Tag Archives: Tifton

Tifton, Ashburn spills, bad downstream 2021-03-03

Update 2021-03-13: All clear, Withlacoochee River 2021-03-11.

Tifton and Ashburn, Georgia spilled raw sewage, March 3, 2021, both from places that had spilled before. For once we may have actually seen some of that in downstream water quality results. But they could not have caused the extremely high test result at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp that same day, nor the bad results into Florida the next day: those were most likely the usual cattle manure.

[Ashburn, Tifton spills and water quality]
Ashburn, Tifton spills and water quality

The high Fecal coliform at US 41 and GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River that same Wednesday could have been from the Tifton spill on the New River upstream, and the high E. coli at GA 133, all in Valdosta’s thrice-weekly testing. It’s about 64 river miles from 2406 N. Ridge Ave. to US 41, and about 70 miles to GA 133, but with the rivers high and fast, it’s conceivable a spill that started in the early morning (or the previous evening) could have moved downstream that fast.

Or with rains over an inch closer upstream on the Withlacoochee River, something else may have washed into the river. Or both.

The only way to be sure would be DNA tests. Valdosta is supposed to be doing those as part of the Consent Order. We are looking forward to seeing results. Continue reading

Very clean Thursday, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-25

Update 2021-03-05: More contamination after big rains, Withlacoochee River 2021-03-04.

The Bachrachs got something we haven’t seen for a long while on the Withlacoochee River: zero E. coli in their water samples at Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps, for Thursday, February 25, 2021. Madison Health got almost as low numbers for the same day at State Line, Sullivan Launch, and FL 6. Madison Health got almost as low numbers for Tuesday, and new WWALS testers Gus Cleary got even lower at NE Withla Bluffs Way downstream from Allen Ramp.

[Clean chart, clean plates, State Line, Nankin, Swim Guide]
Clean chart, clean plates, State Line, Nankin, Swim Guide
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida water quality results, rainfall, and spills, see:
https://wwals.net/issues/testing/

Valdosta got clean upstream for last Monday and Friday a week ago, and Michael and Jacob Bachrach and Gus got clean downstream for that Friday.

So this has been a clean week, the cleanest we’ve seen in a long while. Apparently all that rainwater has finally diluted and washed downstream any previous contamination.

Happy boating, fishing, and swimming!

But beware: with the rivers in flood stage, if you’re not an expert, avoid them still. Even if you are an expert, wear your PFD and don’t go alone. Continue reading

Tifton Spills, Little River, New River 2021-02-18

Update 2021-02-26: Nothing obvious attributable to the Tifton spills in downstream water quality monitoring, and Very clean Thursday, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-25.

Tifton, we have a problem. Tifton, do you read?

Two days after Tifton’s three sewage spills Tuesday last week, Tifton spilled five times more the following Thursday, February 18, 2021. Two of the new locations were the same or across the street from ones two days before. North Ridge Street and Agrirama Lake have been chronic spill sites for years.

Tifton, can you clean up your act, please? Tifton, do you read?

[Tifton spills and locations 2021-02-18]
Tifton spills and locations 2021-02-18

Once again (magenta circle) from the Agrirama above the Little River, and four times in the New River Basin: Continue reading

Tifton Sewage Spills 2021-02-16

Update 2021-02-26: And more Tifton spills, two days later; Tifton Spills, Little River, New River 2021-02-18.

Update 2021-02-21: Nothing obvious related to the Tifton spills in downstream testing; see Clean downstream Friday Withlacoochee River 2021-02-19.

The City of Tifton spilled three places, for a total of 35,500 gallons of raw sewage, Sunday and Tuesday, February 14 and 16, 2021. Why? “Wet weather.” It’s true that an inch of rain fell on Tifton Saturday, an inch and a half Sunday, and almost another inch Tuesday.

Any spill is too many. However, these were all so far upstream that probably will not show up in any of the downstream water quality testing currently going on. It would be good to get some testing on the Little River between Tifton and Reed Bingham State Park to see if Tifton Spills reach that park.

[Spills, Locations]
Spills, Locations

One spill location was repeated: Agrirama Lake, which drains into the Little River. Tifton previously spilled there in 2015, 2016, and 2018. See Continue reading

Bad Withlacoochee, OK Alapaha 2021-01-07

Update 2021-01-11: Much better Withlacoochee River water quality 2021-01-09.

The latest Withlacoochee River results still show mostly bad water quality, surprisingly good at the State Line on Wednesday, but bad downstream. The Madison and Hamilton County Health advisory for the Withlacoochee River is still in place.

However, Sasser Landing on the Alapaha River tested OK for Wednesday.

[Bad Withlacoochee, good Alapaha]
Bad Withlacoochee, good Alapaha

The Madison Health Wednesday tests were not as horrible as for Tuesday, but they still got too high at Sullivan Launch (CR 150) and FL 6. Some of that could be from the Quitman or Tifton sewage spills, but probably most of it is from Continue reading

Bad up and down: Withlacoochee River 2021-01-05

Update 2021-01-08: Bad Withlacoochee, OK Alapaha 2021-01-07.

Now with Madison and Hamilton Health advisory.

Monday Valdosta upstream water quality results are bad, and Tuesday Madison Health downstream results are worse. If I were you I would not swim, fish, or boat the Withlacoochee River until better results come in. Plus we have reports that Running Spring on the Suwannee River is brown like it usually is after contamination comes down the Withlacoochee River.

