Tag Archives: utilities

Trash at No Water No Beer 2022-05-07

Update 2022-05-20: Videos: Valdosta Mayor announces first trash trap @ VCC 2022-05-19.

WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman spoke about WWALS at the Valdosta Public Works No Water No Beer festival at Georgia Beer Co.

[Booth, speech, kayak]
Booth, speech, kayak

Here’s the video of Valdosta Public Works Director introducing and WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman speaking. Continue reading

Clean Rivers 2022-01-27

Update 2022-02-04: Clean Rivers 2022-02-03.

Good news! All tests pretty clear for the Little, Alapaha, and Withlacoochee Rivers for Wednesday and Thursday. So if you want to boat, fish, or swim in that cold snap tomorrow, or Sunday, the water quality is good so far as we know, with little E. coli. No rain is predicted until mid-week, so nothing else should wash into the rivers.

Oh, and Ashburn had another sewage spill on January 16th, but it does not seem to have affected Alapaha River water quality.

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

Gus Cleary’s Wednesday test downstream from Allen Ramp at Cleary Bluff was as clean as Valdosta’s upstream tests at US 41, GA 133, and US 84. Thanks to Scott Fowler of Valdosta Utilities for that upstream Wednesday data.

Elizabeth Brunner’s GA 122 tests of Thursday samples at Folsom Bridge on the Little River, Hagan Bridge on the Withlacoochee River, and Lakeland Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River, were also all good. Continue reading

No Valdosta City repair work at chronic sewage spill manhole, Wainwright Drive, Onemile Branch 2021-07-08

Update 2021-07-14: Valdosta Manhole Rehabilitation lists 2021-07-13.

“Doesn’t look good,” WWALS member Scotti Jay summed up the situation at the Wainwright Drive Onemile Branch manhole that spilled yet again in Tropical Storm Elsa. “No lime was put out.”

[Caution, Sewage Spill, Manhole ajar, Wainwright Drive, Onemile Branch, Valdosta, GA]
Caution, Sewage Spill, Manhole ajar, Wainwright Drive, Onemile Branch, Valdosta, GA

This is a manhole at 1212 Wainwright Drive, where Valdosta, Georgia, spilled 37,500 gallons of raw sewage on July 7, 2021, during Tropical Storm Elsa. That’s the same place Valdosta has spilled numerous times before, listing it as 1208 Wainwright Drive, or “1200 block”, including 51,800 gallons 2018-12-14, 166,275 gallons 2018-12-03, 9,800 gallons 2017-01-22, and 90,500 gallons 2016-02-04. That’s a total of 355,875 gallons spilled at that one location.

Is a third of a million gallons of raw sewage not enough for Valdosta to pay attention and fix that location? Will it require a million gallons?

Back on November 11, 2017, Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse joined WWALS on a cleanup of Onemile Branch, including at the bridge in these pictures. He said they were trying to get the number of sewer spills down to zero.

Yet a year later at a Valdosta City Council meeting and then at a SRWMD Board meeting, Director Muse neglected to mention the 218,075 gallons spilled at that location alone in December 2018. In both cases I had to stand up and correct him in public.

SRWMD Board member Virginia Sanchez noted, “You don’t want to swim in a little sewage versus a lot of sewage either. Both of them are bad. A spill is bad.”

When I asked him another year later during one of the Florida dozen-county Valdosta sewage Task Force meetings with the Valdosta City Council when Wainwright Drive would be fixed, Darryl Muse did not recall that location.

Still years more later, Scotti Jay last week observed, “You would be amazed at all the incompetent work being done around the Wainwright location. With no effort whatsoever towards improving the faulty, damaged manhole. Absolutely nothing.”

WS

“Will the City of Valdosta finally repair the most dangerous sewer hole that threatens sewage intrusion. Ask your local government to update the sewer system.” Asked about the sign, Scotti Jay wrote, “it’s just zip tied. But some locations have permanent signs.” Continue reading

Valdosta catching illegal dumpers, and some new management

Valdosta is actively pursuing the culprits ditching trash and dumping fecal waste into the Withlacoochee River, causing repeated spikes at GA 133.

They say they have even caught some.

And Valdosta has promoted two people: Catherine Ammons of Human Resources to Deputy City Manager of Administration, and Richard Hardy of Public Works to Deputy City Manager of Operations. Hardy is still Director of Public Works, but now he’s also over Engineering and Utilities, which also still retain their same Directors.

We don’t know whether these two news items are related. We do know we’re glad Valdosta recognizes that people downstream will continue to think they’re the cause of every Withlacoochee River contamination incident unless they actively find the real culprits.

Don’t worry: we post positive news about Valdosta when there is some, but we continue to watch them and other possible contamination sources like a hawk.

