Category Archives: Aquifer

The Floridan Aquifer is our main drinking water source under our entire WWALS watershed, east to south Carolina, west through Alabama to Mississippi, and under all of Florida.

Deny or EIS, titanium mining near Okefenokee Swamp –Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS 2019-09-12

Sent just now as PDF. You can still send in your comments today.

[Who wants to boat, fish, bird, or hunt next to a strip mine?]
Who wants to boat, fish, bird, or hunt next to a strip mine? PDF


September 12, 2019

To: Col. Daniel Hibner, Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District
       Attention: Ms. Holly Ross,  holly.a.ross@usace.army.mil
       1104 North Westover Boulevard, Suite 9, Albany, Georgia  31707

Cc: Stephen Wiedl, Wetlands Unit, stephen.wiedl@dnr.ga.gov
       Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division,
       Water Protection Branch, 7 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Atlanta, GA 30334

Re: Applicant: Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, Application Number: SAS-2018-00554

Dear Colonel Hibner,

Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) asks USACE:

  • to reject the subject Application from Twin Pines Minerals (TPM), given the inappropriate location which would over the years move ever closer to the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Mary’s Rivers, combined with the numerous omissions from the Application regarding the wide hydrogeologic, water quality, ecologic, and economic ramifications of the proposed mining, and the numerous other mines relevant to the proposal.

If USACE continues to process the Application, WWALS requests USACE:

  • to require a complete hydrogeological assessment and report, a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and an economic analysis, with all three covering all the relevant features, mines, and applications in south Georgia and north Florida, including at least those outlined in this letter.
  • to accept comments until at least ninety days after all these documents are submitted to USACE and distributed to the public, preferably on USACE’s website, without requiring site visits to Albany to get them.
  • to hold public hearings in Georgia and Florida for further independent input and review after sufficient time (months or years) for independent third-party review.

The proposed Charlton County, Georgia, TPM mine site is hydraulically upgradient from the Okefenokee Swamp and within close proximity to the boundary of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (ONWR), with its 600,000 visits per year for boating, birding, and fishing, with more than $60 million annual economic effects including hundreds of jobs supported directly or indirectly, plus hunt clubs surrounding the Swamp. The Swamp provides ecosystem services of great economic values, including storm protection, water quality provisioning, support for nursery and habitat for commercial fishing species; and carbon storage, plus those hunt clubs depend on the Swamp. Any pollution of the Swamp or change in surface or groundwater levels could adversely affect not only ONWR and nearby areas, but also the Okefenokee Swamp Park (OSP) near Waycross, in Ware County, GA, and Stephen C. Foster State Park (SCFSP) in Charlton County, via Fargo in Clinch County. Visitors come from Jacksonville, Florida, Brunswick and Valdosta, Georgia, and from much farther away to visit the Okefenokee Swamp. The Swamp is a treasure to the entire nation and the world.

The stigma of a strip mine next to the swamp could cause people to turn away, taking their dollars with them. Who wants to boat, fish, bird, or hunt next to a strip mine?

Continue reading

Suwannee Riverkeeper at Our Santa Fe River Board Meeting 2019-08-28

Thanks, OSFR President Mike Roth, for the invitation. Jim Tatum, OSFR, 31 August 2019, Suwannee RiverKeeper Quarterman is Guest at OSFR Board Meeting,

John S. Quarterman at OSFR Board 2019-08-28

Guest speaker at the August OSFR board meeting was Suwannee RiverKeeper John Quarterman from Georgia.

John gave a detailed run-down of the benefits and responsibilities of a riverkeeper, of which there are around 350 scattered around the globe.

What does John do?

Actually he does quite a bit. A brief search ended up on the WaterKeeper Alliance website which had Continue reading

Nobody needs Nestle water bottles from our river and spring water –Suwannee Riverkeeper on RT.com 2019-08-29

RT carried a surprisingly long objection to Nestlé’s water withdrawals from Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, interviewed via skype from London on Wednesday, posted Thursday.

[No need for water in plastic bottles]
No need for water in plastic bottles

Remember to send your comment to the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) asking them to deny Nestlé’s request to withdraw more water from the Santa Fe River at Ginnie Springs.

RT, YouTube, 29 August 2019, Nestle seeks to extract millions of liters of water from Florida’s ‘fragile’ Santa Fe river, Continue reading

Okefenokee overflight with GA Rep. John Corbett 2019-08-24

Flying over the affected area appears to have made at least one elected official think harder about whether the supposed titanium mining jobs could be more important than the effects on the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, both its economic importance and the potential environmental detriments to the swamp, to the Suwannee and St. Mary’s Rivers, and to the Floridan Aquifer. You can still write to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking for denial or at least an Environmental Impact Statement.

Gordon Jackson, The Brunswick News, 28 August 2019, Getting the aerial perspective on a titanium mining project,

[WC6170, 22:40:34]
Photo: Jim Tatum, of the Chemours North Maxville Mine, Baker County, Florida. This is the mine pictured in the Brunswick News article.

…The mining company Twin Pines Minerals, LLC [(TPM)], said it plans to employ 150 people, but [Georgia State Representative John] Corbett acknowledged most of the employees will not come from Charlton County.

