Tag Archives: Stew Lilker

EPA passes the buck to GA-EPD for Valdosta raw sewage spill 2020-01-31

The EPA took weeks to write to WWALS to confirm less than what it said in the January 8, 2019 meeting in Madison, Florida:


      220 years to fix? Need better oversight --Brannan, EPA
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, still from WWALS Video, Madison, Florida, of Carol L. Kemker, Director, Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division, and others.

In Georgia, the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has authority for establishing procedures for how permitted utilities are to respond during a major spill event. The EPA has delegated permitting authority to the state under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Program (NPDES). However, the EPA does maintain a state oversight role. After the sewage spill into the Withlacoochee, the EPA reached out to EPD to ensure the spill’s cause was properly addressed and notification procedures were followed. The EPA continues to work with EPD to reduce the possibility of future spills from Valdosta into the Withlacoochee River.

No detail was included in the EPA Region 4 letter to WWALS as to how the spill’s cause was to be addressed, or why notification procedures were the only other topic worth mentioning. EPA Region 4’s response says nothing about water quality testing, tracking procedures, alternative water supply, water well testing cost reimbursement, wildlife on land and water, underground plumes of contamination, or an educational campaign; all topics listed in the WWALS letter to which EPA is replying.

Apparently it took a week for the email I forwarded to EPA Region 4 on December 17th to get there on December 23, 2019. Then it took another month for EPA to send a paper reply letter in fancy packaging.

EPA also recommended: Continue reading

Two thirds of SRWMD Board half there 2019-09-18

It was surprisingly interactive meeting, with the Board members repeatedly questioning staff about multiple projects, sometimes taking up points raised from the audience. One Board Member even stopped a project. Yet half the rump board was not visible, being on the telephone, and the Budget Public Hearing may or may not have been legal.

Nestlé Water Withdrawal Permits

At the rescheduled September SRWMD Board meeting, OSFR President Mike Roth questioned the validity of the permitting process for Nestlé’s proposed 1.2 million gallon per day water withdrawal from Ginnie Springs on the Santa Fe River, since the actual application is from Seven Springs, which proposes to sell the water to Nestlé, which is not a use authorized by Florida Statutes.

[OSFR President]
OSFR President

I seconded that, and added that the SRWMD Board should revisit Nestlé’s permit for water withdrawal at Madison Blue Springs on the Withlacoochee River, since Florida Statutes to authorize them to do that.

You can comment to SRWMD about Nestlé’s permits.

Photo: Jim Tatum for OSFR, of Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman
Photo: Jim Tatum for OSFR, of Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman

Afterwards, SRWMD’s Tom Mirti told me the $70,000 contract with SRWMD for Nestlé to support springs water quality monitoring is required by the Nestlé permit for Madison Blue Spring, even though it has to be negotiated separately. Apparently yet another open records request is needed.

Invisible and Missing Board Members

Continue reading

Conversations with Noah Valenstein, E.D., SRWMD in Columbia County 2016-02-04

It’s not for shipping water to Jacksonville, it’s not much changed from last year, no money is allocated for it yet, and people should get involved in the process, said Noah Valenstein, the new Executive Director of the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD), in answer to questions from Jim Tatum and Merillee Malwitz-Jipson of Our Santa Fe River (OSFR) and me about the Falling Creek Aquifer Recharge Project at the Columbia County Commission meeting last Thursday, 4 February 2016. Plus Sabal Trail, Amtrak and that chicken farm.

Movie: Noah Valenstein, E.D., SRWMD (6.9M)

Valenstein answered Jim during the Commission meeting. See also Jim’s report for OSFR. I stayed afterwards and had a longer discussion with Valenstein. Some notes from memory: Continue reading

Noah Valenstein, SRWMD E.D. @ Columbia County, FL Commission

He answered a few questions about Falling Creek Aquifer Recharge.

See Questions to SRWMD Director for context. More detail to come.

-jsq

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

Questions to SRWMD Director at Columbia County Commission –Columbia County News 2016-02-04

The Columbia County News has made it easier to ask questions, especially about a very expensive river and aquifer project.

When: 5:30 PM Thursday 4 February 2016

Where: Columbia BOCC
372 West Duval Street
Lake City, Florida

What: Why is the SRMD board going to vote next week on sucking up Suwannee River water through a 48″ pipe to Falling Creek Park in an Aquifer Recharge scheme?

Stew Lilker, Columbia County News, 3 February 2016, Suwannee River Water Management Chief at the County 5 Thursday Night: Questions Accepted,

It has been said that fresh clean water is Continue reading