update 2024-05-25: Florida Folk Festival Friday 2024-05-24.

WWALS will be back again with a booth at the Florida Folk Festival on Memorial Day Weekend in White Springs at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park.

The festival is a three-day celebration of the music, dance, stories, crafts and food that make Florida unique.

Come talk to us about Right to Clean Water, BMAPs, opposing a strip mine permit too near the Okefenokee Swamp, sewage, trash, and other advocacy as well as outings and water trails.

And of course our own WWALS River Revue, coming up Saturday, September 7, 2024, including the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.
https://wwals.net/pictures/songwriting2024/

When: 6:30 PM, Friday, May 24, 2024, through 6 PM, Sunday, May 26, 2024

Put In: Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, White Springs, Florida, on the banks of the Suwannee River.

GPS: 30.332884, -82.769513

[WWALS at Florida Folk Festival, Friday - Sunday, May 24-26, 2024, Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center SP, White Springs, Florida]
WWALS at Florida Folk Festival, Friday – Sunday, May 24-26, 2024, Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center SP, White Springs, Florida

Continue reading

Suwannee and Santa Fe River Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) meetings 2024-05-24

Update 2024-05-24: What progress has been made towards springs nitrogen loading reduction by the Suwannee River BMAP? 2024-05-24.

SRWMD is holding two meetings about springs protection on Friday, May 24, 2024, at 10AM for the Suwannee River Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP), and at 1:30 PM for its Santa Fe River BMAP.

[SRWMD BMAP meetings, Online May 24, 2024, Suwannee River Basin 10 AM, Santa Fe River Basin 1:30 PM]
SRWMD BMAP meetings, Online May 24, 2024, Suwannee River Basin 10 AM, Santa Fe River Basin 1:30 PM

Everybody knows the main problem and the cause: nitrates from fertilizer leaching through the soil and causing algae blooms in springs such as Madison Blue Spring and Gilchrist Blue Spring, because of too much fertilizer and irrigation using Floridan Aquifer withdrawals.

Nothing much has changed since this article was published in 2018: State geologist Greenhalgh says BMPs don’t work to solve BMAPs. The BMAPs use the same Best Management Practices (BMPs) that were already in use for the previous decades, during which the problem got worse. There is little reason to believe those BMPs alone will improve the situation.

To affect these BMAPs, it’s going to take more than just people showing up or even experts providing opinions. Grasstops are needed: people who can influence the decision makers, both inside SRWMD and FDEP, and elected statewide officials.

But a good first step is for people to show up or send letters of comment. Continue reading

No spills reported after recent rains, Suwannee River Basin 2024-05-15

Update 2024-05-17: Dirty Withlacoochee and Alapaha River and creeks 2024-05-15.

Update 2024-05-16: Quitman also reports no spills after the recent rains.

After two, three, and four inches of rain added up on Monday and Tuesday across south Georgia and parts of north Florida, the good news is no sewage spills have been reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia or Florida.

[No spills reported, after rains 2024-05-15, Suwannee River Basin, Georgia and Florida]
No spills reported, after rains 2024-05-15, Suwannee River Basin, Georgia and Florida

Sometimes it takes days for spills to show up in the GA-EPD and FDEP online reports, so I called Valdosta, Lowndes County, and Quitman.

Valdosta Utilities says they had no spills or overflows.

Lowndes County Utilities says they had no spills.

Quitman City Hall says as far as they have heard they have had no spills, but they referred me to their utilities contractor, ESG Engineering. I called the ESG number City Hall gave me, and left a message with the person who answered, but I have not heard back from ESG yet about sewage spills.

Update 2024-05-16: Scott Fowler of ESG called back. He says Quitman had no sewage spills with the recent rains.

This does not mean the rivers are clean. We do not know, because nobody has sampled yet since the rains. Valdosta now only samples once a week on Wednesdays, so they presumably drew their samples today and will post their results Thursday or Friday. WWALS samples on Wednesday or Thursday, and our results (and Valdosta’s) will go in the WWALS Friday water quality report, as usual.

Often after big rains, contamination washes into the rivers from other sources, including agriculture, livestock, wildlife, septic tanks, and domestic pets.

However, with this much rain, there is a good chance any such contamination has already been diluted and washed downstream. But we do not know.

If you want to get trained to be a WWALS water quality tester, please fill out the form:
https://wwals.net/?p=47084

Meanwhile, as you can see on the NOAA river levels map, the upstream Suwannee River has hardly risen, so that’s good for the WWALS outing this Saturday, Turner Bridge Ramp to Cone Bridge Ramp Suwannee River Paddle 2024-05-18. Depending, of course, on the rain predicted for Saturday. Continue reading

Pictures: Cypress Creek South (CR 6) to Cone Bridge, Suwannee River 2019-05-04

We saw many creeks, a few birds, some karst caves, many sandy beaches, and a deadfall, on the Suwannee River from CR 6 to Cone Bridge Ramp, Saturday, May 4, 2019. We started in Hamilton County, Florida, and ended up in Columbia County.

[Cypress Creek South (CR 6) to Cone Bridge, 2019-05-04, Creeks, karst, and a deadfall on the Suwannee River]
Cypress Creek South (CR 6) to Cone Bridge, 2019-05-04, Creeks, karst, and a deadfall on the Suwannee River

Thanks to Shirley Kokidko for leading this expedition, and to everyone else who paddled.

The river was at about 51.26 NAVD88 on the White Springs gauge.

There are more pictures below. Continue reading

If you can’t beat the mines, buy the land –Dwight Davis 2024-04-23

There is one slight catch: buying the land will be very expensive. There is probably only one organization that can afford it.

Although the lawsuits likely to ensue as soon as the permits are issued may reduce the price.

Nonetheless, merely buying the land would encourage more mining permit applications. There needs to be legislation to prohibit such mines anywhere near the Okefenokee Swamp.

Also, I don’t know what questioning he is referring to.

Dwight Davis, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 23, 2024, If you can’t beat the mines, buy the land,

The mining permit for Trail Ridge near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has evolved into a contentious debate. Though initially a civil discourse on ecological preservation, recent opposition has taken a harsh tone, unfairly questioning the integrity of state officials involved in the decision-making process. Amid this, crucial facts have been overlooked.

[If you can't beat the mines, buy the land --Dwight Davis, Okefenokee Swamp, GA-EPD, GA-DNR]
If you can’t beat the mines, buy the land –Dwight Davis, Okefenokee Swamp, GA-EPD, GA-DNR

Having served on the board of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for 14 years, including as its past chairman, I’ve engaged with various stakeholders, including environmental groups, local elected officials and the mining company, Twin Pines, that is seeking permits to mine for minerals near the treasured Okefenokee swamp. Despite the board having no direct influence over the permit decision, we closely monitored the process.

Opponents of mining proudly claim they want to save the Okefenokee, but so does the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, which is Continue reading