Tag Archives: WWTP

Trash boom good; more needed –Suwannee Riverkeeper @ VCC 2022-06-23

Fixing Valdosta’s trash problem would cost far less than a single sewer line. Thanks for starting by putting in one trash boom; thanks especially to Council Andy Gibbs and Mayor Scott James, who have come and helped clean up on Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River.

Now what’s the plan to clean that one out? When will we see the other two or more trash booms? And where’s the plan to get businesses to stop trash upstream at the source?

[Valdosta Mayor and Council, trash boom, Holly Street]
Valdosta Mayor and Council, trash boom, Holly Street

At their meeting last Thursday, I thanked Valdosta Mayor and Council Continue reading

Groundwater considered important: WWALS to EPA 2022-02-07

WWALS sent EPA some comments on groundwater, which is very important here above the Floridan Aquifer in south Georgia and north Florida.

WWALS also signed on to comments by Waterkeeper Alliance and SELC, but SELC wrote almost nothing about groundwater, and there was more to say than was in the WKA comments. Those other comments are on the WWALS website.

The WWALS comments should appear on regulations.gov, Docket number EPA-HQ-OW-2021-0602, with Comment Tracking Number kzd-8bdc-p6xf, after EPA finishes reviewing it. Here they are in PDF and inline below.

[Dead River Sink, Alapaha River Rise, WWALS Letter to EPA]
Dead River Sink, Alapaha River Rise, WWALS Letter to EPA

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Valdosta passes resolution opposing strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp 2021-11-11

Yesterday the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin passed a resolution opposing the proposed Twin Pines Minerals (TPM) strip mine or any others within ten miles of the Okefenokee Swamp. The resolution further asks the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reverse its abdication of oversight, asks GA-EPD for a moratorium on all mining permits until effects are settled of the recent court overruling of 2020 Clean Water Act changes, as well as to reject the TPM permits, or at least to review those applications as thoroughly as the Army Corps would, and asks the Georgia legislature to prevent such strip mines near the Swamp or any blackwater rivers in the Suwannee River Basin.

You can also ask the state to stop this mine: https://wwals.net/?p=55092

[Mayor and Riverkeeper]
Mayor and Riverkeeper

Continue reading

Pictures: Troupville to Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River, Mayor’s Paddle 2021-03-27

Third scheduled time was the charm for the Second Annual Mayor’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River, Troupville Boat Ramp to Spook Bridge. In addition to the nice writeup in the Valdosta Daily Times, here are some pictures. Only two or three people capsized, nobody was mad, and everybody had a good time.

[Troupville Boat Ramp, WWTP Outfall, Spring Branch, Lunch banners, Spook Bridge Landing, VSU CORE, Ride]
Troupville Boat Ramp, WWTP Outfall, Spring Branch, Lunch banners, Spook Bridge Landing, VSU CORE, Ride

The 2022 version will be the Chairman and Mayor’s Paddle, coming up Saturday, January 29, 2021 2022. Stay tuned. Update 2021-10-28: Chairman and Mayor’s Paddle: Troupville to Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River, 2022-01-29.

Thanks to The Langdale Company for access at the lunch spot and at Spook Bridge. Thanks to the Boys and Girls Club for shuttling. Thanks to Steve Miller for his ATV for shuttling people up from the river at Spook Bridge to the road. Thanks to Bobby McKenzie for leading the outing.

We found some landmarks, such as where the Valdosta, Moultrie, and Western (VMW) Railroad used to cross the Withlacoochee River. Continue reading

Valdosta Mayor supports Recreational redesignation of rivers 2021-06-30

Maybe this letter will help GA-EPD to upgrade our waterways from Fishing to Recreational for tighter standards on contaminants.

[Water Trails, Mayor's Paddle, cleanups, $100 million sewer improvements, Troupville River Camp]
Water Trails, Mayor’s Paddle, cleanups, $100 million sewer improvements, Troupville River Camp
PDF

Letter, Valdosta Mayor to GA-EPD

Continue reading

Water level reschedule: Mayor’s paddle, Withlacoochee River 2021-03-27

Valdosta, Georgia, February 25, 2021 — “We’re rescheduling four weeks later, for 8AM, Saturday, March 27, 2021,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Right now, where we usually park the boats at the end of the paddle is under water. The Withlacoochee River is spread out in the flood plain, increasing possibility of people getting tipped over by overhanging branches. So a month later makes a lot more sense for attracting novice paddlers.”

