Tag Archives: Tom Potter

PFAS in fish in Alapaha River 2023-01-17

Largemouth bass caught in the Alapaha River at Statenville Boat Ramp had high concentrations of PFAS forever chemicals.

EWG summarizes the risk:

Eating just one PFAS-contaminated freshwater fish per month could be the equivalent of drinking a glass of water with very high levels of PFOS or other forever chemicals.

[Map and data: PFAS in fish in Alapaha River --EWG 2023-01-17]
Map and data: PFAS in fish in Alapaha River –EWG 2023-01-17 Sample taken: 2014. Source: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO), PFAS National Datasets, Ambient Environmental Sampling for PFAS. Available here.

EWG, January 17, 2023, ‘Forever chemicals’ in freshwater fish: Mapping a growing environmental justice problem EPA data reveal high levels of PFAS in fish and human exposure risks,

What does this map show?

From coast to coast, and in almost every state in the U.S., high levels of the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS contaminate freshwater fish. The potential harm is not limited to fish, but the pollution poses health risks to communities that catch and eat the fish.

This map, based on data from the Environmental Protection Agency, confirms the detection of PFAS at alarming levels Continue reading

Forever chemical residue can even be in your house lot 2022-11-27

That house you bought may come with forever chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which can harm human (and wildlife) health in many ways.

Florida permits shipping sewage sludge from south Florida to north Florida for agricultural fertilizer. It’s not clear how prevalent the same practice is in Georgia. But from fields it can wash into waterways, and subdivisions may be built on fields that had sludge applied.

[Human health, house PFAS sources]
Human health, house PFAS sources

Marina Schauffler, The Main Monitor, November 27, 2022, Forever exposure, forever anxiety: Coping with the inescapable toxicity of PFAS: Found in water, air, soil, food, consumer products and work settings, “forever chemicals” pose risks to both physical health and mental well-being.

At the end of Joy Road in Fairfield, a steep dead-end road climbs a hillside to a scattering of homes with distant mountain views and some of the higher concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) the state has found to date in groundwater. The neighbors here live under what one resident, Nathan Saunders, called the “cloud of an unknown future,” fearing how PFAS exposure may erode their health.

Continue reading

PFAS contamination may be much more widespread than previously known 2022-10-12

A new model indicates sources of PFAS “forever chemicals” may be much more widespread than usually thought.

[Presumptive Contamination Sites (n=57,412), Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2022, 9, 11, 983-990]
Presumptive Contamination Sites (n=57,412), Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2022, 9, 11, 983-990

That model was published while Waterkeeper Alliance was working up the report on the nationwide PFAS sampling, including the Suwannee Riverkeeper results on the Withlacoochee River in Georgia and Florida.

Presumptive Contamination: A New Approach to PFAS Contamination Based on Likely Sources, Derrick Salvatore, Kira Mok, Kimberly K. Garrett, Grace Poudrier, Phil Brown, Linda S. Birnbaum, Gretta Goldenman, Mark F. Miller, Sharyle Patton, Maddy Poehlein, Julia Varshavsky, and Alissa Cordner, Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2022, 9, 11, 983-990.

Abstract

While research and regulatory attention to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has increased exponentially in recent years, data are uneven and incomplete about the scale, scope, and severity of PFAS releases and resulting contamination in the United States. This paper argues that in the absence of high-quality testing data, PFAS contamination can be presumed around three types of facilities: (1) fluorinated aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) discharge sites, (2) certain industrial facilities, and (3) sites related to PFAS-containing waste. While data are incomplete on all three types of presumptive PFAS contamination sites, we integrate available geocoded, nationwide data sets into a single map of presumptive contamination sites in the United States, identifying 57,412 sites of presumptive PFAS contamination: 49,145 industrial facilities, 4,255 wastewater treatment plants, 3,493 current or former military sites, and 519 major airports. This conceptual approach allows governments, industries, and communities to rapidly and systematically identify potential exposure sources.

Why should we care? Continue reading

EPA gives Florida 12 months to fix its water quality standards 2022-12-05

This month the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required the State of Florida to update its water quality standards within twelve months, or EPA will do it instead.

This is an outcome WWALS and other Florida Waterkeepers have been pursuing since at least 2016, before we got the Suwannee Riverkeeper license and before the formation of Waterkeepers Florida.

[Determination, Map]
Determination, Map

Douglas Soule and James Call, Tallahassee Democrat, December 5, 2022 (updated December 7, 2022), EPA: Florida must change water quality standards to protect citizens’ health

TALLAHASSEE — The United States Environmental Protection Agency has determined that Florida’s antiquated water quality standards do not go far enough in protecting its citizens — particularly those who consume fish — from pollutants and adverse health effects.