[Cleanups, Deputy City Managers]
Cleanups, Deputy City Managers

Pursuing dumping culprits

Valdosta PR, December 2, 2020, City Stresses Importance of Reporting Illegal Dumping in Local Waterways (see also Valdosta Today), Continue reading

Valdosta sewage spill and Suwannee Riverkeeper on WALB TV 2019-06-22

WALB TV in Albany, Georgia called me while I was at Lafayette Blue Spring on the Suwannee River in Florida, because reporter Ri’Shawn Bassette had read the WWALS report, Sewage spill, Ashley Street, Valdosta, GA 2019-06-19. Later that same day, Friday, WALB carried his story, Valdosta sees manhole sewage overflow.

[No sewage]
No sewage

He had already contacted Valdosta Utilities, which had confirmed it happened, and blamed it on Continue reading

Yes, again, Valdosta WWTP Spill 2018-12-03

When I shared their press release on facebook last night, the best thing I could think of to say was: at least Valdosta told us as it is happening.

But why, Valdosta, why? Seriously, you’re not prepared for rain?

After Hurricane Michael barely missed Valdosta?

After only two months ago Valdosta Utilities assured us all they were prepared?

WWTP creeks, Map
Map: WWALS, Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

And in a rain that submerged US 84 near the Withlacoochee River Bridge and washed out Old Lake Park Road you’re telling us nothing washed from the WWTP down the creek that goes directly to the Withlacoochee River? Continue reading

Videos: Tour of Valdosta WTPs 2018-10-03

Thanks to Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse and staff for the Tour of Valdosta wastewater treatment plants Wednesday. Afterwards, I got them to sit down in a conference room and say again the most important points. They said what they had done to prevent future spills like the big ones this year.

Valdosta staff,
Counterclockwise from front: Utilities Director Darryl Muse, Public Information Officer Ashlyn Becton, Environmental Manager Scott Fowler, Mud Creek WTP Superintendent Mud Creek Stanley K. Martin.

We also elicited Valdosta Utilities’ view on the letter establishing the Middle and Lower Suwannee River and Withlacoochee River Task Force, which was mainly Continue reading

Valdosta water quality testing data 2018-09-12

Here is most of a year’s river water quality testing data from the city of Valdosta, on a Water Reporter map:

Valdosta stations, Map

Click on any of the colored diamonds for graphs. Scroll right to see more graphs. Click on any graph to see every datapoint. Clearly fecal coliform (FCOLI) and E. coli (ECOLI) have significant spikes way beyond the Georgia state limit of 200 cfu/100 ml.

However, as we already saw on the spill followup data map, often, even usually, FCOLI and ECOLI are just as bad or worse upstream Continue reading

Tour of Valdosta wastewater treatment plants 2018-10-03

WWALS will tour Valdosta’s Wastewater Treatment Plants (WTPs). Thanks to Scott Fowler and Director Darryl Muse for the longstanding invitation. WWALS invites you to come, from both Georgia and Florida, especially people downstream on the Withlacoochee, Alapaha, or Suwannee Rivers.

When: 9AM, Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Where: Valdosta Utilties, 1016 Myrtle Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601
The Myrtle Street off of E. Force Street between Troup and Forrest (not the one in Remerton).

Event: facebook, meetup

Valdosta's Mud Creek WTP

Where: We will go to the Withlacoochee WTP next to the Withlacoochee River, and the Mud Creek WTP on Knights Creek, upstream from Mud Creek, the Alapahoochee River, and the Alapaha River. We may go to other points such as force mains or lift stations. If we have time we will also tour Valdosta’s drinking water treatment plant.

Duration: Probably several hours, but should be done by noon.

Free: There is no charge. This tour is primarily for WWALS members, but we won’t turn away anybody else and I doubt Valdosta will, either. We do recommend you join WWALS today.

Why: For why so many people are interested in Valdosta’s WTPs and what Valdosta has done to date, see Valdosta (and other) Wastewater.

This is not a regular WWALS outing or event, but for more WWALS outings and events as they are posted, see the WWALS calendar or the WWALS outings and events web page. WWALS members also get an upcoming list in the Tannin Times newsletter.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Lowndes County sewage spills, July 2018

Regarding rumors that Lowndes County had a spill July 5th, no it didn’t. The spill was July 6th. It was 9,300 gallons of untreated sewage apparently from the same place as the bigger spill last September, which would be on the green line on this map near the green dot at the top, into a drainage ditch that leads to the Withlacoochee River:

VALORGIS Lowndes County Sewer Line, Val Tech Road
VALORGIS Map → Streams Waterbodies plus Utilities Service Areas and Lowndes County Sewer Line.

While that is far fewer gallons than Valdosta spilled in June or in August, Valdosta’s August spill was almost completely treated effluent, while Lowndes County’s was raw sewage. And Valdosta went to some trouble to announce that August spill, to go talk to people about it, and to apologize for it. Lowndes County did none of those things.

And apparently there was a second July spill, according this email received 11 September 2018 from Lowndes County per my request earlier that same day for all Lowndes County spills since Hurricane Irma: Continue reading