Tag Archives: spill

OK Withlacoochee River Quality, sewage spill Suwannee, FL, Suwannee River 2020-09-17

On the Withlacoochee River, for yesterday (Thursday, September 17, 2020), WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach got excellent results at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, and Madison Health got good results at the GA-FL line and at the usual two places in Florida (CR 150 and FL 6).

Valdosta has reported good results upstream for Monday and Wednesday for US 41 and US 84. Not so good on Fecal coliform at GA 133 Wednesday, but still acceptable on E. coli.

So all the WWALS Withlacoochee River “beaches” remain green on Swim Guide. Happy boating, swimming, and fishing this weekend, so far as we know! Do be aware there was significant rain upstream, which could wash things into the rivers.

Not so good news at the bottom of the Suwannee River. The town of Suwannee, Florida, had a sewage spill. But there’s good news even for that: it was tiny (25-50 gallons) and did not last long.

[Chart and Map]
Chart and Map

Thanks to FDEP for the email alert for the Pollution Notice below, received at 10:10 AM this morning.

Hurricane Sally did not cause any other Continue reading

WWALS Summary of FDEP chemical and biological tracers, Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers 2020-08-05

Here are the chemical tracer and DNA marker test results by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) that WWALS has frequently mentioned, for example in Current Situation of Water Quality Testing, Suwannee River Basin 2020-08-02.

Below, please also find a summary of those results by WWALS Science Committee Chair Dr. Thomas Potter.

[Human and Ruminant DNA markers]
Human and Ruminant DNA markers

Thanks to Katrina Yancey of FDEP for sending the data, and for acknowledging that FDEP has no objection to WWALS publishing it. I asked FDEP for whatever they wanted to include, and this is what they sent:

“Thank you for asking, we recently set up our new site so it may be helpful to state that more information may be found at DEP’s webpage for the Suwannee River Basin Sampling Locations (https://floridadep.gov/dear/watershed-monitoring-section/content/suwannee-river-basin-sampling-locations).”

The actual data is on the WWALS website.

WWALS Summary of FDEP chemical and biological tracer measurements
on Withlacoochee and Suwannee River samples

Dr. Thomas Potter, WWALS Science Committee Chair

After Continue reading

Open manhole lawsuits

The City of Valdosta is lucky nobody fell into that open manhole it says is part of manhole rehabilitation. That manhole is next to the Azalea Trail where whole families with small children walk, and on Valdosta State University property next to the VSU Recreation Center.

[Manhole dug down]
Manhole dug down

Mario Cattabiani, RossFellerCasey, 20 March 2014, $85 Million Verdict For Student Who Fell Into Open Manhole,

Founding partner Matt Casey argued in court that defendant Trigen-Philadelphia Energy Corp. failed to properly secure the manhole, which had been removed by a homeless man shortly before Gustafsson happened by that fateful day. The trial lasted three weeks, featured thousands of documents and a closing scene that played out as if written in a Hollywood script. As the jury was set to return a verdict, at literally the last minute, the insurer offered to settle the case for $10 million—a sum Casey, in consultation with his client, rejected. Just moments later, the jury awarded the former promising medical student $85 million.

McAleer Law Firm, 21 April 2020, A Plaintiff’s Evidentiary Burden in Georgia Personal Injury Lawsuits against the Government

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in an appeal from a judgment in favor of a plaintiff in her lawsuit against the City of Atlanta. The woman filed a lawsuit to recover for damages she incurred after driving into an open manhole. The woman contended that the government should be liable for her injuries because the manhole was a public nuisance. The city appealed a jury finding in favor of the woman, arguing that the woman did not meet her evidentiary burden.

Under Georgia law, a municipality “may be held liable for damages it causes to a third party from the operation or maintenance of a nuisance, irrespective of whether it is exercising a governmental or municipal function.” To recover for damages plaintiffs must present evidence that: Continue reading

Avoid sewage spills: no wipes in the pipes 2020-05-06

Nobody wants any more sewage spills because of Fats Oils and Grease (FOG) or blue gloves or sanitary wipes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

[Pumper on Cherry Creek Church Road]
Pumper on Cherry Creek Church Road

Valdosta Utilities apparently cleaned up this one in April off of Bemiss Road before it could get into Cherry Creek, since the bacterial sample I took showed very little E. coli. Here’s a Valdosta press release and video on how to prevent such spills.

City issues reminder: “No wipes in the pipes”

The City of Valdosta is asking residents to avoid flushing sanitation wipes even if the package states they are flushable! Paper towels and facial tissues also should not be flushed in local sewer lines as people practice guidelines to combat the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. While the “flushable” wipes concern is not new to wastewater facilities, there is an increased risk to our system recently. Continue reading

Response: Valdosta says it is manhole rehabilitation at One Mile Branch near Sustella Ave. 2020-06-04

Other than to wonder how 9:24 AM (when I asked) to 8:42 PM (when I posted the previous) adds up to a “5.5-6 hour window”, I am posting this exactly as received at 11:40 AM today. -jsq

[Inside manhole]
Inside manhole


Darryl Muse
Attachments
11:40 AM (3 hours ago)
to Scott, Scott, Ashlyn, Tim, Mark, me

Mr. Quarterman, On yesterday the Department, including Mr. Fowler were in the field preparing for anticipated significant rain events over the next several days. As a result, there was no response within the 5.5-6 hour window you noted in your email. Included in this reply is your email to Mr. Fowler so we all can be on the same page as it relates to your request.

