Category Archives: Testing

Your donation matched up to $1,000 during Georgia Gives

We have a donor who will match donations up to $1000 during Georgia Gives and 2019 Day of Giving. We need you to make a donation and help us get this generous donation.

https://www.gagives.org/story/8ndvvf

[WWALS #RiversAlive Pafford's Landing]
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, WWALS #RiversAlive Pafford’s Landing

Every little bit helps us work for clean, fishable, swimmable, boatable water.

From monthly full moon outings at Banks Lake, to exposing wastewater spills, to water quality testing, to trash pickups along the rivers, to promoting water trails and solar power, to opposing phosphate and titanium mines, LNG, and fracking, WWALS members are working to make the Suwannee River Basin a better place to live, work, and play.

Please give generously and help us get our $1,000 matching donation.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Troupville River Camp, center of Little and Withlacoochee River Water Trail 2019-10-31

Here’s the narrative we sent Thursday in the WWALS pre-application to the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program (GOSP):


A Troupville River Camp will attract paddling and fishing enthusiasts of all ages. The property is located at the Confluence of the Little River with the Withlacoochee River, off of I-75 and GA 133 just west of Valdosta, the biggest city in the Suwannee River Basin. Proposed amenities include air-conditioned bathrooms, hot and cold running water, five screened sleeping platforms, picnic tables and benches, outdoor fire pits, and paddle boat racks for canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards, with river access near the Confluence.

[Paddlers departing in the Confluence Viewscape]
Paddlers departing in the Confluence Viewscape

The location is historic, where Troupville was the former Lowndes County seat before Valdosta, from 1833 to 1860. The property has been privately owned since then and is now available for purchase for this purpose.


Map of Troupville, GA adapted from C.S. Morgan, in Ray City History Blog, 9 February 2014, Map of Old Troupville, GA with Notes on the Residents.
jsq note: the scale of the streets on this map is too large; few of them extended onto the subject property;
thanks for clarification by Wiregrass Region Digital History Project (WRDHP).

The Land Between the Rivers has Continue reading

Water Quality Testing Training @ SGRC 2019-11-09

Come on down and get trained to do water quality testing:

When: 9 AM to 3 PM, Saturday, November 9, 2019

Where: SGRC, 327 West Savannah Avenue, Valdosta, Georgia 31601

Wear: comfortable clothes, and bring boots to get in the water.

[9 AM to 3 PM, Saturday, November 9, 2019 @ SGRC Valdosta]
9 AM to 3 PM, Saturday, November 9, 2019 @ SGRC Valdosta

Reserve: your spot by November 5th by contacting Erica McLelland, emclelland@sgrc.us or (229) 333-5277 ext 109.

And sign up to do actual testing afterwards.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Two thirds of SRWMD Board half there 2019-09-18

It was surprisingly interactive meeting, with the Board members repeatedly questioning staff about multiple projects, sometimes taking up points raised from the audience. One Board Member even stopped a project. Yet half the rump board was not visible, being on the telephone, and the Budget Public Hearing may or may not have been legal.

Nestlé Water Withdrawal Permits

At the rescheduled September SRWMD Board meeting, OSFR President Mike Roth questioned the validity of the permitting process for Nestlé’s proposed 1.2 million gallon per day water withdrawal from Ginnie Springs on the Santa Fe River, since the actual application is from Seven Springs, which proposes to sell the water to Nestlé, which is not a use authorized by Florida Statutes.

[OSFR President]
OSFR President

I seconded that, and added that the SRWMD Board should revisit Nestlé’s permit for water withdrawal at Madison Blue Springs on the Withlacoochee River, since Florida Statutes to authorize them to do that.

You can comment to SRWMD about Nestlé’s permits.

Photo: Jim Tatum for OSFR, of Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman
Photo: Jim Tatum for OSFR, of Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman

Afterwards, SRWMD’s Tom Mirti told me the $70,000 contract with SRWMD for Nestlé to support springs water quality monitoring is required by the Nestlé permit for Madison Blue Spring, even though it has to be negotiated separately. Apparently yet another open records request is needed.

Invisible and Missing Board Members

Continue reading

Posted: Valdosta Country Club Sewage Spill, six days afterwards 2019-08-27

The GA-EPD person who enters the data was on vacation, but eventually the Valdosta Country Club sewage spill appeared in GA-EPD’s online reports, on August 27, 2019, with this:

“Note: Initial 24-hour spill notification received by EPD 8/21, via phone. Entered 8/26 due to employee vacation.”

