Tag Archives: WLRWT

Valdosta, Quitman, and Tifton sewage spills in big rains 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.

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.

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

Valdosta Huntley Drive FOG sewage spill 2024-04-09

Before the recent rains, Valdosta had a sewage spill caused by grease and rags, of about 5,000 gallons into a detention pond on Huntley Drive that drains into Cherry Creek, and then the Withlacoochee River.

This is why you should never put fats, oils, or greases (FOG), or, obviously, rags down your drain.

This spill has not yet shown up on the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report; I have asked GA-EPD about that. However, Tifton and Quitman have two spills each in today’s report.

And Valdosta just announced it had seven spills during the big rain April 11, ranging from 900 gallons to 150,000 gallons. At first glance they seem to have gone into One Mile Branch, Hightower Creek, Sugar Creek, and Three Mile Branch, all leading to the Withlacoochee River. Stay tuned for more.

[Huntley Drive Sewage Spill, Valdosta, GA 2024-04-09, Caused by grease and rags, indirectly into Cherry Creek]
Huntley Drive Sewage Spill, Valdosta, GA 2024-04-09, Caused by grease and rags, indirectly into Cherry Creek
Shown on the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

I compliment the City of Valdosta for a precise location, 4051 Huntley Drive, and for a timely press release, which we received the day after the spill.

Here is the Valdosta press release about the Huntley Drive spill. Continue reading

Cancelled: Withlacoochee River Earth Day Cleanup, Langdale Park Boat Ramp 2024-04-13

“The cleanup for this Saturday April 13 is canceled due to high water and flooding. Please help get the word out,” said Russell Allen McBride.

[Cancelled due to high water, Withlacoochee River Earth Day Cleanup, Langdale Park Boat Ramp, to Troupville 2024-04-13]
Cancelled due to high water, Withlacoochee River Earth Day Cleanup, Langdale Park Boat Ramp, to Troupville 2024-04-13

Yesterday Russell scouted the route from Langdale Park Boat Ramp down the Withlacoochee River past Sugar Creek, and up the Little River to Troupville Boat Ramp. He reported:

“Put in at Langdale Park at about 3:30. Water was over the boat ramp. The road coming in was fine though. I parked shy of the ramp and put in. Most trash is to one side or the other kind of out of the current. From Langdale down to Berta’s it was not super bad. Behind Wood Valley probably was the worse spots. Then the usual spots near Troupeville River camp area. I never had to get out of my kayak the whole way….

“On a positive note. There are more trash cans down at Langdale park and looks like they are chained.”

Continue reading

Trying the 25hp outboard from Troupville Boat Ramp, Little and Withlacoochee Rivers 2024-04-07

Shawn O’Connor and I tried out the 25hp Mercury outboard motor, paid for by a generous grant by Wild Green Future (WGF).

Works great! Electric start: push the button and it starts. Doesn’t even have a manual choke. Electric trim, i.e., tilt. Very useful for adjusting trim for going fast, as well as raising up in low water.

We also chainsawed some limbs that were obstructing passage downstream on the Withlacoochee River and upstream on the Little River. Shawn used my EGO 16″ electric chainsaw, but in case of larger limbs we had with us the 24″ Husqvarna chainsaw paid for by WGF. Also just in case, the 86lb thrust trolling motor and lithium batteries paid for by WGF. Thanks, WGF!

And thanks to Flint Riverkeeper for the jon boat.

Come hear more about chainsaw cleanups at noon today in the WWALS Webinar by Phil Hubbard.

[Trying 25hp outboard, Troupville Boat Ramp, Little and Withlacoochee Rivers, Chainsaw Outing 2024-04-07]
Trying 25hp outboard, Troupville Boat Ramp, Little and Withlacoochee Rivers, Chainsaw Outing 2024-04-07

Fast: Shawn’s GPS speedometer clocked it at 23 mph going upriver, against a 3-5 mph current. Not clear when we need to go that fast, but we can if we have to. Continue reading

Chainsaw Cleanups –Phil Hubbard, WWALS Webinar 2024-04-11

Phil Hubbard, longtime WWALS paddle outings leader, will tell us why he started a series of chainsaw cleanups two years ago.

