Tag Archives: Lowndes County

Still clean in GA 2020-01-16

Yesterday Suwannee Riverkeeper decided to go ahead with the Mayor’s Paddle today. Come on down to Troupville Boat Ramp at 9AM this morning. That’s I-75 exit 18, St. Augustine Road, GA 133. Go west towards Moultrie. At the sign for Val Tech Road, turn left, down to the boat ramp. More detail here. You do not even have to paddle; you can just come and see us off.

[Sampled]
Sampled at US 84.

I made that decision, in conjunction with the WWALS Testing and Outings Committees, because of the water quality test results by Sara Jay and John S. Quarterman for WWALS, and the test results from Lowndes County. Valdosta did nothing to help test before their Mayor paddles today. Continue reading

Mostly clean in Georgia, not in Florida, Withlacoochee River 2020-01-15

The Mayor’s Paddle is still a go for tomorrow (Saturday), according to results from Lowndes County and WWALS for Wednesday, January 15, 2020.

[Valdosta caution sign gone]
Valdosta caution sign gone at Troupville Boat Ramp

From way up at US 41 (North Valdosta Road), all the way to Saturday’s takeout, Spook Bridge (thanks, Langdale Company), WWALS got results well within state water quality standards.

[2020-01-15 GA green, FL red]
2020-01-15 GA green, FL red
The entire spreadsheet is on the WWALS website.

For Knights Ferry and Nankin Boat Ramps, Lowndes County got Continue reading

Georgia Department of Health can’t or won’t do as much as FDOH 2020-01-07

Georgia Department of Public Health (GA-DPH) was not informed by Valdosta of the December 2019 raw sewage spill; so far as I know, I was the first to tell DPH, as Suwannee Riverkeeper. Lowndes County Environmental Health did then offer free water well testing, for both Lowndes and Brooks Counties, Georgia.

However, DPH itself does not test river water, and was not asked by Valdosta to help advise the public of river contamination. DPH does not have authority to compell Valdosta to test or plant warning signs. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) does have such authority.

This is all in marked contrast to the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), which was informed by Valdosta, did put out three sequential warnings, and has been testing the Withlacoochee River. Seems like we need to get some policies or laws changed in Georgia.

[DPH was not notified of Valdosta sewage spill]
DPH was not notified of Valdosta sewage spill

For his speedy and informative response, I’d like to thank Continue reading

Recent water quality test results, Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers 2020-01-11

Update 2020-01-15: Georgia Department of Health can’t or won’t do as much as FDOH 2020-01-07.

The Withlacoochee River still looks clean for the Mayor’s Paddle from Troupville Boat Ramp to Spook Bridge this Saturday.

SRWMD actually tested upstream from there last Wednesday at GA 133. SRWMD’s and FDEP’s test at US 84, Knights Ferry, and State Line Boat Ramp (GA 31) were also clean that day, and the next day FDOH tested at GA 31 and still found it clean. Suzy Hall tested for WWALS this Saturday, and found Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps clean.

[Most recent contamination]
Most recent contamination

The not so good news is that the most recent FDOH tests in Florida, Continue reading

Signs in Georgia on Withlacoochee River and new data; thanks Lowndes County and SRWMD 2020-01-10

Update 2020-01-14: Recent water quality test results, Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers 2020-01-11

There are two warning signs at each of Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps as of yesterday: by Lowndes County, and by WWALS. According to new data from Wednesday evening, those signs may not have been necessary, but at this point better safe than sorry. The new data did not come from Valdosta, nor did the signs.

[County and WWALS warning signs]
Photo: John S. Quarterman, County and WWALS warning signs at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, 2020-01-10

Thanks to Lowndes County and Chairman Bill Slaughter for testing at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, and for making and planting those tall metal caution signs after the county numbers for Monday, January 6, 2020, were quite high. The county is now doing weekly testing, including at additional locations.

Just in case, WWALS also made signs and placed them. Continue reading

Avoid Withlacoochee River from Knights Ferry to Confluence with Suwannee River 2020-01-08

Update 2020-01-11: Signs in Georgia on Withlacoochee River and new data; thanks Lowndes County and SRWMD 2020-01-10.