[Spook Bridge this week and last year]
Spook Bridge this week and last year
Spook Bridge almost 20 feet different.
Photos: John S. Quarterman 2021-02-23 at 107.5′ NAVD88 or above sea level (24′ above the riverbed),
Gretchen Quarterman 2020-01-18 at 88′ NAVD88 (4.5′).

“With the Withlacoochee River still hovering around flood stage, myself and WWALS, in consultation with Lowndes County Emergency Management Director Ashley Tye, have decided to postpone the Mayor’s Paddle ’till Saturday, March 27, at 8AM. We again ask everyone with a love for our area blueways to mark that date and join us for a great day of fellowship on the river!”

“As always, I will give a good safety briefing, ” said expedition leader Bobby McKenzie. “Wear your PFD and stick with the group. But conditions should be much better for novice paddlers in a few weeks.”

“Better safe than sorry!” said WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman. “This Saturday you can still come to our Banks Lake Full Moon Paddle, to see the sun set and the moon rise, and maybe see bats fly out. Gather at 5:45 PM at Banks Lake Boat Ramp, 307 Georgia 122, Lakeland, GA 31635, in Lanier County. We do those every full moon, plus at least one daytime river paddle a month, in Florida or Georgia. At all outings during this pandemic, we’ll be testing temperatures with an infrared thermometer as people arrive. If you’re ill in any way, please stay home.”

When: Gather 8 AM, launch 10 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, March 27, 2021

Put In: Troupville Boat Ramp, 19664 Valdosta Hwy, Valdosta, GA 31602: on GA 133 off I-75 exit 18, in Lowndes County.

GPS: 30.851842, -83.346536

Directions: Head west from Valdosta on GA 133 (St. Augustine Road), cross I-75 and the Withlacoochee River, and at the light for Val Tech Road turn left into the park around Troupville Boat Ramp.

Come as early as 8 AM to Troupville Boat Ramp, drop off your boats, and drive to Spook Bridge. Two 15-seat vans provided by the Boys & Girls Club will shuttle you back to Troupville. “We’re happy to do this,” said Bill Holt, VP of Operations, Boys & Girls Club of Valdosta. “Just remember to wear your mask and sit with social distancing.”

Take Out: Spook Bridge, west from Valdosta on US 84, left onto Ousley Road, right onto Old Quitman Highway, stop at the gate.
Thanks to The Langdale Company for access through their private property to Spook Bridge and to a midway lunch stop for this outing, and for water quality testing.

“Speaking of river access, some of you are aware that it’s a long walk up from the Withlacoochee River below Spook Bridge to Old Quitman Highway. Not to worry: when we do this paddle, WWALS will have a 16-foot trailer to haul boats and a golf cart for people who don’t want to walk the quarter mile up to the road. At the midpoint, we will also have a truck and trailer waiting to haul out the (few, we hope) people who want to get out there. Thanks again to The Langdale Company for access to both places,” said WWALS member Steve Miller, who is supplying the golf cart.

“All elected officials present, both from Florida and Georgia, will have three minutes each to speak, both at the put-in and at the midway point,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Don’t worry: only a few of them will. But you can paddle up to them and ask questions. Just remember to stay six feet apart. Wear a mask if you get any closer to anybody not in your party, either on land or water.” added Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Take a look at the signs by the boat ramp for the WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail. They show the whole trail and what you can expect to see near Troupville Boat Ramp.”

The paddle starts at the site of historic Troupville, the Lowndes County seat before Valdosta. The entrance road is the old north-south Broad Street of Troupville, which continues into the woods. That greatly simplifies planning for the future Troupville River Park. Paddling a few thousand feet, we come to the Little River Confluence with the WIthlacoochee, with its view of rivers in three directions. The Confluence is in the private Land Between the Rivers (LBTR), which you can help become part of Troupville River Park. Just upstream on the Withlacoochee is the future site of a paddle boat take-out for Troupville River Camp, with screened-in sleeping platforms and bathrooms with hot and cold running water and air conditioning. Paddle on down the Withlacoochee River and see the turtles, birds, fish, and cypress and pine trees.

