Tag Archives: US 84

Withlacoochee River contamination –WCTV 2020-07-13

WCTV covered the recent bad water quality results in the Withlacoochee River.

We have no new Withlacoochee River data from Georgia or Florida.

Update 2020-07-14 11:30 AM: Valdosta has updated with Friday downstream results: Knights Ferry, 270 cfu/100 mL E. coli; Nankin, 250; State Line, 280. FDEP just updated at 10:57 AM with these much better Monday results: GA 31, 10; CR 150, 20; FL 6, 60. So maybe those WWALS Saturday bad results at Knights Ferry and Nankin already washed downstream.

But we do have a datapoint on the Alapaha River.

[Naylor Beach, 2020:01:11 14:06:32, 30.9253083, -83.0384972]
Photo: Tasha Ekman LaFace, of Naylor Beach, 2020:01:11 14:06:32, 30.9253083, -83.0384972

Amber Spradley, WCTV, 13 July 2020, Withlacoochee River contaminated in parts of South Georgia and North Florida,

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV)—The Florida Health Department issued an advisory last Friday for parts of North Florida near the Withlacoochee River regarding alarming rates of E. coli.

“Right now, the results are not good,” Suwannee [Riverkeeper] John [S.] Quarterman said.

For counts of E. coli, Quarterman says anything less than 410 is okay, but zero is always ideal.

On Saturday, his team discovered numbers as high as 5,233 just west of Clyattville at the Knights Ferry Boat Ramp in Lowndes County.

“Every time this happens, they immediately point and say it’s Valdosta,” Quarterman said. “Well, this time it’s almost certainly not Valdosta.”

The high data was collected just below the city from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp to Madison Blue Spring in Florida.

“You know it’s something that we’re continuing to keep an eye on, but as far as the numbers around the city of Valdosta, those have all stayed relatively low,” the City of Valdosta’s PIO Ashlyn Johnson said.

City crews test the river three times a week for 40 river miles down to the Georgia-Florida line. Since Valdosta’s major sewage spill last December, they’ve seen no alarming contamination rates in the area.

Well, they found nothing alarming Friday down to US 84, but we haven’t yet seen Valdosta’s results for the lower three stations on the Withlacoochee River, and they certainly have seen alarming contamination previously.

[Dirty Knights Ferry, Nankin, FL 6]
Dirty Knights Ferry, Nankin, FL 6
For the complete WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida results and other context, see wwals.net/issues/testing/.

The rest of the article is about the 7.26 million gallon catch basin at the entrance of Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). Continue reading

Bad Friday and Saturday water quality results, Withlacoochee River 2020-07-11

Update 2020-07-14: Bad Friday and Saturday water quality results, Withlacoochee River 2020-07-11.

Not looking good downstream on the Withlacoochee River. Madison Health unusually tested on a Friday, and found too-high E. coli results at Florida 6, just above Madison Blue Spring: 414 cfu/100 mL. Saturday, WWALS results at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp were horrible: 5,233. Nankin Boat Ramp results were merely too high: 600. State Line Boat Ramp was within acceptable limits Saturday, but that contamination probably washed down that far by Sunday and well into Florida by this morning.

[Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide]
Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide

Thanks to WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach for collecting those downstream Withlacoochee River samples, and to Suzy Hall for providing the results. See also What do these numbers mean?

[Dirty Knights Ferry, Nankin, FL 6]
Dirty Knights Ferry, Nankin, FL 6
For the complete WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida results and other context, see wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Friday Conn got 2,100 on Crooked Creek at Devane Road. Remember, Crooked Creek runs into Okapilco Creek downstream of US 84. That 2,100 is actually lower than many results we’ve seen at that location, and Crooked Creek has much less flow than Okapilco Creek. So that number is not enough to account for the 5,233 downstream of Okapilco Creek on the Withlacoochee River at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp the next day. Did it come from somewhere else, such as upstream on Okapilco Creek?

This map may help with understanding where all these places are.

[Landings, Suwannee River Basin, WWALS Map]
Landings in Suwannee River Basin, WWALS Map

However many places the E. coli came from, there is reason to believe that the most likely sources are cattle.

[Little River, Swim Guide]
Little River, Swim Guide

Meanwhile on Saturday, upstream WWALS testers Conn Cole and John S. Quarterman found good results on the Little River at GA 76 (Cook County Boat Ramp) and GA 122 (Folsom Bridge Landing), as well as at GA 122 on the Withlacoochee River (Hagan Bridge Landing). Friday Conn Cole aso got good results on Okapilco Creek at US 84.

Plus, Valdosta’s Friday results for US 41, GA 133, and US 84 are all good. Valdosta did get a high Fecal coliform result for US 41, but we go by E. coli. Thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson for getting these Valdosta Friday results published this morning.

Back downstream, you don’t even have to count the blue-with-bubbles colonies to see Continue reading

Clean Little and Withlacoochee Rivers to GA-FL line 2020-07-03

Update 2020-07-10: Data behind Florida bacterial advisory for Withlacoochee River 2020-07-09.

