Tag Archives: US 41

All eight Withlacoochee River landings green 2020-06-14

Update 2020-06-25: Good water quality, Withlacoochee and Alapaha, but recent rains may change that 2020-06-22.

Good news from Suzy Hall’s Sunday sampling for WWALS at Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps, and Valdosta’s Friday results for US 41, GA 133, and US 84: all green, below the average sample limit of 126 cfu/100 mL E. coli! So I’ve set the rest of the eight Withlacoochee River Swim Guide “beaches” to green, after the Florida beaches already went green Saturday.

[Swim Guide Withlacoochee green]
Swim Guide Withlacoochee green
For context and links to the WWALS composite spreadsheet and all its sources, see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Maybe we should take the WWALS yellow diamond Caution signs back down at Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps.

[Nankin Boat Ramp signs]
Nankin Boat Ramp signs

Here is a picture of Suzy’s water samples. Continue reading

Florida lifts Withlacoochee River advisory; more rain could mean more contamination 2020-06-11

Update 2020-06-16: All eight Withlacoochee River landings green 2020-06-14

Valdosta’s Wednesday Knights Ferry result is not pretty: 2,300 cfu/100 mL E. coli, far over the 1,000 alert limit. Previously, I said we wouldn’t turn Swim Guide green until we saw that result. Plus, much more rain fell Friday on Lowndes and Brooks Counties, Georgia. Also, Valdosta got 1,500 on Okapilco Creek at US 84, even worse than the 833 I got there that same Wednesday (see yellow highlighted area).

So, Swim Guide stays red for the Withlacoochee River in Georgia. But Swim Guide goes green for Florida; see below. See also below for the Little and Alapaha Rivers.

WWALS will test tomorrow. You can help.

[More rain means...?]
More rain means…?
For context and links to the WWALS composite spreadsheet and all its sources, see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

After two consecutive days of good results from the state line downstream (see green highlighted area), the Florida Department of Health lifted yesterday, June 12, 2020, the Advisory they issued June 9, 2020. Continue reading

Florida, and Upstream water quality tests for Lowndes and Brooks Counties, GA 2020-06-10

Update 2020-06-13: Florida lifts Withlacoochee River advisory; more rain could mean more contamination 2020-06-11.

The Withlacoochee River from the state line to the Suwannee River looked much better Wednesday, according to FDEP results.

Upstream on the Withlacoochee and Little Rivers and two out of three creeks in Brooks County, not so good, according to samples I took Wednesday.

Valdosta’s Wednesday results fill in US 41 (North Valdosta Road), GA 133, and US 84 on the Withlacoochee River. We await Valdosta’s Knights Ferry and Nankin Boat Ramp results.

Meanwhile, you can help.

[Withlacoochee R. @ GA 122 to Suwannee R. @ US 90]
Withlacoochee R. @ GA 122 to Suwannee R. @ US 90
For context and links to the WWALS composite spreadsheet and all its sources, see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Thanks to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for testing from GA 31 as far downstream as US 90.

[Horn Bridge, GA 31, Withlacoochee River]
Horn Bridge, GA 31, Withlacoochee River

But where did the contamination go? Did it get diluted? Or did it just wash farther downstream? Continue reading

Additional: Filthy Withlacoochee River Monday after Sunday rain 2020-06-08

Update 2020-06-11: Contamination moving downstream in Florida 2020-06-09.

The E. coli numbers jump up from US 84 to Knights Ferry in additional data from Valdosta for Monday. In between is Okapilco Creek coming out of Brooks County, with many beef and dairy cow pastures upstream.

[Additional Valdosta data]
Additional Valdosta data
For context and links to the WWALS composite spreadsheet and all its sources, see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Valdosta’s 1,600 cfu/100 mL at the state line is nowhere near Madison Health’s 24,196, but still higher than the 1,000 alert limit.

It’s a good guess that Madison and Hamilton County Health Departments are putting up signs in Florida after their Withlacoochee River Advisory of yesterday.

I hope some Florida state agency is testing downstream from FL 6, because by now the contamination may well have moved down that way.

I am heading out to collect samples for WWALS and to put our yellow diamond Caution signs back up at State Line and Nankin Boat Ramps. The Knights Ferry access road is washed out so that one will have to go up later. You can help.

Yesterday I set all eight Withlacoochee River Boat Ramps and Launches in Swim Guide to show red for failed water quality.