The clean water outfall from Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) makes an impressive waterfall. Valdosta now tests three times a week on forty river miles from US 41 to the state line, which is one big way we know the river is clean from E. coli most of the time, along with twice-weekly downstream testing by Madison Health in Florida, and tests by WWALS, plus occasional bacterial tests and DNA marker and chemical tracer data from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. WWALS will also test the water quality from the river the Thursday before the paddle. See https://wwals.net/issues/testing/

We will pass several creeks, and the notorious Sabal Trail methane pipeline. If the river stays up somewhat, we will float right over County Line Shoals, just upstream from US 84. Just below US 84 is a railroad bridge, and around the last bend is Spook Bridge, so famous it has its own movie. We take out on the left bank just below the bridge.

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay the $10 at the outing, or online:
https://wwals.net/donations/#outings

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Event: facebook, meetup Continue reading

Rescheduled: Mayor’s Paddle, Troupville to Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-27

Valdosta, Georgia, February 5, 2021 — “Out of an abundance of caution, all the organizers agree on rescheduling the Mayor’s Paddle because of thunderstorms predicted for this Saturday, February 6, 2021,” said WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman.

“We don’t want to risk inexperienced paddlers in this kind of weather,” said expedition leader Bobby McKenzie, who made the decision to postpone. He added, “The new date is Saturday, February 27, 2021.“

“We want to send a positive message about paddling, and the weather this weekend does not work for that, so we’re going for three weeks from now. I am still excited to partner with WWALS to hold the Mayors Paddle,”said Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson. “In the past year we have made huge improvements to our sewer system infrastructure, showing our commitment to preventing any issues that may impact our Withlacoochee River. I invite everyone to come out and join us for a day of fellowship on the river!”

“WWALS is happy to welcome everyone to this one of our many paddles. We have at least one daytime river paddle a month, in Florida or Georgia, plus an evening Full Moon paddle at Banks Lake, near Lakeland, GA. We’ll be testing temperatures with an infrared thermometer as people arrive,” said WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman. “If you’re ill in any way, please stay home.”

[Troupville Boat Ramp, WWTP Outfall, midpoint, Spook Bridge]
Troupville Boat Ramp, WWTP Outfall, midpoint, Spook Bridge
Photos: Gretchen Quarterman for WWALS 2020-01-18

When: Gather 8 AM, launch 10 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, February 27, 2021

Put In: Troupville Boat Ramp, 19664 Valdosta Hwy, Valdosta, GA 31602: on GA 133 off I-75 exit 18, in Lowndes County.

GPS: 30.851842, -83.346536

Directions: Head west from Valdosta on GA 133 (St. Augustine Road), cross I-75 and the Withlacoochee River, and at the light for Val Tech Road turn left into the park around Troupville Boat Ramp.

Come as early as 8 AM to Troupville Boat Ramp, drop off your boats, and drive to Spook Bridge. Two 15-seat vans provided by the Boys & Girls Club will shuttle you back to Troupville. “We’re happy to do this,” said Bill Holt, VP of Operations, Boys & Girls Club of Valdosta. “Just remember to wear your mask and sit with social distancing.”

Take Out: Spook Bridge, west from Valdosta on US 84, left onto Ousley Road, right onto Old Quitman Highway, stop at the gate.
Thanks to The Langdale Company for access through their private property to Spook Bridge and to a midway lunch stop for this outing, and for water quality testing.

“With the rains today, and 24-hour test incubation period, nobody can test the river again before a paddle this Saturday, but we’ll have plenty of time before the last Saturday of February,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “It was not even clear Outhouse Port-A-Potties could even get to the midpoint to deposit a potty, much less get it back out after rains tomorrow, but conditions should be better in three weeks.”

