Requesting protection of Suwannee River from Valdosta wastewater –Levy BOCC 2017-03-07

Levy BOCC passed a resolution Tuesday much like the Suwannee BOCC resolution, but adding instructions to transmit it to a wide range of Florida and U.S. elected officials and agencies.

If you’re in Valdosta today, the City Council meets at 5:30 PM; you can join us in talking to them about this, or send them email.

Thanks to Jessica Berryhill, Administrative Assistant I, Board Administration, Levy Board of County Commissioners, for the PDF.

RESOLUTION 2017-008

A RESOLUTION BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF LEVY COUNTY, FLORIDA REQUESTING THE PROTECTION OF THE HISTORIC SUWANNEE RIVER IN NORTH FLORIDA.

WHEREAS, Levy County is located in North Central Florida and is bordered by the Historic Suwannee River on its western side; and

WHEREAS. the Historic Suwannee River is one of the most widely known and recognized river system in the world; and

WHEREAS, the Withlacoochee River (North) begins at its headwaters in South Georgia, and flows into the Historic Suwannee River in northern Florida; and

WHEREAS, Levy County and each of the Florida counties bordered by the Historic Suwannee River share a great passion for the vitality and life of the river; and

WHEREAS, the Historic Suwannee River is a vital economic engine in the Suwannee River Valley Region providing nature based recreation opportunities; including numerous springs, paddling, swimming, fishing, bike trails, hiking, and wildlife viewing, all of which provide local residents and visitors increased health benefits for participation in outdoor recreational activities; and

WHEREAS, beginning in 2009 and continuing over the past several years, the City of Valdosta, Georgia has experienced numerous failures and spills at their wastewater treatment facilities resulting in the release of millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Withlacoochee River, which in turn, flows directly into the Historic Suwannee River; and

WHEREAS, these failures have resulted in numerous Florida Health Department advisories to the residents of and visitors to several North Florida counties. including Levy County, to avoid contact with the Withlacoochee River and the Historic Suwannee River, and numerous residents along the rivers have reported positive tests of bacterial contamination of residential wells; and

WHEREAS, these failures also resulted in a 2013 consent decree between the City of Valdosta and Georgia’s Environmental Protection Department regarding the construction of new wastewater treatment facilities and the institution of updated response and reporting procedures: and

WHEREAS, yet again, on January 22, 2017, the City of Valdosta had another failure resulting in the release of million gallons of raw sewage and contaminated stormwater into the Withlacoochee River which again resulted in the Florida Department of Health issuing public health advisories warning the public of wastewater contamination in the Withlacoochee River and portions of the Historic Suwannee River, which resulted in warnings being posted at all public access areas along the rivers stating that the rivers were not safe for recreational use and every precaution should be taken to avoid any contact with the river; and

WHEREAS, Levy County takes note of and supports the January 27, 2017 letter of District 10 Representative Elizabeth Porter to the US Environmental Protection Agency requesting that “…EPA take all necessary actions toward ensuring unauthorized and unlawful discharges from the City’s wastewater treatment plant are prevented…” and fully pledges its support to Representative Porter’s efforts; and

WHEREAS, Levy County has worked tirelessly with its municipalities and business community to attract businesses and increase outdoor river based eco—tourism to create jobs and grow the economies of our communities; and

WHEREAS, Levy County being a fiscally constrained county must rely on the State of Florida to help insure that Valdosta, Georgia eliminates the dumping of raw sewage into our rivers,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of County Commissioners, Levy County, Florida that:

  1. Levy County requests the Honorable Governor Rick Scott, other elected Florida State leaders, and Florida’s State agencies, to use the resources of the State of Florida to protect the Historic Suwannee River and the Withlacoochee River, to protect the personal health and business interests of the citizens of North Florida, including Levy County, to support the efforts of Representative Porter and to take appropriate aggressive and timely actions as are necessary to ensure that Valdosta, Georgia eliminates the dumping of raw sewage into our rivers and help provide Levy County the resources its citizens so desperately need to restore the image of our rivers and our communities as a great place to live, visit, and do business.
  2. The Clerk of the Circuit Court and Ex-Officio Clerk to the Board of the County Commissioners is hereby directed to transmit certified copies of the resolution to the Governor, Senate President, House Speaker, the Chair and members of the Levy Legislative Delegation, members of the Florida Congressional Delegation, the Florida Department of Health and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

PASSED AND DULY ADOPTED this 7th day of March, 2016

BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF LEVY COUNTY, FLORIDA
[signed]
John Meeks, Chairman

ATTEST: Danny J. Shipp, Clerk of the Circuit
Court and Ex Officio Clerk to the
Board of County Commissioners
[signed]
Danny J. Shipp, Clerk

APPROVED AS TO FORM
AND LEGAL SUFFICIENCY
[signed]
Anne Bast Brown, County Attorney

The letter from Florida state Rep. Elizabeth Porter to the EPA is on the WWALS website, along with much more information. This is the fourth such resolution you’ll find linked in there. Three more to collect.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

2 thoughts on “Requesting protection of Suwannee River from Valdosta wastewater –Levy BOCC 2017-03-07

  1. Pingback: Videos: Sewage, Coal Ash, Historic Preservation, a dead cat, and turkeys @ VCC 2016-03-09 | On the LAKE front

  2. Pingback: Videos: Sewage at Valdosta City Council 2017-03-09 | WWALS Watershed Coalition (Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®)

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