Tag Archives: US 41

Bad Upstream, Withlacoochee River 2021-07-02

Update 2021-07-06: Tropical Storm Elsa headed up Suwannee River Basin 2021-07-06

Valdosta has published its upstream results for Friday, which showed very bad water quality at US 41, GA 133, and US 84 on the Withlacoochee River.

[Chart, Map]
Chart, Map

There’s been even more rain since then, and more is coming straight at the Suwannee River Basin with Tropical Storm Elsa. Continue reading

Little Rain, Still Clean, Withlacoochee River 2021-04-01

Update 2021-04-10: Clean week, Withlacoochee River 2021-04-08.

The rain came gently Wednesday, and the Withlacoochee River was still clean Thursday, April 1, 2021, no joke.

[Clean results, Withlacoochee River down and up, Swim Guide]
Clean results, Withlacoochee River down and up, Swim Guide

Thanks to WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach for testing Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, and to Gus Cleary for testing at Cleary Bluff below Allen Ramp. All came out zero or within one E. coli colony of zero. Can’t ask for much better than that.

We have no new results from Madison Health since Thursday a week ago, and nothing new from Valdosta since Monday.

So according to the data we have, all from WWALS, happy boating, swimming, and fishing in the Withlacoochee River this weekend, at least if you don’t mind a bit of chill! Continue reading

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

Not looking good, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-16

Update 2021-02-21: Clean downstream Friday Withlacoochee River 2021-02-19.

As usual, heavy rains washed contamination into the Withlacoochee River, first detected by Madison Health Tuesday at State Line and FL 6, although oddly Sullivan Launch @ CR 150 was within the one-time sample limit for E. coli.

[Chart, Gauges, Swim Guide map]
Chart, Gauges, Swim Guide map

The good news: with so much rain, the contamination will probably be diluted and washed downstream rapidly.

The bad news: more rain likely coming. And there’s more cattle manure that can wash down Okapilco Creek into the Withlacoochee River. Plus with the Withlacoochee River rising in Valdosta, and more rain falling on Valdosta and Quitman, will we see manhole sewage spills?

We hope to have WWALS results for today ready by tomorrow (Friday), and most likely FDEP will publish Madison Health results, as well. Possibly even Valdosta will publish their Wednesday results by Friday.

We also have a surprising spot check in Drexel Park, and Valdosta’s last week results, which fit with the Madison Health and WWALS results. Continue reading

Clean Forty Miles, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-04

Update 2021-02-11: Advisory lifted, Withlacoochee River, but big rains Tuesday 2021-02-09.

The Withlacoochee River tested clean at sites forty miles from US 41 to the state line on Thursday, February 4, 2021, in WWALS tests. We have no new data downstream, but chances are it was clean there, too. Plus the Little River at Troupville Boat Ramp was clean. The rains predicted for yesterday and today have been underwhelming, so chances are the Withlacoochee was clean into Florida, too. So according to the data we have, the Withlacoochee River is good for boating, swimming, and fishing at least from US 41 in Valdosta, Georgia, to CR 15 in Florida. Which serves us right, after we rescheduled the big paddle for today until February 27. It’s cold out there, though, and rain is still predicted.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide

However, the bacterial advisory by Madison and Hamilton Health has not been lifted. We now have four clean test results at State Line: WWALS, Valdosta, Madison Health, and WWALS again. But they probably won’t lift the Florida advisory until they get two successive clean test results themselves. Since more rain is predicted most of the coming week, don’t be surprised if they either don’t lift it for more than another week, or lift it and then issue another a few days later.

Thanks to WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach, who got zero E. coli at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, 33 at Nankin, and 133 at State Line Boat Ramp. Only that last one is above the 126 average test limit, and still well below the 410 one-time test limit. Continue reading

Bad Friday after rain, Better Sunday, Withlacoochee River 2021-01-24

Update 2021-01-29: Very bad, health advisory, Withlacoochee River 2021-01-28.

As expected, the big rains Friday caused contamination on the Withlacoochee River, according to Valdosta’s upstream data for US 41, GA 133, and US 84. Everything was clean the day before, both upstream and down. We don’t know about downstream again until I tested Sunday. While Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps were not as clean as we like, they were well within the one-time test limit of 410 cfu/100 mL E. coli. So it appears that if the downstream sites were contaminated Friday, most of that had already washed away in the rest of the rainwater by Sunday.