Does everybody have to saw on a chainsaw cleanup? What else can people do? Who else has been involved? What did we not expect?

Important points, such as: How to order pizza with a chainsaw, and how to tattoo your chainsaw bar. Also: maybe wrap up before dark.

[WWALS Chainsaw Cleanups, Phil Hubbard, WWALS Webinar 2024-04-11, Withlacoochee River, Suwannee River, and soon others]
WWALS Chainsaw Cleanups, Phil Hubbard, WWALS Webinar 2024-04-11, Withlacoochee River, Suwannee River, and soon others

Have we finally accomplished the initial goals after 17 or 18 chainsaw cleanups?

Have they all been on two stretches of the Withlacoochee River? Nope, also downstream on the Withlacoochee and on the Suwannee River. Where to chainsaw cleanup next: maybe on the Santa Fe River in Florida, or the Alapaha River or the Little River.

This webinar will be by zoom, noon-1 PM, Thursday, April 11, 2024.

Register in advance with zoom for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUpdeyqrT4rH91Y0CaBM7TxVd2WoIblH5Vj

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

WWALS Board President Sara Jay Jones will give a brief introduction, Phil will speak for about 45 minutes, and we will have questions and answers.

“I think I’m the only one who has been on every chainsaw cleanup, Continue reading

Video: Raffle drawing for Eddyline Kayak 2024-04-03

Chuck Roberts drew the winning ticket yesterday for the Eddyline Sandpiper kayak, paddle, PFD, lock, and straps.

This one is slightly used. New, a 12-foot Eddyline kayak lists for $1,749.00.

Since there were only 30 $100 raffle tickets, each ticket had a 1 in 30 chance of winning.

[Drawing the winner, Eddyline Kayak Raffle, Troupville Boat Ramp, Little River 2024-04-03]
Drawing the winner, Eddyline Kayak Raffle, Troupville Boat Ramp, Little River 2024-04-03

Gretchen Quarterman fired up the zoom from her desk.

Here’s the zoom video: https://youtu.be/VXzBV0jhd2Y

At Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River, Chuck Roberts first talked about the WWALS River Revue sit-down fundraising dinner, Saturday, September 7, 2024, at the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta. Chuck is the M.C.
https://wwals.net/pictures/songwriting2024/

The Revue includes the seventh annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest. Song submissions are open now:
https://wwals.net/?p=64497

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman talked about upcoming outings.
https://wwals.net/outings

Including, coming up next Saturday, Continue reading

Drawing the winner at Troupville Boat Ramp, for the Eddyline Kayak Raffle 2024-04-03

Update 2024-04-04: Video: Raffle drawing for Eddyline Kayak 2024-04-03.

Since all 30 tickets are taken, Chuck Roberts will draw the winning ticket this Wednesday noon-thirty, for the Eddyline Sandpiper kayak, paddle, PFD, lock, and straps.

[Chuck Roberts will draw the winner, at Troupville Boat Ramp, for the Eddyline Sandpiper kayak, 12:30 PM, Wednesday, April 3, 2024]
Chuck Roberts will draw the winner, at Troupville Boat Ramp, for the Eddyline Sandpiper kayak, 12:30 PM, Wednesday, April 3, 2024

This one is slightly used. New, a 12-foot Eddyline kayak lists for $1,749.00.

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman will bring the box of 30 raffle tickets to Troupville Boat Ramp.

Gretchen Quarterman will fire up the zoom from her desk.

Chuck Roberts will draw the winner, announce the name, and then call the winner to inform them.

If you attend in person and you win, you can carry the kayak home with you.

If you attend by zoom or not at all, we will discuss with you how to get you the kayak.

Thanks to everyone who got tickets! That helps Continue reading

Withlacoochee River Earth Day Cleanup, Langdale Park Boat Ramp 2024-04-13

Update 2024-04-11: Cancelled: Withlacoochee River Earth Day Cleanup, Langdale Park Boat Ramp 2024-04-13.

Come help clean up trashjams, while encouraging Valdosta to stop trash from getting into the river.

