Tag Archives: Three Mile Branch

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

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

Valdosta knew the Withlacoochee River was filthy on that Friday and Saturday before it issued its press release on Monday, April 15, about its 6.7-million-gallon spill into Spring Branch to that river. We know this because Valdosta, unlike the other cities that spilled during the big rains of April 11, Valdosta puts its followup test results on the city’s website. Those results also show the river is clean, and has been since the Sunday after the spill. But some creeks are still filthy; see below.

[Valdosta test results: filthy Withlacoochee River after big spill, many creeks still filthy after smaller spills]
Valdosta test results: filthy Withlacoochee River after big spill, many creeks still filthy after smaller spills

For people going to festivals at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park: that location is upstream on the Suwannee River from the Withlacoochee River, and thus is not affected by any of the sewage spills that went into the Withlacoochee. I wouldn’t be surprised if the big rains washed some contamination into the Suwannee River. But that was three weeks ago, and most likely that E. coli was diluted and washed downstream long ago. The biggest thing you have to worry about in the Suwannee River at that park is probably contamination from people on the beach there. Continue reading

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

Dirty creeks, but clean rivers 2024-04-17

Update 2024-04-26: Clean Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Santa Fe Rivers 2024-04-25.

After the week of sewage spills after the recent rains, WWALS found Sugar Creek dirty and Spring Branch filthy, but four rivers clean: Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Ichetucknee, and Santa Fe.

That’s right, while Spring Branch was filthy (7 times the alert limit for E. coli) right next to Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) that spilled 6.7 million gallons Friday through Sunday, the Withlacoochee River tested clean at five locations.

We can only guess that the massive flow of the river from the rains diluted or washed the contamination downstream.

You still might want to think twice before boating, fishing, or swimming in the rivers, since they are all in flood or at least Action Stage.

[After heavy thunderstorms and sewage spill week, dirty creeks, but clean rivers 2024-04-17]
After heavy thunderstorms and sewage spill week, dirty creeks, but clean rivers 2024-04-17

We have no new Valdosta results since last week, because Valdosta only tests once a week on Wednesday, and while they probably did sample yesterday, they have not posted their results.

Nevermind that Madison Health issued a health advisory for the Withlacoochee River because of Valdosta’s spills.

So that leaves WWALS and FDEP and SRWMD to test after Valdosta’s mess. Continue reading

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

Update 2024-04-26: Clean Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Santa Fe Rivers 2024-04-25.

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

The Tuesday and Wednesday GA-EPD Sewage Spills Reports provide updates about the spills during and after last week’s thunderstorms.

Tifton’s biggest spill was 40,400 gallons, which is four times the limit for a major spill, and GA-EPD still is confused about where it was.

Rochelle’s spill was only 3,000 gallons. No sewage spill is a good spill, but at least that one was small.

Quitman had three, not two, spills, although they were all small and not near Okapilco Creek.

We guessed correctly where the Homerville spill was.

And while latitudes and longitudes appeared again briefly, many of them are inaccurate, for Tifton, and especially for Valdosta. Even Valdosta’s 6.7 million gallon WWTP spill has slightly wrong latitude and longitude.

We know where they all were, and WWALS has been doing some water quality testing. Stay tuned for results.

[Updates on Homerville, Quitman, Tifton, and Valdosta in GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report 2024-04-16-17]
Updates on Homerville, Quitman, Tifton, and Valdosta in GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report 2024-04-16-17

The Tuesday report provides 5,000 gallons for the Rochelle spill.

For the Tifton spills, it provides Continue reading

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

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

Three small Valdosta spills into Three Mile Branch, Withlacoochee River 2024-02-27

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

Update 2024-03-01: Clean rivers and creek 2024-02-28.

Update 2024-02-29: Added Valdosta Press Release.

Yesterday, we received an alert from the landowner at 215 Knob Hill Road that yet another spill was happening there. He copied Valdosta Utilities. By the time I called Utilities a minute later, Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes said he was busy figuring it out and could not talk right then.

This morning I called Jason Barnes again. No, they did not find the cause. However, next week they will “jet from Williamsburg to Knob Hill” That means clean the sewer line.

[Three small Valdosta Sewage Spills into Three Mile Branch 2024-02-27: 1500 gallons each @ 215 Knob Hill Road, 300 Knob Hill, & 1016 Williamsburg Drive 2024-02-27]
Three small Valdosta Sewage Spills into Three Mile Branch 2024-02-27: 1500 gallons each @ 215 Knob Hill Road, 300 Knob Hill, & 1016 Williamsburg Drive 2024-02-27

Jason Barnes says the City of Valdosta will issue a press release. But I’ve got stuff to do this afternoon, so here’s what he told me.

Yesterday’s spills were 1500 gallons each from three locations, 215 Knob Hill, and two overflow locations: 300 Knob Hill (the next house downhill) and 1016 Williamsburg (across the ditch from Knob Hill). So that’s 4,500 gallons total, all into Three Mile Branch.

Yes, Three Mile Branch flows into the Withlacoochee River along the path Continue reading

Clean Withlacoochee, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers and Franks Creek 2024-02-21

Update 2024-03-01: Clean rivers and creek 2024-02-28.

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

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

Valdosta’s recent upstream Withlacoochee River results through Monday are good. Although I recently remarked that Valdosta was better lately about posting its results in a timely manner, Valdosta’s Wednesday results are still not posted.

The rain predicted for yesterday turned out to be a drizzle. No more rain is predicted for a week.

So if you like high, fast, and cold water, this weekend is good for paddling. Maybe fishing. Swimming with a wetsuit.

However, the Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers are up from previous upstream rains. The Santa Fe River is coming back down. The Suwannee was never especially high. I’d recommend the Ichetucknee, Suwannee, or Santa Fe Rivers for this weekend, or Banks Lake this evening. 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