“Speaking of river access, it’s a long walk up from the Withlacoochee River below Spook Bridge to Old Quitman Highway. Not to worry: WWALS will have a 16-foot trailer to haul boats and a golf cart for people who don’t want to walk the quarter mile up to the road. At the midpoint, we will also have a truck and trailer waiting to haul out the (few, we hope) people who want to get out there.” said WWALS member Steve Miller, who is supplying the golf cart.

“All elected officials present, both from Florida and Georgia, will have three minutes each to speak, both at the put-in and at the midway point,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Don’t worry: only a few of them will. But you can paddle up to them and ask questions. Just remember to stay six feet apart. Wear a mask if you get any closer to anybody not in your party, either on land or water.”

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay the $10 at the outing, or online:
https://wwals.net/donations/#outings

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Event: facebook, meetup

Suwannee Riverkeeper added, “Take a look at the signs by the boat ramp for the WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail. They show the whole trail and what you can expect to see near Troupville Boat Ramp.”

The paddle starts at the site of historic Troupville, the Lowndes County seat before Valdosta. The entrance road is the old north-south Broad Street of Troupville, which continues into the woods. That greatly simplifies planning for the future Troupville River Park. Paddling a few thousand feet, we come to the Little River Confluence with the WIthlacoochee, with its view of rivers in three directions. The Confluence is in the private Land Between the Rivers (LBTR), which you can help become part of Troupville River Park. Just upstream on the Withlacoochee is the future site of a paddle boat take-out for Troupville River Camp, with screened-in sleeping platforms and bathrooms with hot and cold running water and air conditioning. Paddle on down the Withlacoochee River and see the turtles, birds, fish, and cypress and pine trees.

The clean water outfall from Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) makes an impressive waterfall. Valdosta now tests three times a week on forty river miles from US 41 to the state line, which is one big way we know the river is clean from E. coli most of the time, along with twice-weekly downstream testing by Madison Health in Florida, and tests by WWALS, plus occasional bacterial tests and DNA marker and chemical tracer data from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. WWALS will also test the water quality from the river the Thursday before the paddle. See
https://wwals.net/issues/testing/

We will pass several creeks, and the notorious Sabal Trail methane pipeline. If the river stays as high as seems likely, we will float right over County Line Shoals, just upstream from US 84. Just below US 84 is a railroad bridge, and around the last bend is Spook Bridge, so famous it has its own movie. We take out on the left bank just below the bridge.

Paddle distance: 11 river miles

Paddle duration: 6 hours; or much less, if the river is high and fast.

Expedition leader: Bobby McKenzie: do what he says for safety and enjoyment.

Backup: In case of weather or high or low water is Saturday, March 13, 2021.

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.

About WWALS: Founded in June 2012, WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, Santa Fe, and Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities. John S. Quarterman is the Suwannee Riverkeeper®, which is a staff position and a project of WWALS as the member of Waterkeeper® Alliance for the Suwannee River Basin.

Contact: John S. Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper
WWALS Watershed Coalition

[WWALS Logo]

contact@suwanneeriverkeeper.org
850-290-2350
229-242-0102
https://wwals.net/
PO Box 88, Hahira, GA 31632
Ashlyn Johnson, Public Information Officer
City of Valdosta

Logo, City of Valdosta

ajohnson@valdostacity.com
229-259-3548
www.valdostacity.com

===

Postponed: Second Annual Mayor’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-06

Update 2021-02-05 Rescheduled: Mayor’s Paddle, Troupville to Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-27.

Valdosta, Georgia, February 5, 2021 — “Out of an abundance of caution, all the organizers are agreed that we are postponing the Mayor’s Paddle due to predicted thunderstorms for tomorrow, Saturday, February 6, 2021,” said WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman.

“We don’t want to risk inexperienced paddlers in this kind of weather,” said expedition leader Bobby McKenzie, who made the decision to postpone. He added, “The reschedule dates we are considering are Saturday, February 27, and Saturday, March 13. Stay tuned for more on that.“

“We want to send a positive message about paddling, and the weather this weekend does not work for that,” said Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson, who had already reached the same conclusion. Bill Holt of Valdosta Boys & Girls Club concurs.

