Tag Archives: WWTP

New Valdosta Directors of Utilities and Public Works 2024-07-01

Congratulations to Jason Barnes on being promoted to Valdosta Director of Utilities after a year as Acting Director.

He has a lot of work left for him by previous city administrations, both in drinking water quality and a planned new well site, and of course in fixing Valdosta’s chronic sewer leaks, overflows, and spills, while expanding the sewer system to accomodate new industry.

[Jason Barnes, Valdosta, Utilities Director 2024-07-01, Water and sewer systems, Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers]
Jason Barnes, Valdosta, Utilities Director 2024-07-01, Water and sewer systems, Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers

The Withlacoochee River gets the most news, because most of Valdosta’s spills have been into creeks that flow into that river. But the collapsed sewer main next to Knights Creek ends up in Mud Swamp Creek, the Alapahoochee River, and the Alapaha River. The city seems to have finally gotten a handle on that one, having replaced most of that sewer main, with the rest to be scheduled as regular repairs instead of expensive emergency fixes.

Nobody is going to be happy until there are no more spills, but I have seen fewer spills that did not last as long since Jason Barnes has been in charge.

About the first thing I heard from him once he became Acting Director was that a sewage spill had contaminated Sugar Creek, so we rerouted from a boating cleanup to an onland cleanup. Jason Barnes showed up in person at that cleanup, where we thanked him for telling us. Continue reading

A Georgia City Has Spilled Millions of Gallons of Raw Sewage Into 2 Pristine Rivers –Amber Nolan, greenmatters 2024-06-03

Update 2024-06-07: Filthy Franks Creek, clean Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers, despite Ashburn spill 2024-06-05.

Update 2024-06-07: Quitman: Noncompliance, 9 effluent violations, 5 sewage spills, 11 monitoring violations, 1 reporting violation –GA-EPD Nov 2022 – Oct 2023.

A reporter from Key West wrote about what people are saying about Valdosta sewage, and it’s not very pretty.

Maybe Valdosta will get a different public image when it tells people what it is doing, such as the $67 million bond for water and sewer projects the Valdosta City Council will vote on tomorrow.

And when the sewage spills don’t happen anymore.

Meanwhile, if you want to see what we are protecting, you can paddle with us this Saturday on the Withlacoochee River in Florida. https://wwals.net/?p=64848

[Valdosta sewage viewed from Key West 2024-06-03: It's not very pretty]
Valdosta sewage viewed from Key West 2024-06-03: It’s not very pretty

Please go to the original article. I’ve archived it here to be sure it is preserved, using some WWALS images to illustrate it.

Amber Nolan, Greenmatters, June 3, 2024, A Georgia City Has Spilled Millions of Gallons of Raw Sewage Into 2 Pristine Rivers
And the city is hardly doing anything to clean up its mess.

Besides its inclusion in Stephen Foster’s song “Old Folks at Home,” the Suwannee River, along with its sister river, the Withlacoochee, are off most people’s radars. Both are federally designated wild rivers that flow through Georgia and Florida, and offer top-notch kayaking and canoeing opportunities. The lower Suwannee is also home to the 53,000-acre National Wildlife Refuge, and the river’s freshwater springs are extremely popular swimming holes.

Yet, for more than a decade, accidental raw sewage spills into the rivers have been a constant occurrence from a wastewater treatment facility in Valdosta, Ga., and the sewage then flows south across state lines into Florida. Attempts to solve the problem have been bandages on a gash wound, and in April 2024, millions of gallons of sewage again spilled into the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers. So why does this keep happening, and what’s being done to prevent sewage from polluting these pristine rivers? Continue reading

Origins of WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper Part 1

People are often confused: what are WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper, where did they come from, how are they related, and what do they do?

Well, it’s a long story. Here is the first of several parts.

[Black and white square WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper logos]
Black and white square WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper logos

You’ll probably see this reposted on Walk Around Lowndes:

Justin Coleman is walking every road and street in Lowndes County, Georgia, and blogging about it, featuring Suwannee Riverkeeper.

What is the mission of WWALS?

Continue reading

PFAS fixes to wastewater treatment could keep drug residue out of rivers 2021-08-11

The PFAS problem may cause wastewater treatment that cleans up another bad problem: pharmaceuticals.

Tara Lohan, The Revelator (Center for Biological Diversity), August 11, 2021, What Happens to Wildlife Swimming in a Sea of Our Drug Residues?

Wastewater exposes plants and wildlife to hundreds of chemical compounds. Researchers are learning about potential side effects and solutions.

Effects range from obvious physical defects to behavior change. For example, bold crawfish are not safe crawfish.

[Valdosta WWTP clean outfall, 2023-03-04, 30.8361045, -83.3595411]
Valdosta WWTP clean outfall, 2023-03-04, 30.8361045, -83.3595411

But a different type of contaminant may lead to fixes. Continue reading

Paddling in the treetops 2023-02-13 and for real two years ago 2021-02-27 2023-02-13

Update 2023-02-16: River Low, Action, and Flood Stages 2023-02-16.

“Right now we’d be paddling in the treetops,” joked Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter, Monday at the Lowndes County Commission Work Session, about the upcoming Fourth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2023-03-04.

Well, five of us actually did that two years ago, February 27, 2021. As I wrote back then, “ it was smooth sailing for experienced paddlers. The overhanging branches would have been a problem for novices, and there were very few places to get out if you did capsize.”

[Chairman says paddling in the treetops, and for real two years ago]
Chairman says paddling in the treetops, and for real two years ago

“It would be a very short trip, I promise you,” Lowndes County EMA Director Ashley Tye replied to the Chairman.

Two years ago it took about four hours to paddle those 11 miles from Troupville Boat Ramp to Spook Bridge, from 9 AM to a little after 1 PM, without rushing. That’s fast, 2.75 miles an hour, compared to our default estimate of 5.5 hours at two miles an hour.

Back then the Hahira Gauge, on the Little River at GA 122, read about 13.73 feet. Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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

Update 2023-01-05: News again: Valdosta’s 2021 resolution against the strip mine proposed too near the Okefenokee Swamp 2023-01-01.

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

Letter, Valdosta Mayor to GA-EPD

Continue reading