Tag Archives: VWW

WWALS water quality data, Withlacoochee River, after Valdosta record sewage 2019-12-12

Good news: WWALS data from the Withlacoochee River matches SRWMD data from the Suwannee River. Both showed clean of E. coli bacteria. This is mystifying: where is the sewage from Valdosta’s record largest sewage spill? So we’ve got WWALS data and SRWMD data posted. Valdosta, where is your data?

Results of WWALS testing Wednesday: zero (no) E. coli at State Line Boat Ramp, Nankin Boat Ramp, and Knights Ferry Boat Ramp showed zero (0) at all three locations.

You can donate to help pay for the Petrifilms and other equipment.

[Sean McCarthy, Scotti Jay, Sara Jay]
Sean McCarthy, Scotti Jay, Sara Jay at State Line Ramp.

This is not what we expected.

Our Petrifilm and incubator methods are not as precise as Florida’s fancy methods, as in we don’t usually detect levels as low as what Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) reported yesterday, so our zeroes are Continue reading

SRWMD water quality data, Withlacoochee River, after Valdosta record sewage 2019-12-12

Update 2019-12-13: WWALS water quality data on the Withlacoochee River down to the state line.

The record Valdosta sewage spill had not reached Florida yet as of today, according to timely notification of water quality sampling results by the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD).

WWALS has some reason to believe the spill had reached Knights Ferry by Saturday. More on that below. And further WWALS bacterial results from yesterday should be available tomorrow morning. You can donate to the WWALS water quality testing program to help defray the costs of this emergency and our regular testing.

Meanwhile, where are Valdosta’s results? They’re supposed to be testing daily after a major spill. Why aren’t they publishing their results? I will file an open records request tomorrow, but why should that be necessary?

Received 5:01 PM today, December 12, 2019:

Hello Mr. Quarterman,

I don’t know if Julie was able to get back to you. I know that she has been in meetings the past several days. Here is the update on sampling efforts that I have as of now:

[Valdosta to Branford]
Valdosta to Branford, in WWALS map of all public landings in the Suwannee River Basin.

  • Dec 9: FL agencies were notified of the spill around 5:30pm.
  • Dec 10: FDEP sampled Withlacoochee at Continue reading

Water Quality Testing Training @ SGRC 2019-09-14

Donations to WWALS Water Quality testing project can be made here: https://www.gagives.org/story/Wwals-Waterqualitykits Petrifilm is quite expensive and each bacterial test uses four films. Thank you.

[Suzy with a Petrifilm]
Suzy Hall with a Petrifilm

We are testing after the Valdosta’s biggest raw sewage spill ever. Yesterday we took samples on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, Nankin Boat Ramp, State Line Boat Ramp, Pinetta (CR 150), and Madison (FL 6). Incubation of bacterial samples takes 24 hours, so we should have some results by this evening. Other tests already indicate we probably have found the sewage going downstream.

Here are some pictures from our September 14, 2019 Water Quality Testing. Thanks to Erica McLelland and SGRC for Continue reading

Where: Valdosta’s biggest sewage spill; behind the Target, next to Sugar Creek, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-09

Update 2019-12-12: SRWMD water quality data, Withlacoochee River, after Valdosta record sewage 2019-12-12

Valdosta’s biggest-ever sewage spill was “Behind the Target, next to the creek,” which we deduce was at 30.842906, -83.312762, as shown here on the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT). Also near the bottom right you can see the Remer Lane Pump Station that failed and caused this problem.

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

This spill finally did show up in GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report for December 10, after Continue reading

Valdosta’s biggest spill ever: sewage into Sugar Creek, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-09

Update 2019-12-12: You can donate to the WWALS water quality testing program to help defray costs of testing, especially after this record Valdosta sewage spill.

Update 2019-12-11: Where the spill was.

While I was congratulating Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse Thursday evening on no spills for months, Valdosta’s biggest-ever raw sewage spill was apparently already happening, and even he didn’t know.

Yet again Valdosta failed to adequately inform the public, or, for that matter, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

Valdosta Warning Sign, Sign
Photo: Julie Bowland, of Valdosta sewage spill sign at Troupville Boat Ramp, 21 December 2018.

How Bad Is It?

The 7,592,910 gallons of raw sewage spilled this time is more than the 6,273,595 gallons Valdosta spilled in two dozen incidents last December.

It’s 3.45 times Continue reading

Valdosta sewage into Sugar Creek, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-09

Update 2019-12-10: Valdosta’s biggest spill ever: sewage into Sugar Creek, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-09.

Yet another sewage spill from Valdosta, with no email notification from Valdosta, nothing on the City of Valdosta website, nothing in spills reported to GA-EPD, and nothing on the Hamilton or Madison County, Florida Department of Health websites.