“Plus with rain today and 24-hour test incubation period, nobody can test the river again before a Saturday paddle,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. WWALS President Tom H. Johnson Jr. agreed.

“Yes, we may all look silly if the weather clears tomorrow, but we’d rather look silly than risk people paddling in a thunderstorm,” added WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman.

“There’s also a river access issue. With the rains today, it was not clear Outhouse Port-A-Potties could even get to the midpoint to deposit a potty, much less get it back out after rains tomorrow,” added Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.

[Boats on trailer]
Boats on trailer

“Speaking of river access, some of you are aware that it’s a long walk up from the Withlacoochee River below Spook Bridge to Old Quitman Highway. Not to worry: Continue reading

Start earlier for shuttle: Second Annual Mayor’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-06

Update 2021-02-05 Rescheduled: Mayor’s Paddle, Troupville to Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-27.

Valdosta, Georgia, February 1, 2021 — Shuttling is difficult during a pandemic, but we’ve found a way. Come as early as 8 AM, Saturday, February 6, 2021, to Troupville Boat Ramp, drop off your boats, and drive to Spook Bridge. Two 15-seat vans provided by the Boys & Girls Club will shuttle you back to Troupville. “We’re happy to do this,” said Bill Holt, VP of Operations, Boys & Girls Club of Valdosta. “Just remember to wear your mask and sit with social distancing.”

Valdosta Mayor Scott James said, “I am excited to partner with WWALS to hold the Mayors Paddle on February 6. In the past year we have made huge improvements to our sewer system infrastructure, showing our commitment to preventing any issues that may impact our Withlacoochee River. I invite everyone to come out and join us for a day of fellowship on the river!”

“WWALS is happy to welcome everyone to this one of our many paddles. We have at least one daytime river paddle a month, in Florida or Georgia, plus an evening Full Moon paddle at Banks Lake, near Lakeland, GA. We’ll be testing temperatures with an infrared thermometer as people arrive,” said WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman. “If you’re ill in any way, please stay home.”

[Joe Brownlee at rest stop]
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, January 18, 2021: Mayor at the midpoint.

WWALS President Tom H. Johnson Jr. said, “This stretch of river extends from the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin past some suburbs and many rural woods. It is important for all the upstream city and county wastewater treatment plants to keep a grip on their sewage, because many people depend on the Withlacoochee River for swimming, fishing, and boating, plus water wells nearby may be affected by anything that goes into the river. It’s a joy that publicly- elected officials are involved in this activity, and that the Mayor is helping organize it.”

“All elected officials present, both from Florida and Georgia, will have three minutes each to speak, both at the put-in and at the midway point,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Don’t worry: only a few of them will. But you can paddle up to them and ask questions. Just remember to stay six feet apart. Wear a mask if you get any closer to anybody not in your party, either on land or water.”

Take a look at the signs by the boat ramp for the WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail. They show the whole trail and what you can expect to see near Troupville Boat Ramp.

The paddle starts Continue reading

Valdosta: Catch Basin finished

Valdosta has completed the long-awaited catch basin at the entrance to the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). That won’t stop spills that happen elsewhere, such as the big one in December 2019, but it might have stopped 2/3 of the December 2018 sewage spill gallons. And Valdosta’s press release also emphasizes further fixes elsewhere.

Valdosta WWTP Catch Basin

First proposed December 6, 2018, by by City Council Tim Carroll, just as Valdosta had its third major sewage spill episode of 2018, including eighteen locations, followed by five more on December 14 and 15. Only three of those spills came from the WWTP, but those three did account for most of the gallons spilled. However, the record December 2019 spill did not come from the WWTP at all.

Valdosta got a permit for the catch basin from GA-EPD in December 2019, before it was required to dig it in a new GA-EPD Consent Order. Valdosta held a groundbreaking July 21, 2020.

Now the catch basin is finished, after only a year and a half. It should decrease the likelihood of spills from the WWTP. December is the traditional Valdosta sewage spill season, and so far there have been none. Meanwhile, sanitary sewer work continues elsewhere in Valdosta.

Valdosta PR, November 19, 2020, Equalization Basin at Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Completed, Continue reading