As I noted to GA-EPD, this is a good example of a case where an automated email alert could have let them and us all know when it appeared. Alabama has been doing that for two years now, and Florida for almost as long.

3353 Plantation Drive is not the spill location, Google Map
Red marker: 3353 Plantation Drive. Yellow diamond sign: actual spill location.

That entry included a more precise address than Valdosta had previously reported: 3353 Plantation Drive. Unfortunately, that address is still incorrect. As I have pointed out to GA-EPD, the spill was Continue reading

Cost of reclassifying Georgia rivers from Fishing to Recreational in Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards

Recently I was asked if there would be water monitoring costs to cities or counties because of upgrading our main Suwannee River Basin waters in Georgia from Fishing to Recreational, as we have requested in Georgia’s Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards. Here’s the answer, as best I could determine. And how you can help. For those who wonder why upgrade from Fishing to Recreational, please see the previous blog post.

[Satellite Map]
WWALS Satellite Map of landing in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia

Specifically the question was: would reclassifying rivers or swamp from Fishing to Recreational cause cities or counties to have to spend more money on water quality monitoring, specifically if a wastewater treatment plant had a spill, more money on water quality sampling afterwards?

The brief answer is: probably not.

Recently, I asked James A. Capp, Chief, Watershed Protection Branch, EPD. He said that for that case, there should be no change, because sampling after a spill is determined mostly by the number of gallons spilled.

Let me use some NPDES permits I have on hand to illustrate.

Here is the language in NPDES Permit No. GA0020222 for Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, first about number of gallons, then about the required sampling. Continue reading

Training, Water Quality Testing 2019-09-14

Update 2019-09-07: Link to signup.

Volunteers for testing, you can get trained at this chemical and Bacteriological water testing training for Georgia Adopt-A-Stream standards by our local trainers. Already-trained trainers, here’s your chance to get a refresher to extend your certification for another year.

Yes, we can test in Florida and put the results in the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream database. For results to be actionable in Florida does require additional Florida training.

When: 9AM, Saturday, September 14, 2019

Where: SGRC, 327 W Savannah Ave., Valdosta, GA 31601

Event: facebook, meetup

[Julie, rope, Bobby, bucket]
Photo: John S. Quarterman, Julie Shutters, rope, Bobby McKenzie, bucket, Onemile Branch in Drexel Park, Valdosta, GA, 2018-09-16

If you want to get trained, please sign up so we will know how many are coming.

Please be prepared to start testing regularly after you are trained.

Thanks to Julie Shutters of Golden Triangle RC&D for previous trainings. Since we got local trainers trained back in May, they will be conducting this training: Continue reading

Valdosta sewage sign, golf course, Valdosta Country Club, Stillhouse Branch 2019-08-23

Friday we found the warning sign on the Valdosta Country Club green for the Wednesday force main sewage spill, thanks to Valdosta Utilities Environmental Manager Scott Fowler, who told me where it was. Sara Jay has tested downstream for WWALS, and maybe we can get the Valdosta water quality testing data, as well. Although there is some ambiguity as to which way downstream is.

[Sewage Spill]
Sewage Spill

“It stinks,” said a man on a golf cart on the green, as I was taking pictures. Continue reading

Valdosta Sewage spill into Stillhouse Branch, Withlacoochee River 2019-08-21

Credit for telling the public, but no credit for a very vague report, in the latest sewage spill in the City of Valdosta.

Every address on Plantation Drive is in the 3300 block, so that locates the spill only within 4,000 feet. Valdosta does know the name of that “local stream,” which is Stillhouse Branch, and where it goes, which is into the Withlacoochee River, upstream from US 41 and Langdale Park.

[Plantation Drive]
Plantation Drive

By “on a golf course” we can deduce the spill must have been Continue reading

Valdosta sewer spill into Onemile Branch, Drexel Park 2019-08-03

Why do we get to find out in the newspaper Tuesday about a Saturday sewage spill that just “occurred”, and didn’t even show up in GA-EPD’s online Sewage Spill Reports until after the newspaper was printed and distributed? Rest assured it’s not Valdosta’s responsibility, according to Valdosta.

[Pipe under bridge by apartments]
Pipe under bridge by apartments

Katelyn Umholtz, Valdosta Daily Times, 5 August 2019, Sewer spill occurs near Drexel Park, Continue reading