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.
Fecal coliform in Onemile Branch was way above the Georgia state limit of 200, in Valdosta’s followup water quality monitoring after their spill of more than 100,000 gallons of raw sewage at Wainwright Drive, just downstream from Valdosta State University.
We know this because, in response to a Georgia Open Records Act request from WWALS, Alys Hannum of GA-EPD sent this data, on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. She wrote: Continue reading
Update 2019-01-22: Yes, that’s the same day as the 4PM meeting in Lake City, Florida of the Task Force of the downstream counties. Since each county only has one Task Force delegate, maybe they can send other people to the Valdosta City Council meeting. Or, if Valdosta is too far for you, maybe you’d like to go to Lake City Thursday.
WWALS Watershed Coalition board member Eileen Box invited downstream counties and residents to come speak to the Valdosta City Council this Thursday. Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman added, “Every Valdosta City Council agenda has Citizens to be Heard. They’re tired of hearing from me about sewage spills. Maybe if some of the affected parties downstream spoke to them directly they would notice. Come on up and give it a try!“
Photo: Jamie Wachter, Suwannee Democrat, Youtube video, 2019-01-14.
Jamie Wachter, Suwannee Democrat, January 16, 2019, ‘IT’S A SHAME’ Residents, officials share wastewater spill concerns with legislative delegation,
[Eileen] Box, who is a board member of the Suwannee Riverkeeper, said North Florida residents may need to expand the reach of their complaints. She said those concerns need to be directed at the people who can do something about it — the Valdosta City Council.
“If they start hearing from Suwannee County and Hamilton and Madison and all these counties that are affected, when you come and talk, it does have an effect, she said. That may be one little thing that we can do.”
The next Valdosta City Council meeting is this Thursday:
When: 5:30 PM, Thursday, January 24, 2019
Council Chambers, 2nd Floor
Valdosta City Hall
216 East Central Avenue, Valdosta, GA 31601
Good news from GA-EPD! The forty spills reported to Atlanta since our last update included none in the Suwannee River Basin. So, according to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, no spills were reported since mid-September from Valdosta, Lowndes County, Quitman, Tifton, or anywhere else in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia, not even during Hurricane Michael.
Even more surprisingly, no spills were reported from Albany or Bainbridge during this period, despite their lack of power and extensive damage.
Wouldn’t you prefer to get this information updated daily, without waiting for me to pry it loose from GA-EPD and fight with spreadsheets? Your organization can sign up to ask GA-EPD to publish spill reports online the same day they get them.
No spills also does not mean no contamination, so maybe you’d also like to help with the new WWALS water quality testing program.
Here is every spill reported by all the large wastewater permits in the state of Georgia since the beginning of 2015 through this Tuesday, September 18, 2018. It includes spills in the Suwannee River Basin you probably didn’t know about.
If people downstream want to do something about wastewater coming from Georgia, this data suggests two things: insist Georgia publish spill reports online the same day like Florida and Alabama already do. And help fund WWALS water quality testing so we can find out what’s going on and when.
WWALS Science Committee Chair Tom Potter extracted and sorted every spill with an address in Valdosta since the beginning of 2015: Spill-Detail-sorted_Valdosta_2015–2018-09-19. See also web version of this data.
I’ve been asking the City of Valdosta for a list of their spills and locations since at least 2015, and I’ve been collecting reports ad hoc since before then. Finally, we have this list, but not from Valdosta. We had to Continue reading
Here is Lowndes County’s (not Valdosta’s) stream monitoring data for a year after its September 23, 2017 raw sewage spill into a ditch that goes to the Withlacoochee River. The data show often worse water quality upstream than downstream. This is a good illustration of why WWALS is starting a water quality testing program.
These graphs are in Water Reporter, where I put the data under the Suwannee Riverkeeper group. The first two graphs are from below the spill, downstream on the Withlacoochee River at GA 133 (St. Augustine Road).
The other graphs show nothing unusual for blackwater tannic acid rivers. This is the interesting graph, Continue reading
Due to tens of millions of dollars spent by Valdosta, we don’t see spills of tens of millions of gallons anymore. The most obvious Valdosta Sanitary System Improvement is the new, uphill, out of the flood plain, Withlacoochee Wasterwater Treatment Plant, pictured here on Scott Fowler’s office wall at Valdosta Utilities:
The old, now-closed, Withlacoochee WTP was the plant that had the biggest problems back in 2009 and 2013. As found on the City of Valdosta website, the 23 September 2013 Valdosta Consent Order from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division is now also on WWALS website, including I made a web version, from which I extracted the paragraphs quoted below.
This was the original problem: Continue reading
Through November 24, 2017, public comment is open about lead in our Georgia watersheds, in a new proposed Total Maximum Daily Load Evaluation.
Georgia EPD, Proposed TMDLs, 29 September 2017, NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY OF REVISED TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY LOADS FOR WATERS AND POLLUTANTS OF CONCERN IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA, Continue reading
How close to exposed is Sabal Trail’s pipe? This sinkhole is at least a foot deep, maybe two or more, and Sabal Trail only buried their pipe three feet deep, despite requests by Brooks, Colquitt, and Lowndes Counties to bury it deeper.
Is that fill material exposed Continue reading
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hahira, GA, November 11th 2016 — Sabal Trail leaked drilling mud up from their HDD pilot hole into the Withlacoochee River. They knew this before WWALS asked two weeks ago what is that yellow thing in the river? They did not tell WWALS or the public that this thing they testified could not happen did happen. The evidence is in writing from Sabal Trail’s contractor to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
This wasn’t even the actual horizontal directional drilling (HDD) borehole: it was just the smaller pilot hole. What will happen to the Withlacoochee River (or nearby water wells) with the main borehole? What will happen to the Ochlockonee River west of Moultrie, GA? What will happen to the Santa Fe River, where Sabal Trail is drilling now, or the Suwannee River, where it will drill soon, both Outstanding Waters of Florida, supposed to have extra measures of environmental protection? What about the Tallapoosa, Chattahoochee, or the other Withlacoochee (south) River?
“Why should we accept any risk to our waters, or eminent domain to take our lands, for an unnecessary pipeline, now that Continue reading