[Swim Guide red from US 84 to Madison Boat Ramp]
Swim Guide red from US 84 to Madison Boat Ramp

Thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson for Continue reading

Filthy Withlacoochee River Monday after Sunday rain 2020-06-08

Update 2020-06-10: Additional: Filthy Withlacoochee River Monday after Sunday rain 2020-06-08

Yes, again there’s a Withlacoochee River Advisory from the Hamilton and Madison County, Florida, Health Departments. But it’s not what many people automatically assume.

WWALS is putting its yellow diamond Caution signs back up. All eight Withlacoochee River Boat Ramps and Launces in Swim Guide should shortly show red for failed water quality.

[06.09.20-Withlacoochee-River-Advisory-Madison-Hamilton-0001]
06.09.20-Withlacoochee-River-Advisory-Madison-Hamilton-0001
PDF

Notice the high E. coli at US 41 (North Valdosta Road), twice the high alert limit of 1,000. That is north of almost all of Valdosta. The numbers are still above alert limit but somewhat lower at GA 133 and US 84.

The really high numbers start at GA 31, at State Line Boat Ramp. And 24,196 is extremely high. See What do these numbers mean?

So the main contamination seems to be coming into the Withlacoochee River downstream from US 84. That very likely means down Okapilco Creek from Brooks County, Georgia. Which fits with 4.75 inches of rain at Dixie, GA, in the west of Brooks County and 4.7 inches at the east edge of the county on the Withlacoochee River at US 84. Since that storm, as most do, moved from east to west west to east, we can guess similar amounts of rain fell right across Brooks County. What does that spell? Cows.

Not just from one location; probably from cow pastures all over Brooks County. And maybe upstream, since more than two inches of rain fell on Moultrie.

And of course the higher-than-alert results from US 84 north are not from Brooks County. There are horse farms and cows and hogs up there, too, as well as septic tanks, domsetic pets, and wildlife in the woods. And yes, runoff from city streets. But no sewage spills have been reported. Continue reading

Clean Withlacoochee River 2020-05-13

Update 2020-05-20: Clean weekend 2020-05-17.

Something was in the water in Okapilco Creek Monday, and at Nankin Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River. But that was gone Wednesday, according to Valdosta test results. So all eight “beaches” on the Withlacoochee River that WWALS has so far listed in Swim Guide are green again.

Join us this morning upstream at Cook County Boat Ramp on the Little River, where we will paddle upstream to Stone Bridge and back, keeping 6 feet apart on land and 10 feet on water.

Yes, WWALS will be testing water this weekend. You can help.

[Nankin in Swim Guide]
Nankin Boat Ramp in Swim Guide

Don’t forget to send in your comment on the GA-EPD Valdosta Consent Order. But remember, Valdosta is not the source of the recent contamination. WWALS is talking to some of the agricultural sources. Please be patient: agriculture takes months or years to fix.

Something came out of Okapilco Creek Monday. Continue reading

Much better water quality: Withlacoochee River, Okapilco Creek 2020-03-11

Update 2020-03-16: More testing needed to track river pollution –Suwannee Riverkeeper in Gainesville Sun 2020-03-16.

No rain for a week (since March 5th) meant not much E. coli washed into creeks and rivers.

WWALS is testing upstream this weekend. You can help.

[Composite table]
WWALS Composite table
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of data from Georgia and Florida sources, see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Apparently the high numbers WWALS saw on Crooked Creek Saturday a week ago (March 7th) washed on down through Okapilco Creek and Brooks County to the Withlacoochee River by Monday. Apparently that contamination got diluted pretty quickly by all that rainwater coming down from as far north as Tifton.

The most recent numbers we have are Valdosta’s for Wednesday, March 11, 2020, with Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps only slightly above the longterm desired limit of 126 cfu/100 mL E. coli, and below that upstream.

Madison Health tested Tuesday, and got actually slightly lower (135.4) at State Line, and below 126 at CR 150 (Sullivan Launch) and FL 6 (upstream from Madison Blue Spring).

Nobody tested downstream from there in the past week. Nobody knows whether any of the most recent contamination reached the Suwannee River.

