Tag Archives: Florida Department of Health

Bad Friday after rain, Better Sunday, Withlacoochee River 2021-01-24

As expected, the big rains Friday caused contamination on the Withlacoochee River, according to Valdosta’s upstream data for US 41, GA 133, and US 84. Everything was clean the day before, both upstream and down. We don’t know about downstream again until I tested Sunday. While Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps were not as clean as we like, they were well within the one-time test limit of 410 cfu/100 mL E. coli. So it appears that if the downstream sites were contaminated Friday, most of that had already washed away in the rest of the rainwater by Sunday.

[KF, Nankin, SL, chart, Swim Guide]
KF, Nankin, SL, chart, Swim Guide

Apparently the Withlacoochee River is clean again, although we do not have many datapoints yet. Be warned more rain is expected today. Continue reading

Withlacoochee advisory lifted; more FDEP DNA marker and chemical tracer data 2021-01-12

Update 2021-01-21: Clean Withlacoochee 2020-01-14 and Suwannee River tests 2021-01-18.

It’s lifted: the bacterial advisory from Madison and Hamilton Health Departments, because of two successive good sets of results from Madison Health on the Withlacoochee River, the lastest for Tuesday. And Valdosta got good results upstream for Monday. All of which corroborates the Thursday Madison Health, Friday Valdosta, and Saturday WWALS results.

[Lifted, Chart, Markers, Map]
Lifted, Chart, Markers, Map

We also have more DNA marker data from FDEP, for Wednesday, January 6, 2021, which shows continued high ruminant DNA marker results on the Withlacoochee River, this time for Horn Bridge at the State Line, plus CR 150 at Sullivan Launch, and FL 6 just above Madison Blue Spring. Plus some clarifications of what I wrote in the previous blog post.

Before we get into all that, happy boating, swimming, and fishing on the Withlacoochee River! Continue reading

Contaminated Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Suwannee Rivers 2021-01-04; cleaner 2021-01-09

Update 2021-01-14: see clarifications and updates in Withlacoochee advisory lifted; more FDEP DNA marker and chemical tracer data 2021-01-12.

The Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Suwannee Rivers were contaminated with E. coli Monday, January 4, 2021, all the way from US 41 at North Valdosta Road to US 90 below the Withlacoochee River Confluence, and probably farther downstream, according to Valdosta, Madison Health, and FDEP data for that day. We also have preliminary DNA marker results from FDEP.

The culprit? Ruminants. The only ruminants numerous enough to cause the sky-high DNA marker results for the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers? Cattle.

This is a good example of how when testing happens upstream and down, we can all tell what is going on. Florida needs to fund frequent, regular, closely-spaced water quality testing from the state line to the Gulf. Continue reading

Bad Withlacoochee, OK Alapaha 2021-01-07

Update 2021-01-11: Much better Withlacoochee River water quality 2021-01-09.

The latest Withlacoochee River results still show mostly bad water quality, surprisingly good at the State Line on Wednesday, but bad downstream. The Madison and Hamilton County Health advisory for the Withlacoochee River is still in place.

However, Sasser Landing on the Alapaha River tested OK for Wednesday.

[Bad Withlacoochee, good Alapaha]
Bad Withlacoochee, good Alapaha

The Madison Health Wednesday tests were not as horrible as for Tuesday, but they still got too high at Sullivan Launch (CR 150) and FL 6. Some of that could be from the Quitman or Tifton sewage spills, but probably most of it is from Continue reading

Very clean Withlacoochee River 2020-10-15

Update 2020-10-23: Clean Withlacoochee River Thursday for WWALS Boomerang Saturday 2020-10-22.

Update 2020-10-20: Adel spilled ten days ago; did not show up in downstream water quality data 2020-10-10.

Water quality results from WWALS and Madison Health for Thursday and from Valdosta for Wednesday concur: happy boating, swimming, and fishing on the Withlacoochee River this weekend!

While all such results are merely advisory, because conditions can change very quickly, also there has been very little rain to wash anything into the river, and no reported sewage spills.

[KF, Nankin, State Line, Results, Swim Guide, plate]
KF, Nankin, State Line, Results, Swim Guide, plate

WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach got 33 cfu/100 mL E. coli at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp for Thursday, October 15, 2020, and zero for Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps. Continue reading

Green to go, Little and Withlacoochee Rivers 2020-10-08

Happy boating, swimming, and fishing this weekend!

[Green Swim Guide and test results]
Green Swim Guide and test results

The opposite of last week’s advisory, this week all testers show quite clean results up and down the Withlacoochee River, and at Cook County Boat Ramp on the Little River, too. Continue reading

Good downstream, but recurring GA 133, Withlacoochee River 2020-08-27

Update 2020-09-01: Valdosta concurs last week, but not week before, Withlacoochee River 2020-08-28

The good news: all WWALS results for Thursday were good downstream on the Withlacoochee River, and for Tuesday from Madison Health. So as far as we can tell, happy boating, swimming, and fishing this weekend on the Withlacoochee River.

