Tag Archives: groundwater

GA-EPD: Twin Pines massive submittals short on analysis, incomplete, not sufficient, and wetland impacts not temporary 2019-12-05

“We reiterate our concern and position that an appropriate project review for 401 water quality certification is not yet possible since complete substantive and important information about the proposed hydrogeologic effects of this project relative to the surrounding landscape has not yet been submitted by the applicant. …So substantial, so massive, so transformative is the effect to wetlands contemplated at the Twin Pines site that you no longer have in place the original wetland to be impacted.” The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) wrote that to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in response to the thousands of pages of low-level data but only a few pages of analysis that Twin Pines Minerals (TPM) has sent those agencies.

Twin Pines Minerals is still failing to hoist its burden of proof that its propsosed titanium strip mine would not jeopardize this national treasure, the Okefenokee Swamp, the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers.

[Tribal Grounds west along GA 94 to TPM equipment, 12:38:38, 30.5257540, -82.0411100]
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, of Tribal Grounds west along GA 94 to TPM equipment, 12:38:38, 30.5257540, -82.0411100, on Southwings flight, pilot Allen Nodorft, 2019-10-05.
See also pictures from that flight by Wayne Morgan.

Maybe the City of Folkston and Charlton County Development Authority (CCDA) might want to rethink its assertion in the Charlton County Herald that “We would not support anything that would jeopardize this national treasure.” GA-EPD’s opinion is much like what U.S. EPA said, that the mine would have “substantial and unacceptable impact”.

CCDA wrote, Continue reading

VSU Geology and ASA at Land Between the Rivers 2019-11-26

Two Geology Professors visited The Land Between the Rivers and wrote a letter about many projects they and their students can do there, at the site of Troupville Boat Ramp. This is more in-kind match for the GOSP grant pre-application.

[Prof. Don Thieme & Can Denizman, 13:30:33, 30.8515417, -83.3452859]
Prof. Don Thieme & Can Denizman, 13:30:33, 30.8515417, -83.3452859

Letter from Donald M. Thieme, Associate Professor, Geology, Valdosta State University (VSU):

[Donald M. Thieme, Associate Professor, Geology, VSU]
Donald M. Thieme, Associate Professor, Geology, VSU
PDF

I am very pleased and excited about the proposal by WWALS to develop the Troupville River Camp. The property in question is Continue reading

Suwannee Riverkeeper asks Georgia EPD to require Valdosta to do better about its record sewage spill 2019-12-17

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, December 19, 2019 — Compelled by the severity of Valdosta’s record raw sewage spill and the expenses and stigma incurred nearby and downstream, Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS Watershed Coalition has sent a letter requesting ten enforcment actions to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD). WWALS member Deanna Mericle of Hamilton County, Florida, summed it up: “As a person living downstream on the Withlacoochee River in Florida, I feel shat upon by Valdosta over and over. I cannot drink the water from my well. I worry about the health of the river itself and the animals that live in it and drink from it. We in Florida were patient while Valdosta was improving their wastewater plant, which apparently was not adequate since we still have spills when it rains heavily. But this time it was not a rain event. It was gross negligence. I am out of patience. I believe it is time for legal action.”

The Suwannee Riverkeeper letter notes GA-EPD already has a legal action against Valdosta, a Consent Order. WWALS asks GA-EPD to use its enforcement power to require notification, water quality testing, education, and plans and procedures not only for preventing such spills but also for tracking them as they travel down our creeks and rivers and for remediation of effects on wells and reputation.

[2019-12-17--WWALS-GA-EPD-Valdosta-sewage-0001]
2019-12-17–WWALS-GA-EPD-Valdosta-sewage-0001

“Valdosta says it does what GA-EPD tells it to do, so we’re asking GA-EPD to tell them,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Today we’re forwarding the letter to Continue reading

U.S. EPA still finds Twin Pines mine will have a substantial and unacceptable impact 2019-10-03

U.S. EPA still finds that “the proposed project will have a substantial and unacceptable impact on aquatic resources of national importance.”

That’s about “the permit application submitted by Twin Pines Minerals, LLC” for a titanium strip mine. “The proposed 2,414-acre mine area lies in proximity to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), and the potential secondary effects of the mine on the NWR have not been demonstrated by the permit applicant.”

You, too, can still comment to the USACE, and all comments they receive before the Corps announces a decision can be used in any potential lawsuits.

[the proposed project will have a substantial and unacceptable impact on aquatic resources of national importance.]
the proposed project will have a substantial and unacceptable impact on aquatic resources of national importance.

