Category Archives: creeks

Cleaner downstream with no rain 2020-03-24

Update 2020-03-26: Hamilton, Madison Counties Health Lift Advisory for the Withlacoochee River 2020-03-26.

Suzy Hall’s Sunday testing at State Line Boat Ramp started the good news this week.

So WWALS can continue testing, WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman just bought another case of Petrifilm, to the tune of $753.25. That’s a big buy for a tiny nonprofit such as WWALS. You can help.

[Suzy Hall retrieving test bucket at State Line Ramp 2020-03-22]
Suzy Hall retrieving test bucket at State Line Ramp 2020-03-22

The Withlacoochee River is clean this week, and even Okapilco Creek is cleaner than it sometimes is.

[Clean Sunday through Tuesday]
Clean Sunday through Tuesday
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida data, see wwals.net/issues/testing/.

At State Line Boat Ramp, Suzy Hall for WWALS, the City of Valdosta, and Madison Health all got Continue reading

Filthy Crooked Creek, clean Okapilco Creek upstream 2020-03-20

Update 2020-03-26: Cleaner downstream with no rain 2020-03-24.

Two days after rain, Crooked Creek was still filthy Friday. Some of that probably got into the Withlacoochee River. WWALS continues testing. You can help.

[Too high]
Too high
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of all known data sources see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

This is in Brooks County, Georgia.

[Crooked Creek @ Monument Church Road]
Crooked Creek @ Monument Church Road

Crooked Creek at Monument Church Road was bad enough, 1,366 cfu/100 mL E. coli, which is above the Georgia Adopt-A Stream alert level of 1,000. See also what do these numbers mean?

[Crooked Cr @ MCR]
Crooked Cr @ MCR

The stench was mostly coming from Continue reading

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 Continue reading

A good week in Withlacoochee River water quality 2020-03-16

Update 2020-03-20: Again: alert water quality at Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River 2020-03-18.

These results are getting much closer to what we all like to see, yet there is something worrisome.

[Clean before rain]
Clean before rain

Most of the river results for most of a week have been below the recommended longterm average of 126 cfu/100 mL of E. coli, and all have been below the problem level of 410. None of them even approached the 1,000 alert level, much less the too-frequently-seen TNTC. See also what do these numbers mean?

Yet this is worrisome. Yesterday as Continue reading

More testing needed to track river pollution –Suwannee Riverkeeper in Gainesville Sun 2020-03-16

Gainesville Sun, 12:01 AM, Monday, March 16, 2020, John S. Quarterman: More testing needed to track river pollution (see also PDF),

Fecal bacterial contamination from Georgia probably reached the Gulf of Mexico about March 3, 2020, according to the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD).

[Tifton to the Gulf]
Tifton to the Gulf
In the WWALS map of all public landings in the Suwannee River Basin.

The good news: we know about that, because of much more water quality monitoring being done since I wrote a column about the issue last year for The Sun.

This recent testing was provoked by a spill of 7.5 million gallons of raw sewage into Sugar Creek near Valdosta, Ga., in December. With no rain, the sewage sat there for a week, and then moved down the Withlacoochee River in about three weekly globs, at least once reaching the Suwannee.

This Valentine’s Day, Valdosta exceeded our request, testing not one but Continue reading

Much better water quality: Withlacoochee River, Okapilco Creek 2020-03-11

Update 2020-03-16: More testing needed to track river pollution –Suwannee Riverkeeper in Gainesville Sun 2020-03-16.

No rain for a week (since March 5th) meant not much E. coli washed into creeks and rivers.

WWALS is testing upstream this weekend. You can help.

[Composite table]
WWALS Composite table
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of data from Georgia and Florida sources, see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Apparently the high numbers WWALS saw on Crooked Creek Saturday a week ago (March 7th) washed on down through Okapilco Creek and Brooks County to the Withlacoochee River by Monday. Apparently that contamination got diluted pretty quickly by all that rainwater coming down from as far north as Tifton.

The most recent numbers we have are Valdosta’s for Wednesday, March 11, 2020, with Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps only slightly above the longterm desired limit of 126 cfu/100 mL E. coli, and below that upstream.

Madison Health tested Tuesday, and got actually slightly lower (135.4) at State Line, and below 126 at CR 150 (Sullivan Launch) and FL 6 (upstream from Madison Blue Spring).

Nobody tested downstream from there in the past week. Nobody knows whether any of the most recent contamination reached the Suwannee River.