Continue reading

One Mile Branch Sewage Spill @ Sustella Ave., VSU 2020-06-02

Update 2020-06-04: Response: Valdosta says it is manhole rehabilitation at One Mile Branch near Sustella Ave. 2020-06-04

Scotti Jay smelled a sewer spill. He found an open manhole, a bunch of hoses, and tracks of large trucks, presumably Valdosta Utilities pumper trucks. We don’t know, because Valdosta has not answered an inquiry from this morning.

[Hose and manhole]
Hose and manhole

This is on Onemile Branch behind the Valdosta State University (VSU) Recreation Center, downstream from Sustella Ave.

The good news from Sara Jay’s water quality testing: she got Continue reading

Clean Withlacoochee River until next big rain 2020-05-05

2020-05-13: A clean week, Withlacoochee River 2020-05-08.

More good news! The Withlacoochee River is still clean. Of course, all these posts are advisory, because conditions can change at any time, it takes 24 hours to process a sample, and everyone’s reactions are different to E. coli and other pollution.

We can guess the Suwannee River is clean, although nobody is testing it, and it seems to have its own sources of contamination.

This clean spell will probably last until the next big rain, which may be some weeks away. So now’s a good time to get out there on our rivers, where you can easily stay 50 feet apart on the water and six feet on land.

WWALS continues water quality testing, and you can help.

[State Line Boat Ramp]
State Line Boat Ramp Photos: Suzy Hall, downstream, John S. Quarterman of 2019 WWALS Boomerang paddle race, and of Waterkeepers Florida toast to Earth Day, all at State Line Boat Ramp.

We’re even thinking of taking down our yellow diamond Caution signs for now.

[Clean with no rain]
Clean with no rain
For context see wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Thanks to Madison Health for the most recent results, from Continue reading

Comments open on Georgia call for Valdosta to pay six-figure fine for spilling sewage in river –Georgia Recorder

‘“I commend EPD for doing an order that’s better than I expected, better than a lot of people expected” [Suwannee Riverkeeper John S.] Quarterman said. “There’s still room for improvement.”’

You can comment on the consent order by Wednesday, May 27, 2020, to:
Mr. Lewis Hays, Manager, Watershed Compliance,
Georgia Environmental Protection Division
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SE, Suite 1152 East
Atlanta, GA 30334
Lewis.Hays@dnr.ga.gov
404-463-4953

[Green at the Confluence]
Sara Jones with the Suwannee Riverkeeper prepares to test the water at the Withlacoochee River following a December sewage spill. A Georgia Environmental Protection Division consent order calls for the city of Valdosta to pay a $122,000 fine for sewage spills and permit violations. Scotti Jones

Stanley Dunlap, Georgia Recorder, 5 May 2020, State calls for Valdosta to pay six-figure fine for spilling sewage in river,

The city of Valdosta is facing a $122,000 fine for spilling raw sewage into a creek that flows into a south Georgia river that runs downstream into Florida’s Suwannee River and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico.

The proposed settlement with the state’s Environmental Protection Division is for Continue reading

Valdosta fined for spills in GA-EPD Enforcement Order 2020-04-27

Update 2020-05-04: Press Release, Three weeks to comment on GA-EPD Valdosta wastewater Consent Order.

Update 2020-05-03: The entire GA-EPD Enforcement Order for Valdosta wastewater with fine 2020-04-13.

GA-EPD is fining Valdosta this time, for the first time ever. The persistent rumors from multiple sources were right about that.

Before anyone complains that the taxpayers will have to pay that fine, remember Valdosta has insurance, and so does the contractor that left the Remer Lane Pump Station offline back in December 2019, causing Valdosta’s biggest single spill since 2015.

[Spill and Remer Lane Pump Station]
Spill and Remer Lane Pump Station

And if the fine does get passed through to the taxpayers, maybe that will be incentive for the people of Valdosta to demand their city government stop spilling, by at least doing all the things this new Enforcement Order requires.

There is a comment period that opened Monday, April 27, 2020 through Wednesday, May 27, 2020. That’s right, Monday, and we only found out about it today, Friday Thursday. Thanks to GA-EPD for alerting us to this notice. The City of Valdosta doesn’t seem to have published anything about it.

If the actual Enforcement Order is online somewhere, can somebody please point me to it. Without that, I don’t know how anyone can comment coherently. I have filed an open records request with GA-EPD to get it.

[Notice]
Notice

This is apparently the Order that the U.S. EPA told us back on January 8, 2020, to expect “in weeks, not months.” Well, ten weeks or 2.5 months is better than never.

Let’s look at the “Requirements of Order“: Continue reading

Sewage spill, Cherry Creek, Valdosta, FOG 2020-04-09

Sewage ran down the ditch from Bemiss Road down Cherry Creek Church Road on Thursday, but there is good news about that.

[Pumping]
Pumping

This is why you don’t want to be flushing any old thing down the drain. Continue reading