Tag Archives: testing

Clean before the storm, but sewage spills during 2024-04-11

WWALS water quality tests were clean before the storm for the Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers, as well as Sugar Creek. Valdosta Wednesday results agreed.

But Valdosta had seven sewage spills for almost half a million gallons during the storm, plus one before, and Tifton and Quitman each had two spills: see Valdosta, Quitman, and Tifton sewage spills in big rains 2024-04-11.
https://wwals.net/?p=64616

Plus almost all the rivers are in flood or at least Action Stage.

I’d avoid the rivers this weekend, except maybe the Suwannee between White Springs an Ellaville, and the Santa Fe upstream from High Springs: those are not yet in Action Stage.

[Clean before the storm, but sewage spills during 2024-04-11: Franks and Sugar Creeks, Little, Withlacoochee, Santa Fe Rivers]
Clean before the storm, but sewage spills during 2024-04-11: Franks and Sugar Creeks, Little, Withlacoochee, Santa Fe Rivers

Debbie Smith tested Franks Creek at GA 122 west of Hahira on Sunday, April 7, and got Continue reading

Permit application deficiencies; water modeling, monitoring, and management, mercury, spills, slimes, Florida –WWALS to GA-EPD, TPM TiO2 mining 2024-04-09

Here are the WWALS comments sent to GA-EPD yesterday against the proposed titanium dioxide mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp.

Thanks to all who also sent comments to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) during the 60-day comment period.

[Application deficiencies in TPM TiO2 mining permits: Modeling, mercury, spills, slimes, Florida --WWALS to GA-EPD 2024-04-09]
Application deficiencies in TPM TiO2 mining permits: Modeling, mercury, spills, slimes, Florida –WWALS to GA-EPD 2024-04-09

Next, we wait for GA-EPD to read all the comments. Supposedly they have to reply to all questions in those comments.

Most likely then GA-EPD will issue the actual permits. Then lawsuits start flying.

If I am not mistaken, you can still send comments to TwinPines.Comment@dnr.ga.gov. They won’t be considered part of the 60-day comment period, but they will go into the public record, retrievable via an open records request, and usable in lawsuits.

The WWALS Comment

See also PDF. 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

WWALS water quality testing assurance and quality control 2023-01-06

Update 2024-04-05: Now with smartphone method for googledrive.

The document: 2024-04-05–WWALS-Water-Quality-Testing-Assurance.pdf.

See also the WWALS Water Quality Testing Committee and the Water Quality Testing web page:
https://wwals.net/issues/testing/

 -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/

[Why Quality Assurance is Important]
Why Quality Assurance is Important
PDF

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

Clean rivers and creek 2024-03-07

Update 2024-03-15: Clean rivers 2024-03-13.

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

Valdosta’s recent upstream Withlacoochee River results through Monday are good. However, Valdosta got very bad downstream Knights Creek results for Wednesday after significant rain Tuesday. Is this an unreported sewage spill upstream from the Alapahoochee and Alapaha Rivers? And why can Valdosta get its Knights Creek followup testing results for Wednesday on its own website by Saturday, but not its Withlacoochee River test results?

Rain is predicted for Saturday, and maybe thunderstorms.

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

Or join us tomorrow and Sunday at Drexel Park in Valdosta for the Azalea Festival, on One Mile Branch, upstream from Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River.

[Chart, Rivers and creek, Map 2024-03-06]
Chart, Rivers and creek, Map 2024-03-06

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

However, on Wednesday, March 6, GA-EPD reported that Rochelle spilled 10,000 gallons of raw sewage on Monday, February 12, due to “Wet weather” from “Sook Road manhole.”

[Rochelle 10,000 gallon sewage spill 2024-02-12]
Rochelle 10,000 gallon sewage spill 2024-02-12

The waterway is given as “none” and the river basin is blank in the report. Actually, Sook Road is on a ditch that runs into Reynolds Creek into Mill Creek into the Alapaha River. It’s mysterious why this spill took more than four weeks to show up, and why the report has so little information. Even more mysterious is that it does not appear in later Sewage Spills Reports. I have asked GA-EPD about this. Continue reading

Pictures: Valdosta WWTP water quality lab ribbon cutting 2024-03-05

Update 2024-03-09: Clean rivers and creek 2024-03-06.

I got there just after the speeches, and before the ribbon cutting. During the lab tour and after, Malia Thomas interviewed me for WTXL TV, and of course Jason Barnes, Valdosta Acting Utilities Director.

[Ribbon cutting, Valdosta water quality lab tour, WTXL reporting 2024-03-05]
Ribbon cutting, Valdosta water quality lab tour, WTXL reporting 2024-03-05

Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson said he mentioned me favorably during his speech. Continue reading

WWALS at Azalea Festival, One Mile Branch, Valdosta, GA 2024-03-09

Come help WWALS celebrate spring with 30,000 of our south Georgia and north Florida friends, at the WWALS booth at the Azalea Festival in Valdosta, Georgia, all day this Saturday and Sunday in Drexel Park.

[WWALS Booth at Azalea Festival 2024-03-09-10, One Mile Branch, Drexel Park, Valdosta, Georgia. Photos: John S. Quarterman 2024-03-11]
WWALS Booth at Azalea Festival 2024-03-09-10, One Mile Branch, Drexel Park, Valdosta, Georgia. Photos: John S. Quarterman 2024-03-11

Come talk to us about our outings and advocacy (yes, including Valdosta trash and sewage), our Water Trails, the pictures for sale Gretchen took of our rivers, notecards, stickers, hats, t-shirts, plus a kayak raffle. Continue reading

Clean rivers and creek 2024-02-28

Update 2024-03-09: Clean rivers and creek 2024-03-06.

Update 2024-03-03: Now with Alapaha River at Lakeland and Naylor and Santa Fe River at U.S. 27, all also clean.

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

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

There has been very little rain for a week. Rain is predicted for today, Saturday, and Sunday, but probably not very much.

The rivers are down to good paddling levels, and it’s not cold. So bring rain gear, and happy paddling, fishing, and maybe swimming this weekend.

Join us tomorrow, Saturday morning, at Langdale Park Boat Ramp for the Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River.

[Chart, Clean Rivers and Franks Creek, Map 2024-02-28]
Chart, Clean Rivers and Franks Creek, Map 2024-02-28

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

But four were reported in Georgia.

Remember Valdosta’s two small 100-gallon sewage spills on February 20, at Three Mile Branch from Knob Hill Road, and into One Mile Branch from Boone Drive @ Baytree Road, which drains into Sugar Creek, then to the Withlacoochee River?

Well, Valdosta had another spill at 215 Knob Hill Road, 1,500 gallons each from there and from two overflow sites nearby. Yes, that drains into Three Mile Branch which goes into the Withlacoochee River along the route of the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle. But 4,500 gallons should be small enough to be diluted and washed away by now.

Ashburn last Wednesday had yet another spill, 1,500 gallons from its MLK Lift Station into Ashburn Branch, which runs into the Little River. Continue reading