The bad news: something is still getting into the Withlacoochee River above GA 133, and it does not seem related to rainfall. This bad news has been going on too long. It really needs to be resolved for the Troupville River Park.

[Good Troupville, Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line Boat Ramps; bad GA 133]
Good Troupville, Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line Boat Ramps; bad GA 133

Thursday (yesterday) I sampled at Continue reading

Moultrie rain washed E. coli down Okapilco Creek; good now 2020-08-13

Update 2020-08-18: Good upstream water quality, Little, Withlacoochee, Okapilco, worst Crooked Creek @ 2020-08-16

The Withlacoochee River looks good for boating, swimming, and fishing this weekend, according to the latest water quality testing results, despite a contamination incident earlier this week.

[Chart and Map]
Chart and Map

More than an inch of rain at Moultrie Monday washed E. coli down Okapilco River (as they call it in Colquitt County) and Wednesday Valdosta got very bad 2,800 cfu/100 mL E. coli on Okapilco Creek @ US 84 in Brooks County, and bad 400 on the Withlacoochee River @ Knights Ferry Boat Ramp in Lowndes County. See What do these numbers mean?

Yet downstream at Nankin Boat Ramp and State Line was good Wednesday according to Valdosta, and also good Tuesday and Thursday at State Line, CR 150, and FL 6 according to Madison Health, in data updated online by FDEP early afternoon Friday. WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach also got very good results Thursday at Knights Ferry and State Line.

[2020-08-10-14--betterdown]
2020-08-10-14–betterdown
For context and the complete WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida bacterial test results and rainfall, see: https://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

So I’ve marked all Withlacoochee River “beaches” green on Swim Guide.

However, once again there was heavy rain at Moultrie, this time on Friday, so don’t be surprised if E. coli shows up on Monday or even Saturday on Okapilco Creek @ US 84 or Withlacoochee River @ Knights Ferry.

Meanwhile, heavy rains at Tifton way upstream on the Little River should be Continue reading

WWALS concurs, good to boat, Withlacoochee River 2020-08-06

Update 2020-08-15: Moultrie rain washed E. coli down Okapilco Creek; good now 2020-08-13

WWALS testers Jacob and Michael Bachrach also got good results from their Thursday samples: 66 cfu/100 mL E. coli at State Line Boat Ramp and zero (0) at Nankin and Knights Ferry Boat Ramps. Can’t get much better than that!

WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall did remark that the Petrifilms for State Line showed quite a bit of other Fecal coliforms. But we can’t quantify those with the Petrifilm method, and we go by E. coli.

Of course, something else could have gotten into the river since Thursday. All of these results are always merely advisory.

But as far as we can tell, it’s a great weekend for boating on the Withlacoochee River!

[Good WWALS results, Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line]
Good WWALS results, Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line
For context and the complete WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida results, see: https://wwals.net/issues/testing/

As you can see, the WWALS 66 at State Line was quite similar to the Madison Health 10. The Florida agencies use laboratories with more precision in their results than WWALS can get with Petrifilms: 66 is the lowest WWALS can show before zero.

These Thursday WWALS results at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line corroborate what Valdosta got Wednesday at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line, shifted downstream somewhat due to water flow and a day later. Note Valdosta got slightly higher results at Nankin Wednesday, and WWALS got slightly higher at State Line, which is about what we would expect from water flow.

Until the next big rain (or dumping or, we sure hope not, sewage spill), water quality will probably remain good.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

GA 133 Friday bad again? But good everywhere else, Withlacoochee River 2020-08-06

Update 2020-08-08: WWALS concurs, good to boat, Withlacoochee River 2020-08-06.

The good news: all green for boating, fishing, swimming, etc. from Cook County Boat Ramp on the Little River @ GA 76 and on the Withlacoochee River from US 41 through the GA-FL line past Madison Blue Spring. Thanks to Madison Health and the City of Valdosta for testing, and to WWALS testers Trudy and Conn Cole for finding zero E. coli on the Little River @ GA 76 (Cook County Boat Ramp).

The bad news: last Friday, again there was massive fecal bacterial contamination in the Withlacoochee River @ GA 133, far higher than the 410 cfu/100 mL single-test limit and twice the 1,000 alert limit. See also What do these numbers mean?.

The better news: a usually reliable source tells me that GA-EPD has found the culprit and is dealing with it. And the culprit was not governmental; it was a private company. More on that when I know more.

[Map: All green on Swim Guide]
Map: All green on Swim Guide.

It’s really strange that such a high concentration of fecal bacteria at GA 133 did not show up downstream. Where did it come from? It’s not runoff: there was no rain, except way up at Skipper Bridge, which should have showed runoff contamination at US 41 before GA 133 if that was the source.

It’s not Valdosta or Lowndes County: they had no spills.

It’s almost like somebody dumped some septic tank or RV liquids into the river. Continue reading