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.
Thanks, GA-EPD, for another very useful online dataset: GOMAS, the Georgia Environmental Monitoring and Assessment System, with a plethora of water data.
GOMAS seems to have all the water quality data reported by permitted wastewater facilities throughout the state, including some not required, apparently including at least some of Valdosta’s creek monitoring data.
GOMAS lets you find locations with data either Continue reading
Attendees from the Suwannee River Basin were the majority at the first public meeting about Georgia EPD’s revisions to its Nonpoint Source Management Plan. Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman attended, as did Erica McLelland and Julie Shutters.
April 26, 2019Continue reading
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 2019-05-01: The WWALS comment letter.
As usual, the closest public meeting to the biggest city in the Suwannee River Basin is two hours away, this time in Dawson, Georgia. Received Monday via email. The documents attached are on the WWALS website.
When: Friday, March 29, 2019 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Where: 152 N. Main Street, Dawson, GA
EPD Watershed Protection Branch
We asked the state of Georgia to upgrede our main Suwannee River Basin rivers (and some lakes and swamps) from their current lowest water quality classification as Fishing to what they really are: Recreational Use. You can help!
Every three years, federal law requires each state to review its water quality standards. 2019 is such a year for Georgia, so the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) is conducting a Triennial Review. The request WWALS sent to GA-EPD, background, and their response are all on the WWALS website. Our request was rather long, with 23 pages asking for reclassification of the Suwannee River, the Okefenokee Swamp, the Alapaha River, Lake Irma, Banks Lake, Grand Bay, the Withlacoochee River, the Little River, and Reed Bingham State Park Lake, all from Fishing to Recreational Use. The WWALS cover letter is included at the end of this blog post. For the rest, see the WWALS website.
It turns out Valdosta can schedule a workshop for elected officials to meet with the Valdosta City Council, as the the dozen downstream Florida counties previously requested.
Emma Wheeler, WCTV, 7 March 2019, Task force looks to curb Valdosta sewage spills,
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) — Communities continue to push for more prevention of spills at Valdosta’s wastewater treatment system.
Several North Florida counties down the river from Valdosta formed a task force last year to try and protect local waterways. The group is now hoping the states can step in to help.
Counties across North Florida and South Georgia are making it a priority to protect the rivers. The task force has passed a Continue reading
FERC being short a Commissioner does not stop the rubberstamp machine, this time for the Albany, GA, and Dunnellon, FL, Compressor Stations, both to start construction in May 2019. Sabal Trail requested Phase II in mid-January, and FERC’s John Peconom authorized it by the end of the month.Continue reading
Valdosta Utilities naturally painted as rosy a picture as possible, and newspapers have limited space, so here is the rest of the story about Valdosta wastewater at the Suwannee River Water Management District board meeting last Tuesday. SRWMD Chair Virginia H. Johns understands the stigma, and Board Member Virginia Sanchez spelled it out:
“You don’t want to swim in a little sewage versus a lot of sewage either. Both of them are bad. A spill is bad.”
Featured in this post, drawing from the WWALS videos of all the relevant speakers, are Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse, who talked about the catch basin Valdosta is digging, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, who filled in many pieces omitted by Valdosta and FDEP, and Hamilton County resident Jim McBrayer, who got the attention of the SRWMD board by saying there was E. coli in his well and SRWMD should know where it came from, plus especially the very participatory SRWMD board, who made it pretty clear to FDEP they wanted data by their next meeting, and they wanted Valdosta to move along in fixing their problems in less than a hundred years.
Let’s not forget Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, who pointed out something Valdosta doesn’t want to hear: it’s the stigma of sewage spills that is the big problem they are causing. For sure we need to find out what the specific health and other effects are of Valdosta sewage and other contamination on river water and nearby wells. But the stigma of Valdosta sewage goes far beyond that.
Who in Georgia spilled how much sewage where and when? For example, SRWMD board members wanted to know how does Valdosta compare to the rest of Georgia? So that everyone can see, here are all the sewage spills reported to GA-EPD for the calendar years 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Depicted here is an excerpt, since all 4,577 rows would be a bit much to show. Follow the link for the entire HTML table.
Valdosta happens to show only a small spill in this excerpt. Or does it? Since when is Valdosta Continue reading