Continue reading

Geology in …the Real Florida ℠ – Big Shoals State Park –FGS 2022-11-17

WWALS Science Committee Chair Dr. Tom Potter found in the November 2022 issue of FGS News and Research this article: Geology in …the Real Florida ℠ – Big Shoals State Park

[Upstream and Downstream, Big Shoals, Suwannee River, FGS]
Upstream and Downstream, Big Shoals, Suwannee River, FGS

Over a length of nearly 600 feet, the Suwannee River loses 10 feet of elevation. That’s 1 foot down for every 60 linear feet as one travels downriver. Though this may not sound like much, Continue reading

PFAS testing, Withlacoochee River, Georgia and Florida 2022-06-30

Update 2022-10-18: Forever chemicals contaminate Withlacoochee River in Georgia and Florida 2022-10-18.

Update 2022-07-03: Withlacoochee River OK water quality except GA 133 2022-07-02.

WWALS Science Committee Chair Dr. Tom Potter and I took PFAS samples at four locations on the Withlacoochee River Thursday.

We shipped the samples to Cyclopure, a company with which Waterkeeper Alliance got a deal for test kits for all U.S. Waterkeepers.

We picked Thursday because it was after big rains Wednesday, reported in some places nearby as up to four inches. So if any of those forever chemicals were washing off of fields fertilized with biosolids, or coming out of Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, or just left over from Moody Air Force Base’s spills it documented in 2016, maybe we will detect them.

[PFAS testing and locations]
PFAS testing and locations

Suwannee Riverkeeper got two kits: for Georgia and Florida. Each kit has two test sets, for upstream and downstream of likely contamination sources. Continue reading

Lowering the boom at Sugar Creek 2022-01-23

Update 2022-01-31: Another trash boom across Sugar Creek 2022-01-30.

Maybe this will catch some trash before it floats down Sugar Creek to the Withlacoochee River.

[Boom and preparations]
Boom and preparations

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman and WWALS Science Committee Chair Dr. Tom Potter brought some 3/4-inch sissel rope and 4-inch flexible drain pipe down to Sugar Creek at the bottom of the Salty Snapper property off Gornto Road, and turned it into a boom across the creek.

For why we did this, see Sugar Creek Trash 2022-01-15. Continue reading

Report chemical constituents for forensic PFAS source identification –WWALS to U.S. EPA 2021-09-27

We requested much more labeling of chemical constituents of PFAS “forever chemicals”, to enable tracking PFAS contamination to its sources, when U.S. EPA held a public comment period about a PFAS rule.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution brought this problem to our attention back in 2018, due to PFAS contamination from all three Air Force bases in Georgia, plus it turns out the Florida Fire College in Ocala. There are probably many more sources, including biosolids dried out from human wastes and used as fertilizer.

[Map, Letter]
Map, Letter

WWALS letter to EPA

See also the PDF.

The WWALS letter references a St. Johns Riverkeeper letter, co-signed by Waterkeepers Florida (including Suwannee Riverkeeper). PDF. Continue reading

Pictures: Juneteenth @ Reed Bingham State Park Lake with Macedonia Community Foundation 2021-06-19

Fannie Gibbs of Macedonia Community Foundation invited WWALS to their Juneteenth celebration at Reed Bingham State Park Lake. So we took boats and volunteers and got people in boats on the lake.

Including Fannie, in a boat, with a paddle, in the rain!

[Juneteenth at Reed Bingham State Park Lake with Macedonia Community Foundation and Suwannee Riverkeeper]
Juneteenth at Reed Bingham State Park Lake with Macedonia Community Foundation and Suwannee Riverkeeper

Thanks especially to Fannie Gibbs for inviting WWALS. We will keep writing joint grant proposals until we get some funded for boating and swimming lessons, historical research, and paddle outings designed around African-American waterway history. Meanwhile, we will keep doing things like this anyway. Continue reading

Withlacoochee advisory lifted; more FDEP DNA marker and chemical tracer data 2021-01-12

Update 2021-01-21: Clean Withlacoochee 2020-01-14 and Suwannee River tests 2021-01-18.

It’s lifted: the bacterial advisory from Madison and Hamilton Health Departments, because of two successive good sets of results from Madison Health on the Withlacoochee River, the lastest for Tuesday. And Valdosta got good results upstream for Monday. All of which corroborates the Thursday Madison Health, Friday Valdosta, and Saturday WWALS results.

[Lifted, Chart, Markers, Map]
Lifted, Chart, Markers, Map

We also have more DNA marker data from FDEP, for Wednesday, January 6, 2021, which shows continued high ruminant DNA marker results on the Withlacoochee River, this time for Horn Bridge at the State Line, plus CR 150 at Sullivan Launch, and FL 6 just above Madison Blue Spring. Plus some clarifications of what I wrote in the previous blog post.

Before we get into all that, happy boating, swimming, and fishing on the Withlacoochee River! Continue reading