The Global Earth Day theme for 2024 is Our Planet Versus Plastics. The City of Valdosta seems unaware of the environmental harm plastics cause while they are breaking down into micro-plastics. Styrofoam and other plastics are not just an eyesore. These plastics from Valdosta entering the watershed are breaking down and getting into all aspects of the environment. Animals eat them, and cannot digest them.

We thank Valdosta Stormwater for picking the trash up recently at the Baytree Road train trestle on Sugar Creek. But what is the city’s plan to keep trash from getting into Sugar Creek, for example from the detention pond at Baytree Road? There needs to be a plan.

We do thank Valdosta City Marshalls for sending notices to parking lot owners, and citations if they still do not follow Valdosta’s trash ordinances that require parking lot owners or managers to keep trash from escaping, no matter where it came from, and to strategically place trash cans according to the number of parking spaces.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, end 2 PM, Saturday, April 13, 2024

Put In: Langdale Park Boat Ramp, 3781 N. Valdosta Rd., Valdosta, GA 31602.

GPS: 30.88747, -83.32395

[Withlacoochee River, Earth Day Cleanup 2024-04-13, Langdale Park Boat Ramp, to Troupville Boat Ramp]
Withlacoochee River, Earth Day Cleanup 2024-04-13, Langdale Park Boat Ramp, to Troupville Boat Ramp

Continue reading

Ashburn and Rochelle sewage spills 2024-03-09

Update 2024-03-29: Rain and river contamination 2024-03-28.

Yes, there was a lot of rain on March 9, 2024, but 315,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled by Ashburn into two river watersheds seems a bit much.

And we finally got a report of the Rochelle Sook Road spill of that same day, of 10,000 gallons into a ditch that went into Reynolds Creek and from there into the Alapaha River.

[Rochelle and Ashburn spills and maps]
Rochelle and Ashburn spills and maps

On March 9 I reported that Continue reading

Pictures: Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02

The weather held off and 42 paddlers had a good time on the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle from Langdale Park Boat Ramp down the Withlacoochee River, around the Little River Confluence, and up to Troupville Boat Ramp. Only a few people fell in, and they were good sports. The City Manager needs a bigger boat.

[Mayor and Chairman's Paddle, Withlacoochee River, 2024-03-02]
Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River, 2024-03-02

Those who got out after three miles at Sugar Creek got to see the WaterGoat trash trap purchased by the City of Valdosta and cleaned out by volunteer Russell Allen McBride and family, which keeps much trash out of the river.

The remaining four miles went under the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge, past Wood Valley Subdivision and Sheri Run, and the I-75 and GA 133 highway bridges. Many deadfalls (fallen dead trees) previously sawed out of the way by numerous WWALS Chainsaw Cleanups were visible. Outings leader Phil Hubbard sawed through a remaining deadfall during the paddle.

Paddlers saw all the river frontage of the land recently purchased by Lowndes County for Troupville River Camp and Nature Park. Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman used the jon boat with 9.9hp outboard paid for by a grant from Wild Green Future (WGF) to saw several deadfalls off the Withlacoochee River. Then he towed five paddlers and five boats from the Confluence to Troupville Boat Ramp, including Outing Sweep Phil Royce towing City Manager Richard Hardy’s to-small bad-seat boat. The City Manager walked from the Confluence to the boat ramp.

Thanks to Phil Hubbard for leading this outing, and Phil Royce and Russell Allen McBride for being sweep.

Thanks to them and Gretchen Quarterman and others for helping people over rough spots and to Gretchen for making sure everybody was signed in on the WWALS insurance waiver.

Thanks to Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson and Lowndes County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter and their staffs.

Thanks to Joe Brownlee and Georgia Power for the grant that kept entry for paddlers free and paid for the Port-A-Potties.

Thanks to the Boys & Girls Club for the shuttle van.

Thanks to VSU CORE for bringing boats and student paddlers.

Thanks to everyone who helped on the numerous chainsaw cleanups, including Bobby McKenzie, Shawn O’Connor, Russell Allen McBride, Phil Royce from Live Oak, Florida, Gary Koch from Ocala, Florida, and especially Phil Hubbard.

Plus anybody else I have forgotten to mention.

I would mention everybody who has been involved in improving the trash and sewage situations, but this post would be very long.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

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