Again: alert water quality at Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River 2020-03-18

2020-03-23: Filthy Crooked Creek, clean Okapilco Creek upstream 2020-03-20.

Yet again, over alert level of E. coli at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River, after elevated levels on Okapilco Creek. WWALS will be testing today. You can help.

[Okapilco Creek and Knights Ferry]
Okapilco Creek and Knights Ferry

Most of the week most of the numbers were green, for less than the 126 cfu/100 mL E. coli that Georgia Adopt-A-Stream, EPA, and FDEP recommend for longterm averages. This was in both Valdosta and Florida Department of Health (really Madison Health) testing. See also what do these numbers mean?

[Good week until Wednesday and Friday]
Good week until Wednesday and Friday
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of all known data sources see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Until numbers started going up on Okapilco Creek Monday, March 16, 2020. The USGS gauge at US 84 on the Withlacoochee River recorded a smidgeon of rain that day. Given the prevailing weather patterns that day, with rain coming in from the west, apparently some rain fell on Brooks County before it got to the river.

I was over at Crooked Creek on Monument Church Road in Brooks County to test on Tuesday, March 17, when rain fell in a gully-washer.

[Closeup Bucket in Crooked Creek]
Closeup Bucket in Crooked Creek

That’s the fastest I’ve seen Crooked Creek, and it snatched the bucket cord right out of my hand.

[Bucket in Crooked Creek]
Bucket in Crooked Creek

I was not going to climb down into that stinking creek to get the bucket.

[Ditch water]
Ditch water

Crooked Creek did stink, too, like an open sewer. Although most of the stench was coming from the ditch water running down the road from the west.

I’m going back there today to see what it looks and smells and tests like, with another bucket and a longer rope.

[Quitman and Valdosta]
Quitman and Valdosta

Please also note that’s not the only problem, since the Valdosta numbers for GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River were elevated for Wednesday, and that’s well upstream from the Okapilco Creek Confluence, also upstream from US 84, which showed better numbers than at GA 133.

It seems likely that the Wednesday contamination is not coming out of Millrace Creek.

[Millrace Creek @ Troupeville Road]
Millrace Creek @ Troupeville Road

Millrace Creek reaches the Withlacoochee River upstream from US 84 but below GA 133.

[Joe Cook returns, 14:27:12, 30.81473, -83.43731]
Joe Cook returns, 14:27:12, 30.8147300, -83.4373100

I may test Millrace Creek anyway, just to see.

You Can Help

Please continue to contact your local and state elected officials in Florida and Georgia to ask for funding and personnel for frequent (several times a week) testing at closely-spaced stations along all our rivers, with timely online publication, plus water well testing.

You can help WWALS test water quality by donating to our WWALS water quality testing program. Or maybe you know a bank or other source of larger financial support.

[Suzy with a Petrifilm]
Suzy Hall with a Petrifilm.
Each bacterial test costs $6 for Petrifilms alone or about $8 total per test.

Maybe you want to get trained and help test; if so, follow this link.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

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