Corbett went on a two-hour flight Saturday Continue reading

No more promiscious issuance of water withdrawal permits to Nestle –Suwannee Riverkeeper in The Independent, U.K. 2019-08-26

“Suwannee Riverkeeper is opposed to continued promiscuous issuance of permits to withdraw water from the Floridan Aquifer, which is already overtaxed and sinking. The Suwannee River Water Management District not only should reject Nestle’s application to withdraw water from the Santa Fe River at Ginnie Springs; it should also revisit Nestle’s permit to withdraw water from the Withlacoochee River at Madison Blue Spring.”

That’s what I told a reporter yesterday, and SRWMD does have statutory authority to revoke permits in addition to refusing new ones. You can tell SRWMD these things.

[BLUE SPRING, MADISON COUNTY, FL]
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS. Note “BLUE SPRING, MADISON, COUNTY FL” and “NESTLE WATERS NORTH AMERICA INC., STAMFORD, CT 06902”. Why should a Swiss company with North American headquarters in Connecticut get to take our water for free and pollute our waterways with its plastic bottles?

Lily Puckett, The Independent, 26 August 2019, Nestle attempts to to pump 1.1m gallons of water per day from fragile US spring: The water system has been officially “in recovery” for years, Continue reading

Waste not, want not -John S. Quarterman, VDT 2019-07-14

Some of what I said:

Much of what Quarterman and the watershed coalition does is educate people who use the Floridan aquifer, he said.

It’s important to get people out on the water to show them the importance of the natural resource, but since most of the drinking water is more than 400 feet below them, it’s hard to make people appreciate the resource, he said.

“We want to be careful about using up the aquifer,” Quarterman said. “The water level goes down each year, and each year we have to dig deeper to get to the water.”

[VDT Front page, Sunday, July 14, 2019]
Front page, Sunday, July 14, 2019, Valdosta Daily Times
Some of you may recognize the picture, which shows the boom Sabal Trail put in the Withlacoochee River west of Valdosta after their pilot hole leaked drilling fluid up into the river.

Thomas Lynn, Valdosta Daily Times, 14 July 2019, Waste not, want not: Water preservation not a priority,

VALDOSTA — Water is a finite resource. Continue reading

SRWMD explains itself to #PaddleGA2019 2019-06-19

Thanks to Lindsey Garland and Ben Glass for explaining SRWMD springs, rivers, and water withdrawals to 300 new people from all over the world on #PaddleGA2019, at Camp Suwannee, Dowling Park, Suwannee County, Florida.

[About SRWMD]
About SRWMD

The Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) is the largest Continue reading

Videos: Parker Pond water withdrawals, BMAPs, Valdosta, and Testing @ SRWMD 2019-05-14

The deputy went in to see what the ruckus was about. It was Lu Merritt, Mike Roth, Jim Tatum, Mike Kern, and then me, in extensive discussion about a water withdrawal permit request, that Jim Tatum called Words of Truth to the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) Board.

On the agenda for that Monday, 14 May 2019:

20. Approval of New Water Use Permit 2-001-234425-1, Authorizing a Maximum 0.1462 mgd of Groundwater for Agricultural Use at the Parker Pond Project, Alachua County

I was actually there for this later item:

30. Valdosta Wastewater Update

In interaction with Tom Mirti, I confirmed that FDEP is doing DNA and sucralose (human waste marker) testing monthly at the GA-FL line on the Withlacoochee and Alapaha (not Alapahoochee) Rivers, and at the Withlacoochee Confluence with the Suwannee River. However, SRWMD has no plans for doing complementary weeks.

I found the public relations method research by Katelyn Potter to be fascinating.

Below are links to each WWALS video of each speaker, with some notes, followed by a WWALS video playlist. Continue reading

Excluding groundwater makes no sense above the Florida Aquifer –WWALS to EPA 2019-04-15

Approved at the Sunday WWALS board meeting and filed last night via regulations.gov as PDF.


April 15, 2019

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
EPA Docket Center
Office of Water Docket
Mail Code 28221T
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460

Re: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0149,
       Revised Definition of Waters of United States

To Whom it May Concern:

WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS), also known as Suwannee Riverkeeper, submits the following comments on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) proposed rule entitled “Revised Definition of Waters of United States,” 84 Federal Register 4154-01 (February 14, 2019) (hereinafter “Proposed Rule”).

In addition to supporting the comments of Waterkeeper Alliance and the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), WWALS adds these comments on groundwater.

The Proposed Rule’s categorical exclusion of groundwater makes no sense here above the Floridan Aquifer where surface water and groundwater constantly interchange, and pollutants travelling through groundwater are a frequent source of health, environmental, and economic problems.

[2019-04-15--WWALS-to-EPA-0001]
2019-04-15–WWALS-to-EPA-0001

This proposed exclusion of groundwater is called out repeatedly in the Proposed Rule, starting with this:

Continue reading

Urge your Georgia state legislators to stop coal ash pollution: HB 93, 94 and SB 123

Crossover day is this Thursday, by which bills have to pass one part of the Georgia legislature to be considered in the other. Please contact your state legislators today to stop coal ash pollution!

Coal ash from the infamous Kingston, Tennessee coal ash pond dam break in 2008 was shipped to at least five landfills in south Georgia, including the old landfill in Lowndes County, which is in an aquifer recharge zone and a quarter mile uphill from the Withlacoochee River. That landfill also has coal ash from Jacksonville, Florida. We don’t need any more coal ash in any landfills in Georgia. The power companies that produced it need to store it safely on their own land.

TVA aerial image of Kingston Ash Slide 2008-12-23
TVA aerial image of Kingston Ash Slide 2008-12-23.

Please call your Georgia state legislators today, to support: