Daily Archives: January 5, 2021

Sewage Spills: Quitman, Valdosta, Tifton 2021-01-03

Update 2021-01-06: Bad up and down: Withlacoochee River 2021-01-05.

Tifton spilled raw sewage three times over the weekend, all into the New River, upstream of the Withlacoochee River. As already reported, Valdosta spilled into Knights Creek, which goes into Mud Swamp Creek, the Alapahoochee River, and the Alapaha River just above Sasser Landing. We have no water quality data downstream of any of those spills.

Plus Quitman finally reported a spill from more than a week ago, but downstream water quality on the Withlacoochee River the next day was actually better than the day before.

However, the big rains in between drove plenty of contamination, probably mostly cow, pig, and horse manure, into the Withlacoochee, with even Madison Health showing too-high E. coli at State Line for December 29, 2020.

The even bigger rains this past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday probably have done the same.

So I’d recommend avoiding not just the Withlacoochee River, but also the Alapaha River for a few days, until better test results come in.

[Spills and little data]
Spills and little data

The one recent datapoint we have is WWALS tester Tasha Ekman LaFace’s record-high for that location 1,333 cfu/100 mL E. coli at Naylor Park Beach on the Alapaha River, just upstream from US 84. But that can’t be from the Valdosta sewage spill, since Naylor Beach is way upstream of the Alapahoochee River Confluence with the Alapaha River. However, Naylor Beach is not a long way downstream from Lakeland, so it will be interesting if we hear about any spills from there. Continue reading

Ichetucknee up and back paddle 2021-01-02

A bit of TV coverage for conserving springs and the WWALS Ichetucknee upstream paddle.

Dylan Lyons, WJCB.com, January 2, 2021, Local environmental organization hits the springs for their first kayaking event of 2021 (follow the link for WCJB’s embedded video),

[WCJB, WWALS]
WCJB, WWALS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)—WWALS Watershed Coalition is an organization in North-Central Florida and South Georgia dedicated to conservation and education about natural springs. Their goal is to bring focus to problems like excessive water withdrawal. They do that by bringing people out to the springs to see the issues first hand and recognize the beauty of the natural waters.

“More exposure is great because the more people that see the rivers are there and that they are all great like they are and especially the people that get on them. The more they’ll help take care of them,” said John S. Quarterman, the Suwannee Riverkeeper.

[Suwannee Riverkeeper interviewed by WJCB, Photo: Gretchen Quarterman]
Suwannee Riverkeeper interviewed by WJCB, Photo: Gretchen Quarterman

The group was forced to alter their regular plans this year because of the pandemic. In a typical outing, they would put in their kayaks at the north entrance of the Ichetucknee Springs and travel to the first public boat ramp of the Santa Fe. However, that requires a shuttle and people to be in close quarters.

“What we have done to change this is, to prevent being in a shuttle we’ve come here, we put in at this landing, paddle all the way up to the north. Then we’ll jump in; I’ll jump in. Then we will paddle back down to the south takeout. We will use the tube trails to walk back to our vehicles and pick up the kayaks,” said Bobby McKenzie, the event organizer.

[Bobby McKenzie, organizer of this outing]
Bobby McKenzie, organizer of this outing

McKenzie believes outings like this allow people to Continue reading