Update 2020-07-09: Possible bacterial contamination, Withlacoochee River, Hamilton, Madison Co. FL 2020-07-09.

Thanks to new WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach assisting Suzy Hall, results for samples taken Friday, July 3, 2020, are all green for Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps on the Withlacoochee River. The samples I took upstream were also good: zero for Hagan Bridge Landing at GA 122 on the Withlacoochee River, and 333 for Folsom Bridge Landing at GA 122 on the Little River.

Suzy did remark, “The mosquitoes got a little annoying at Nankin!”

You can help by donating to the WWALS water quality testing program.

[Michael and Jacob Bachrach testing]
Michael and Jacob Bachrach testing

There was quite a bit of rain Friday, but almost all upstream on the Little River and upstream of Okapilco Creek at Moultrie (or Okapilco River, as Colquitt County calls it). While there was heavy rain at US 84 on the Withlacoochee River at the east side of Brooks County, meanwhile on the west side of Brooks at Dixie there was not much rain. So if we’re lucky, not much Continue reading

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

The most recent water quality data we have looks good, for both the Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers, in Georgia and Florida.

But it’s from Monday, June 22, 2020, and there was significant rain on Okapilco Creek Tuesday and Wednesday in Brooks County, and more upstream at Skipper Bridge in Lowndes County, Georgia, on the Withlacoochee River. So conditions may change.

[Looks good, but...]
Looks good, but…
For context and links to the WWALS composite spreadsheet and all its sources, see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Here are the recent rain records. Continue reading

Naylor Boat Ramp upstream Alapaha River pictures 2020-06-13

We made it the 1.24 miles upstream from Naylor Boat Ramp to Hotchkiss Road Landing on the Alapaha River Water Trail in the Naylor Boat Ramp Out and Back paddle outing. Very nice weather, cool and overcast, and just enough water in the river.

[Banners]
Photo: Shirley Kokidko for WWALS, Banners at Hotchkiss Road Landing, Alapaha River, 2020-06-13.

First WWALS Trails Committee Chair Dan Phillips planted the new Naylor Boat Ramp ARWT signs.

[Paddlers with signs]
Paddlers with signs

Then we headed upstream. This may be a first: every paddler was already a WWALS member. Continue reading

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

Good to go: Naylor Boat Ramp upstream Alapaha River paddle 2020-06-13

It’s a go on water quality and quantity for tomorrow morning at Naylor Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River. For outing details, see the original post.

[Naylor Boat Ramp (portrait)]
Photo: Bobby McKenzie, Naylor Boat Ramp (portrait), 2020-06-10.

Sure, the afternoon thunderstorms could happen earlier, but so far the weather ereports indicate they’ll start after we’ve paddled upstream and back. For further updates, see the facebook event or the meetup.

WWALS water quality tester Tasha Ekman LaFace reports her sample from Thursday resulted in 33 cfu/100 mL E. coli, which is quite clean, so no worries about bacteria. The kinds of contamination we’ve been seeing on the Withlacoochee River are apparently not happening on the Alapaha River, which has much less animal agriculture next to it. For context, see wwals.net/issues/testing/.

She also says there is plenty of trash to pick up before we paddle, so bring a bag, some gloves, and a trash picker if you’ve got it.

WWALS Outings Committee Chair and the leader of this expedition, Bobby McKenzie, reports:

I started paddling it today after work but it was raining, which I didn’t mind. I didn’t continue due to the lightning. But I’m pretty confident that there is enough water to paddle a mile based on the previous levels I’ve seen there using visual indicators.

The gauge at Statenville shows 82.5 currently and the lowest paddling level indicated on the WWALS Alapaha River Water Trail for Naylor Boat Ramp is 78.1.

Statenville gauge, Alapaha River

See you at Naylor Boat Ramp tomorrow morning. For outing details, see the original post.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

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

Contamination moving downstream in Florida 2020-06-09

Update 2020-06-12: Florida, and, Upstream water quality tests for Lowndes and Brooks Counties, GA 2020-06-10.

Tuesday data from Madison Health shows the contamination had moved downstream, with 1,585 cfu/100 mL E. coli at FL 6, just above Madison Blue Spring.

By now it’s probably downstream from there. Nobody knows, because nobody is testing down there. Floridians, maybe you’d like to point this out to your elected and appointed state officials. If Valdosta, GA, can test three times a week 40 miles to the state line, the state of Florida could do the rest all the way to the Gulf.

[At least as far as FL 6 downstream]
At least as far as FL 6 downstream
For context and links to the WWALS composite spreadsheet and all its sources, see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

I hope SRWMD is modeling flow and dilution and making a prediction for how far downstream the problem may travel on the Withlacoochee or even the Suwannee Rivers.

I collected samples from seven upstream locations yesterday (Wednesday), on the Withlacoochee and Little Rivers in Lowndes County and three creeks in Brooks County. Results on those should be ready late today. You can help.

[State Line Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River]
State Line Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River

Also yesterday I put out yellow Caution sign back up at State Line Boat Ramp. Continue reading