[KF, Nankin, SL, chart, Swim Guide]
KF, Nankin, SL, chart, Swim Guide

Apparently the Withlacoochee River is clean again, although we do not have many datapoints yet. Be warned more rain is expected today. Continue reading

Clean Withlacoochee 2020-01-14 and Suwannee River tests 2021-01-18

Update 2021-01-26: Bad Friday after rain, Better Sunday, Withlacoochee River 2021-01-24.

Thanks to WWALS testers Jacob and Michael Bachrach, we know the Withlacoochee River at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp was finally low enough to test, and tested good. Ditto Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps, all from Thursday a week ago. This corroborated what Madison Health found at the state line and downstream that same day.

[Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line, chart, Gibson Park, Swim Guide]
Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line, chart, Gibson Park, Swim Guide

Meanwhile, this Monday, Suzy Hall tested Gibson Park Ramp on the Suwannee River, and found it good. The most recent results we have from Valdosta are for upstream Wednesday aweek ago, but those were good for US 41, GA 133, and US 84. I did ask Valdosta yesterday for an update, but so far nothing.

There’s been no significant rain since last week. So, as far as we know, good to go, for boating, swimming, and fishing, in the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers.

The Swim Guide map of WWALS “beaches” now includes Gibson Park Ramp, which, even though it is on the Suwannee River, is the last downstream stop on the WWALS Alapaha River Water Trail.

[Map: Swim Guide]
Map: Swim Guide

The Langdale Park and US 84 “beaches” show up yellow for historically mixed results, because those most recent Valdosta tests at US 41 and US 84 (and GA 31) are now more than a week old. Continue reading

Bad Knights Ferry and Nankin, Christmas Day, Withlacoochee River 2020-12-25

Update 2020-12-29: Bad Nankin, Withlacoochee River 2020-12-28.

Merry Christmas, although this isn’t a preseent anybody would want. Michael and Jacob Bachrach tested Friday after Thursday’s rains, and got really bad results at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp and bad enough at Nankin on the Withlacoochee River. State Line Boat Ramp has probably gotten the contamination washed down there by now, and into Florida.

Meanwhile, last we heard from Valdosta, both US 41 and GA 133 had bad results for Monday after rain last Sunday.

We do have some good results from the Suwannee and Alapaha Rivers from before the Thursday rain. Since there is much less manure upstream on those rivers, chances are they stayed cleaner after the storm, but we have no more recent test results for those.

[Bad water quality, Withlacoochee River]
Bad water quality, Withlacoochee River

The Bachrachs did try to count the E. coli colonies on the Knights Ferry plates, and the result would have been more than 8,000 cfu/100 mL, way above the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream alert limit of 1,000. Yet when the plate background turns purple like that, AAS says to call it TNTC for Too Many to Count. I’d avoid that water. Continue reading

Watch out: contamination washing downstream, Withlacoochee River 2020-12-21

Update 2020-12-27: Bad Knights Ferry and Nankin, Christmas Day, Withlacoochee River 2020-12-25.

Sometimes you hate to be right: the high E. coli WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach saw Thursday at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp turned up for Friday in Valdosta’s results. Probably that contamination washed on down past the state line into Florida over the weekend.

[Watch out: US 41, GA 133, Knights Ferry, Nankin, Withlacoochee River]
Watch out: US 41, GA 133, Knights Ferry, Nankin, Withlacoochee River on Swim Guide.

Plus, after rain Sunday, Valdosta got too-high results at US 41 and GA 133. That’s probably still washing downstream now. Continue reading

Videos: vote for clean water 2020-11-03

From four locations on the Withlacoochee River, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman and WWALS Science Committee Chair Dr. Tom Potter urge you to go vote today for clean water.

[US 41, NSRR, US 84, Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River]
US 41, NSRR, US 84, Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River

At US 41 (North Valdosta Road), at the Norfolk Southern Railroad bridge just downstream from the notorious Sugar Creek, at US 84, downstream from GA 133 where Valdosta often sees high E. coli, and at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, downstream of Okapilco Creek with all those Brooks County dairy cows, we sampled for bacteria and DNA Friday.

Vote for people who will fully fund the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) so they can do some river sampling themselves, and watch over not only Valdosta, but also Quitman, Adel, Tifton, Rochelle, and Ashburn, all of which have spilled sewage into the Suwannee River Basin this year. Maybe then FDEP will be able to do its job, instead of trying to take more tasks from the Army Corps.

Vote for people who will protect the Okefenokee Swamp from strip mining and other threats.

Pick your most important water issue: https://wwals.net/blog/issues/. They could all use elected officials who will support clean water.

We’ve never met anyone who wants to drink dirty water. So please vote for clean water! Continue reading