So how do we know? It’s being mailed around from the facebook pages of Madison County Emergency Management and Madison County Florida Board of County Commissioners.

DOH Madison, Notice

December 9, 2019

HEALTH OFFICIALS IN HAMILTON,
MADISON COUNTY ADVISE OF POSSIBLE
WASTEWATER CONTAMINATION IN THE
WITHLACOOCHEE RIVER

Possible Impacts from Valdosta, GA Wastewater Overflow Continue reading

Valdosta sewer spill into Onemile Branch, Drexel Park 2019-08-03

Why do we get to find out in the newspaper Tuesday about a Saturday sewage spill that just “occurred”, and didn’t even show up in GA-EPD’s online Sewage Spill Reports until after the newspaper was printed and distributed? Rest assured it’s not Valdosta’s responsibility, according to Valdosta.

[Pipe under bridge by apartments]
Pipe under bridge by apartments

Katelyn Umholtz, Valdosta Daily Times, 5 August 2019, Sewer spill occurs near Drexel Park, Continue reading

Videos: Valdosta and Florida Counties about sewage 2019-07-10

Congenial yet sometimes testy, the Florida counties meeting Valdosta about sewage again last night.

The Valdosta catch basin many Floridians thought would be finished by now? Probably by December.

That report the Utilities Manager last time said explained why 8 or 10 million gallons was big enough for a catch basin? No, it doesn’t explain that. Fortunately, Georgia EPD wants to know how many gallons will be needed for how much rain, and apparently won’t issue a permit for the catch basin until there are answers, so maybe we’ll finally find out.

GA-EPD also wanted to know what if the catch basin fills up? Valdosta’s answer: tanker trucks to ship the sewage from the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant to the Mud Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Or the other direction, if needed. That sounds like a fine idea. Although it doesn’t address the question of what if the heavy rains fall directly on Valdosta and both WTPs fill up.

Meanwhile, the catch basin is just one of a combination of fixes, mostly intended to alleviate infiltration of stormwater into the sewer system, and about 25% of those are done, says Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber.

Will all these projects be finished this year? No.

Floridians offer to get national elected officials to help.

Floridians also emphasized Ecotourism, and asked me to talk about the 350 people who just came through on Paddle Georgia (#PaddleGA2019), the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Florida to Georgia and back, and the proposed River Camp at the Little River Confluence west of Valdosta, like the ones on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail. Valdosta Mayor John Gayle wrote down the date of the WWALS Boomerang (October 26th), and afterwards both Hamilton and Madison Counties promised to help.

Tom Mirti of SRWMD described Florida water quality testing, but didn’t mention that FDEP’s monthly testing isn’t made public until four months later. He did mention that FDEP is now testing for sucralose. Merrillee Malwwitz-Jipson, who requested that, was sitting right there. Thanks to her and Jim Tatum for coming from Florida to this meeting.

Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber said Valdosta was still testing at the state line, which caused me to ask why I didn’t get any results for those locations this year in response to open records requests, then? Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse said that was because they haven’t actually tested at the state line this year. He also complained that he had staff working 100 hours a week. Which makes me wonder whether the city of Valdosta is really giving him what he needs, or whether he hasn’t asked for everything he needs.

Anyway, people were rightly impressed with how much Valdosta has done and with their current plans. However, there is still room for improvement.

Below are Continue reading

Agenda: Florida Counties meet Valdosta about sewage 2019-07-10

Here’s the agenda for tonight’s Special Called Meeting of the Valdosta City Council, with business of Valdosta Utilities presenting to the dozen Florida counties. You may wonder why you haven’t seen this City Council meeting on Valdosta’s website or in the Valdosta Daily Times. Well, Georgia Open Meetings law only requires one notice on the front of the venue and a notice to the newspaper of record 24 hours in advance.

When: 6PM, Wednesday, July 10, 2019

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

Event: facebook

[071019-Special-Called-Meeting-Agenda-0001]
071019-Special-Called-Meeting-Agenda-0001
PDF

Maybe Valdosta should consider that elected official embarassment does not outweigh informing the public.

Thanks to Valdosta City Clerk Teresa Bolden for the agenda. See also Continue reading

Again: Florida Counties meet Valdosta about sewage in rivers and wells 2019-07-10

Update 2019-07-11: WWALS Videos.

Update 2019-07-10: The agenda.

Like three months ago, the dozen downstream Florida counties will meet with Valdosta again tomorrow. It’s a public meeting and anyone may attend. Presumably, like last time, anyone may ask questions.

When: 6PM, Wednesday, July 10, 2019

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

Event: facebook

[Movie: 10% completion of 162 years? --Tom Mirti, SRWMD]
Movie: 10% completion of 162 years? –Tom Mirti, SRWMD

We already knew about this from Continue reading