It would be prudent to avoid contact with the Withlacoochee River from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp all the way to the Suwannee River, due to test results from Lowndes County, Georgia, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

[Avoid red area]
Avoid red area.
WWALS Map of Landings in the Suwannee River Basin.

The problem access points would seem to include Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, Nankin Boat Ramp, and State Line Boat Ramp in Georgia, and in Florida Sullivan Launch, Florida Campsites Ramp, Madison Blue Spring, Madison Boat Ramp, and Allen Ramp on the Withlacoochee River. I believe Hamilton County also has a warning sign upstream on the Suwannee River at Suwannee River Campsites. There’s a sign at Madison Blue Spring, and I’d bet there’s one at Suwannee River State Park Ramp. There will be signs in Georgia today, one way or another.

Here is an excerpt from the latest FDEP data, received this morning. The entire updated FDEP spreadsheet is Continue reading

Valdosta Catch Basin Plans for WWTP 2019-09-01

Here are the plans for the new catch basin at the entrance of Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) (see also PDF), obtained via open records request from Valdosta. At least we finally know how big it is: 7.26 million gallons. But is that big enough?

[FORWARD FLOW SCHEMATIC]
FORWARD FLOW SCHEMATIC

The catch basin is a good idea, and I commend Valdosta on implementing it. However: Continue reading

Valdosta Sewage Public Meeting, Valdosta City Hall Annex, 2020-01-08

Update 2020-01-05: Earlier this same Wednesday: Florida Sen. Bill Montford hosting Valdosta sewage public meeting in Madison, FL 2020-01-08.

A Special Called Meeting of the Valdosta City Council, about Valdosta’s record-largest raw sewage spill in December 2019, and what to do going forward. Attendees will include the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council (presumably its Task Force on this subject), and apparently GA-EPD, EPA, FDEP, SRWMD, and of course Suwannee Riverkeeper. It is a public meeting, so anyone can attend. If it’s run like previous such meetings, anyone can ask questions. We have plenty. I hope you do, too.

When: 6 PM, Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Where: General Purpose Room, Valdosta City Hall Annex, 300 North Lee Street, Valdosta, GA 31601

Event: facebook


“What storm events keep you up at night?” Alachua County Commissioner Ken Cornell asked Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse, 2019-10-07.

Continue reading

Valdosta sewage from Sugar Creek to Florida 2019-01-01

Update 2020-01-03 Valdosta Sewage Public Meeting, Valdosta City Hall Annex, 2020-01-08.

You can see Valdosta’s sewage going down the Withlacoochee River as the high red numbers in these composite tables WWALS has cobbled together from various data sources (all acknowledged below).

Early on, the sewage apparently mostly sat in Sugar Creek downstream from the spill site, due to low water and no rain.

[Early (12/10-12/18)]
Early (12/10-12/18)

Most of the Georgia numbers in above table are from Valdosta Utilities data. The ones marked with a W are WWALS data using the Georgia Adopt-a-Stream 3M Petrifilms method.

Fecal coliform numbers started dropping in Sugar Creek at Gornto Road on December 14, and were much more acceptable by December 15 and 16th. Where did the sewage go? Continue reading

Rhonda Kelly with the WWALS raffle kayak she won 2019-12-10

After she called the WWALS kayak raffle winner, Rhonda Kelly, from Griffis Fish Camp on the Suwannee River, WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman delivered the kayak to Rhonda’s place of business in Valdosta.

[Rhonda Kelly with the kayak she won in the WWALS raffle]
Rhonda Kelly with the kayak she won in the WWALS raffle

It’s a Perception Swifty Deluxe 95 Angler Sit Inside Kayak. Thanks again to Eileen Box for donating the kayak for the raffle.

We hope to see Rhonda on upcoming paddles. Thank you to everyone who supported this fundraiser. Your contribution makes a difference for our programs and advocacy.

So, anybody got a kayak to donate for the next raffle?

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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