[Quitman and Valdosta to Suwannee River]
Quitman and Valdosta to Suwannee River
In the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

The USGS gauges upstream from US 84 peaked days ago, and the US 84 (Quitman) gauge is coming down now, soon to be Continue reading

Bad Withlacoochee Friday, Worse Crooked Creek Saturday 2020-03-07

Update 2020-03-13: Video: Earth Day Cleanup and Paddle –Suwannee Riverkeeper & Georgia Power on Scott James Radio 2020-03-12.

Valdosta’s Friday Withlacoochee River Knights Ferry results were bad enough, but the WWALS Crooked Creek Sunday results were even worse. Crooked Creek is upstream of Okapilco Creek and Knights Ferry.

[Withlacoochee, Okapilco, Crooked Creek 2020-03-07]
Withlacoochee, Okapilco, Crooked Creek 2020-03-07
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of data from Georgia and Florida sources, see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

We have no new results from Florida since the Madison Health TNTC Thursday results.

A useful thing about the Valdosta results is you can see that the E. coli readings are very high starting at Knights Ferry, but not upstream. So this is not coming from Valdosta. WWALS continues testing and nwrrowing the sources of this contamination. You can help.

Continue reading

Cleaner Withlacoochee Monday, Tuesday; Suwannee unknown 2020-03-03

Update 2020-03-06: Special meeting to approve an RFP for an environmental attorney –Madison BOCC 2020-03-06

Tuesday data from Lowndes County, Georgia, shows much better water quality in Okapilco Creek upstream from Quitman and in the Withlacoochee River downstream. Remember, Lowndes County has its own sewer system, which did not spill. And one of Lowndes County’s results for the previous week is very interesting.

All the maps and charts in this post are on the WWALS website in a PDF for printing. They’re also on facebook.

The most recent data we have from Valdosta and Florida is for Monday. WWALS has not tested this week because of rain, but soon. You can help.

Yesterday and today, five inches of rain fell on Tifton, and all that water is washing downstream, with the Withlacoochee already in flood at Pinetta.

[Quitman to Withlacoochee River]
Map: Quitman to Withlacoochee River.
In the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

In the above map, northeast of Quitman near Okapilco Creek, are the Quitman sewage settling ponds, which Continue reading

Source of the Alapaha River 2020-02-27

What’s the source of the Alapaha River like? Well, it’s in some woods on private land in the edge of Dooly County, Georgia, was all I could say, other than a map and the GPS coordinates.

Thursday I happened to be near there, so I asked the landowner if I could go look, if I told other people not to go in there. She said if you get stuck there will be nobody to pull you out. I’ll walk, I said.

Through many catbriars and mud (without mud boots), I found something surprising:

[A mound!]
A mound!

Here’s a 360 degree movie from the top of the mound. Continue reading

Still bad Saturday: Withlacoochee and Suwannee River to Mayo and Luraville 2020-02-29

Update 2020-03-02: Suwannee River contamination running downstream to the Gulf 2020-03-01.

Still bad water quality all the way to Luraville and Mayo, according to FDOH Friday for the Withlacoochee River and SRWMD Saturday for the Suwannee River.

A catalog of WWALS, Valdosta, Lowndes County, FDEP, FDOH, and SRWMD results is at wwals.net/issues/testing/. You can help.

[2020-02-29--excerpt-WWALS-composite-wq-results]
2020-02-29–excerpt-WWALS-composite-wq-results
Extract from WWALS composite water quality test results from Georgia and Florida.

A couple days ago I remarked that nobody knew the water quality of the Suwannee River downstream from Dowling Park, because nobody had tested that. Saturday SRWMD did test down at the Hal W. Adams Bridge on FL 51, between Mayo and Luraville, and the result was above the alert level of 1,000, while at Dowling Park it was back below the too-high level of 410. Apparently something was moving down the Suwannee River.

We still don’t know what’s going on downstream of FL 51, for example at US 27 (Branford) or CR 340 (Rock Bluff Ramp). This is more evidence that we need regular, frequent, testing at all these locations, not just after a spill or other upstream alert.

Thanks to Katelyn Potter of the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) for forwarding the Florida updates late Sunday evening. Thanks to SRWMD and Madison Health for testing on a weekend, and to Florida Department of Health (FDOH) for helping. Thanks to Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and Julie Espy for posting results on an FDEP web page. No update on Valdosta’s results website for Friday yet.

WWALS testers Conn and Trudy Cole got Continue reading