The previous letter from EPA to USACE, of Continue reading

GA-EPD cites Suwannee Riverkeeper and US EPA against TPM titanium mine near Okefenokee Swamp 2019-09-12

GA-EPD told USACE the mining application is incomplete, asked for comments to be reopened, and cited Suwannee Riverkeeper and Georgia River Network:

“Understanding that groundwater hydrologic effects associated with the Twin Pines project have been a central concern expressed by federal resource/regulatory agencies, NGOs (e.g. the Suwannee Riverkeeper and Georgia River Network), and the public at large, we respectfully submit that the 404/401 permit application as submitted thus far is not complete since it lacks full information and findings regarding hydrogeologic factors on site and post-project effects to hydrogeology/groundwater. We feel that it is inappropriate and premature to close the project comment window when such notable elements of the environmental documentation for this project have not yet been made available. documentation which we at GaEPD judge to be important to our review of this project.”

[the 404/401 permit application as submitted thus far is not complete]
the 404/401 permit application as submitted thus far is not complete

This was revealed by USACE in a Public Notice of September 17, 2019. So far, this is the only update posted by the Corps since it closed comments on September 12, 2019.

It also includes comments by U.S. EPA, also saying the application is incomplete, and also cited by GA-EPD. EPA cites cumulative effects and notes numerous lacking documents and studies. EPA concludes:

“Due to the potential for the proposed Twin Pines Minerals mine to adversely affect the hydrology of the Okefenokee NWR, the EPA believes that there is the potential for this project as proposed to cause adverse effects to water quality and the life stages of aquatic life or other wildlife dependent on aquatic systems. The EPA finds that this project, as proposed, may result in substantial and unacceptable impacts to aquatic resources of national importance, as covered in Part IV. paragraph 3(a) of the August 1992 Memorandum of Agreement between the EPA and the Department of the Army regarding CWA Section 404(q).”

Apparently USACE is at least listening to the public and the public and NGOs such as Suwannee Riverkeeper.

You can still send in comments. The Corps won’t say they will read them, but they explicitly won’t say they won’t read them, so keep sending them in, and publish them on social media, as op-eds, etc. 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

Moody AFB and Lowndes County on U.S. PFAS contamination map 2019-05-06

Should we be proud? Lowndes County and Moody Air Force Base again made it onto a national map of PFAS firefighting foam contamination, as did the Florida State Fire College, Ocala Florida.

[U.S.]
U.S.

The report EWG references for Moody AFB says other Air Force Bases did test off-base wells, unlike Moody AFB.

[Page 01]
Page 01

It says Peterson AFB in Colorado applied for further funds and did further testing and continues mitigation work “on private and public drinking water wells.”

[Southeast U.S.]
Southeast U.S.

The report’s Conclusion includes: “We are addressing DoD’s cleanup responsibility”. Well, that’s refreshing news! I look forward to Moody AFB being the community leader it always is.

[Moody Air Force Base]
Moody Air Force Base

Some of the details on this EWG map are a bit odd, such as Continue reading

The rest of the Valdosta wastewater story at SRWMD 2019-02-12

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:

SRWMD Chair Virginia H. Johns

“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.

Darryl Muse, Utilities Director, Valdosta

In the WWALS video, Continue reading

Videos: Valdosta Wastewater at SRWMD Board 2019-02-12

Update 2019-02-18: The rest of the Valdosta wastewater story at SRWMD 2019-02-12.

The most direct interaction by the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) Board that I’ve ever seen, yesterday, when Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse came to explain what Valdosta has done and is doing to stop its sewage spills. Neither the board nor the audience seemed satisfied.

[Movie: Darryl Muse, Utilities Director, Valdosta (1458M)]
Movie: Darryl Muse, Utilities Director, Valdosta (1458M)

Stay tuned for another post about some of what was said. Meanwhile, below are links to each WWALS video of each speaker or agenda item, with a few notes. These WWALS videos are under a Creative Commons Attribution license, which means you can use them, provide you cite the source, which is WWALS. There are a few more pictures on the WWALS website. See also the agenda. For background and data, see: Continue reading

Phosphate mines on agenda, Gilchrist BOCC, 2018-06-18

Mike Roth, president of Our Santa Fe River, requests:

On Monday, June 18, at the Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners meeting in Trenton which starts at 4PM, we will get the opportunity to appeal to the Board to issue a “letter of concern” regarding the phosphate mine applied for in Bradford and Union Counties. As you certainly know, OSFR has stood in opposition to this mine on the grounds that it is a substantial threat to the health of the Santa Fe River and to all those who live by the river and all those who use the river recreationally. Further, it threatens the aquifer that is recharged by the river and as such, anyone and anything that uses groundwater.

When: 4PM (hearing 4:45 PM), Monday, June 18, 2018

Where: Board of County Commissioners Meeting Facility,
210 South Main Street, Trenton, Florida

What: Letter of concern about HPS II Phosphate Mine in Bradford and Union Counties, Florida

Gilchrist County Commissioners from left to right: Sharon A. Langford, Kenrick Thomas, Todd Gray, D Ray Harrison, Jr., and Marion Poitevint
Gilchrist County Commissioners from left to right: Sharon A. Langford, Kenrick Thomas, Todd Gray, D Ray Harrison, Jr., and Marion Poitevint

Gilchrist County is downstream Continue reading