[Quitman and Valdosta to Suwannee River]
Quitman and Valdosta to Suwannee River
In the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

The USGS gauges upstream from US 84 peaked days ago, and the US 84 (Quitman) gauge is coming down now, soon to be Continue reading

Still bad Saturday: Withlacoochee and Suwannee River to Mayo and Luraville 2020-02-29

Update 2020-03-02: Suwannee River contamination running downstream to the Gulf 2020-03-01.

Still bad water quality all the way to Luraville and Mayo, according to FDOH Friday for the Withlacoochee River and SRWMD Saturday for the Suwannee River.

A catalog of WWALS, Valdosta, Lowndes County, FDEP, FDOH, and SRWMD results is at wwals.net/issues/testing/. You can help.

[2020-02-29--excerpt-WWALS-composite-wq-results]
2020-02-29–excerpt-WWALS-composite-wq-results
Extract from WWALS composite water quality test results from Georgia and Florida.

A couple days ago I remarked that nobody knew the water quality of the Suwannee River downstream from Dowling Park, because nobody had tested that. Saturday SRWMD did test down at the Hal W. Adams Bridge on FL 51, between Mayo and Luraville, and the result was above the alert level of 1,000, while at Dowling Park it was back below the too-high level of 410. Apparently something was moving down the Suwannee River.

We still don’t know what’s going on downstream of FL 51, for example at US 27 (Branford) or CR 340 (Rock Bluff Ramp). This is more evidence that we need regular, frequent, testing at all these locations, not just after a spill or other upstream alert.

Thanks to Katelyn Potter of the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) for forwarding the Florida updates late Sunday evening. Thanks to SRWMD and Madison Health for testing on a weekend, and to Florida Department of Health (FDOH) for helping. Thanks to Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and Julie Espy for posting results on an FDEP web page. No update on Valdosta’s results website for Friday yet.

WWALS testers Conn and Trudy Cole got Continue reading

Avoid Withlacoochee River Knights Ferry to Suwannee River Dowling Park 2020-02-27

The good news: both Valdosta and FDEP are posting testing results on their websites. There’s a catalog of those and WWALS’ results at wwals.net/issues/testing/.

The better news: Valdosta is testing three times a week, FDOH once a week, and FDEP is testing again, after saying it wouldn’t.

The really bad news: Thursday test results say stay off the Withlacoochee River at least from Knights Ferry on down, and the Suwannee River from the Withlacoochee Confluence at least down to Dowling Park.

The WWALS results from my Monday samples may help explain this contamination, and it looks like you can see it flow from Crooked Creek through Okapilco Creek to the Withlacoochee and the Suwannee. You can help.

[Rain driving contamination down 2020-02-27]
Rain driving contamination down 2020-02-27.
Extract from WWALS composite water quality test results from Georgia and Florida.

But Valdosta’s Wednesday results also show contamination at US 41, upstream of Valdosta. And FDEP shows a spike at Dowling Park again. So there are multiple sources, not only in Brooks County, Georgia, but also elsewhere. The good news for Valdosta is it doesn’t seem to be coming from Valdosta.

WWALS continues to work on locating sources of contamination. For example, two of us visited the Quitman Land Application Site Wednesday. More on that in another blog post. WWALS testers will be sampling this weekend.

I took samples on Crooked Creek again Continue reading

Better: Valdosta and Quitman, Withlacoochee River, Suwanneee River past Santa Fe River 2020-02-22

Something is still getting into Okapilco Creek, and even more into its tributary Crooked Creek. For last week, we could follow it downstream way into Florida, using data from WWALS, Valdosta, and Florida Departments of Health. Fortunately, Friday the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers were within health limits from US 41 above Valdosta down past Branford. You can help.

[State Line Boat Ramp]
State Line Boat Ramp
Photo: Suzy Hall. Somebody stole all our signs from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, but we will reprint and replant. If you want a sign to hang on your wall, you can just buy it from WWALS; prices are reasonable.

Possible sources of contamination getting into Okapilco Creek and then into the Withlacoochee River from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp on down include (but are not limited to) the Quitman Land Application Site (LAS), a sewage settling pond and another sewage pond, and lots of cows. We continue testing to find out.

[Quitman Land Application Site]
Quitman Land Application Site
in WWALS map of Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

Whatever it was, it went way down the Suwannee mid-week last week, maybe even as far as Rock Bluff Ramp at CR 340 below Branford. Yet what I detected on Crooked Creek Friday didn’t even make much of a mark on Continue reading