[Bad water quality, bad map on Swim Guide, Withlacoochee River]
Bad water quality, bad map on Swim Guide, Withlacoochee River

Madison and Hamilton Health have issued a joint health advisory.

[Health Advisory, Withlacoochee River]
Health Advisory, Withlacoochee River
PDF

It’s not clear how much of this is due to Tifton’s three weekend sewage spills into the New River and how much is from cattle, pig, and horse manure runoff. Probably mostly the latter. We have ordered some new DNA test kits, but they’re not here yet.

The slightly good news about this sitution is that before the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report and all the new testing by Valdosta, Madison Health, WWALS, and others, this kind of thing may have been going on after every big rain for years, and nobody knew. Also, as Valdosta was quick to point out, at least their Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant did not spill. Maybe the new catch basin helped.

However, it seems like Valdosta could at least fix the potholes in the middle of Mildred Street, where the Saturday spill apparently was. Continue reading

Sewage Spills: Quitman, Valdosta, Tifton 2021-01-03

Update 2021-01-06: Bad up and down: Withlacoochee River 2021-01-05.

Tifton spilled raw sewage three times over the weekend, all into the New River, upstream of the Withlacoochee River. As already reported, Valdosta spilled into Knights Creek, which goes into Mud Swamp Creek, the Alapahoochee River, and the Alapaha River just above Sasser Landing. We have no water quality data downstream of any of those spills.

Plus Quitman finally reported a spill from more than a week ago, but downstream water quality on the Withlacoochee River the next day was actually better than the day before.

However, the big rains in between drove plenty of contamination, probably mostly cow, pig, and horse manure, into the Withlacoochee, with even Madison Health showing too-high E. coli at State Line for December 29, 2020.

The even bigger rains this past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday probably have done the same.

So I’d recommend avoiding not just the Withlacoochee River, but also the Alapaha River for a few days, until better test results come in.

[Spills and little data]
Spills and little data

The one recent datapoint we have is WWALS tester Tasha Ekman LaFace’s record-high for that location 1,333 cfu/100 mL E. coli at Naylor Park Beach on the Alapaha River, just upstream from US 84. But that can’t be from the Valdosta sewage spill, since Naylor Beach is way upstream of the Alapahoochee River Confluence with the Alapaha River. However, Naylor Beach is not a long way downstream from Lakeland, so it will be interesting if we hear about any spills from there. Continue reading

WLRWT Road Signs by GDOT 2020-12-10

Yesterday I picked up some of the signposts for the at-water signs for the water trails. The road signs had just come in, and GDOT let me photograph them. Here are two examples:

[Two examples]
Two examples

That’s more or less how they will look once GDOT plants them on signposts along the roadsides for the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

Pictures of all these new road signs are on the WWALS website:
https://wwals.net/pictures/2020-12-10–wlrwt-road-signs

There are actually two typos, one for which GDOT is reprinting the signs, and another that is not so serious. Can you spot them?

All of these road signs go on the Little River, except this one, which goes on the Withlacoochee River: Continue reading

Horrid quality at GA 133 Friday, but good downstream and Saturday 2020-11-07

2020-11-13: Horrendous water quality at GA 133 & US 84 Wednesday, clean downstream 2020-11-12

Something bad got in the Withlacoochee River between US 41 and GA 133 on Friday: very bad, eleven times the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream alert limit for E. coli. But downstream water quality results by Valdosta Friday at US 84 and by WWALS down to the State Line show nothing unusual. Whatever it was maybe hadn’t gotten that far. Valdosta downstream results for Monday (today) and FDOH results for Tuesday may be interesting.

Once again, nothing at US 41 or GA 133 can be due to last Tuesday’s Tifton spill, because Tifton is on the Little River, and those places are on the Withlacoochee River upstream of the Little River Confluence.

So what caused those very bad GA 133 Valdosta results? It’s hard to avoid thinking somebody dumped into the river. When this phenomenon just started, rumor had it that GA-EPD had found the culprit, which was a private company. If so, there must be more than one, or whoever it was is back at it.

[Many locations]
Many locations

We also have Friday WWALS datapoints for Naylor Beach on the Alapaha River and for Royal Spring on the Suwannee River, both good. Continue reading

Odd water quality upstream, Withlacoochee River 2020-11-04

Update 2020-11-07: Horrid quality at GA 133 Friday, but good downstream and Saturday 2020-11-07

We don’t know what that contamination was upstream Wednesday on the Withlacoochee River at US 41 and GA 133. Rain didn’t cause it, because there was no rain.

We do know it was not the Tuesday Tifton spill, because that was into the Little River, which joins the Withlacoochee River downstream of GA 133.

We can speculate that whatever it was should be reaching the state line about now, or at least Knights Ferry. But we don’t know, because we have no downstream data: neither Valdosta nor Madison Health have reported anything below US 84 since last week, and our usual Thursday testers are out of commission this week.

[Chart and Map]
Chart and Map

So it’s hard to say what Withlacoochee River conditions might be right now.

[What's that?]
What’s that?
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida results, see
https://wwals.net/issues/testing/

Maybe FDEP will report Withlacoochee River results in the morning.

Meanwhile, we did get good news for the Alapaha River Sunday, November 1, 2020, from WWALS tester Renee Kirkland: good quality at Sheboggy (US 82) and Statenville.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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