Videos: Water quality testing, Bids, Leaase, Appointments @ LCC 2020-01-13

Not on the agenda, Chairman Bill Slaughter at the end of the meeting said Utilities Director Steve Stalvey had been testing water quality on the Withlacoochee River. On December 31, bacterial counts were acceptable. But on January 6, 2020, counts were quite high, so the county made and posted some warning signs at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line (GA 31) Boat Ramps.

Here is one of the county’s signs, at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, with a sign by WWALS Watershed Coalition (Suwannee Riverkeeper) at the bottom of the other pole with the water trail signs.

[County and WWALS warning signs]
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, County and WWALS warning signs at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, 2020-01-10.

Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker wanted to know if Troupville Boat Ramp was clean. The Chairman couldn’t answer, because they didn’t test there (can’t test everywhere).

Here are the county’s test results thus far, as well as results from all the other parties that have been testing.

[Most recent contamination]
Most recent contamination

County Manager Joe Pritchard wanted to say that the county is using two testing laboratories. The Chairman remarked that their numbers matched, and on January 6 they were high when Florida’s numbers were high at GA 31.

Commissioner Demarcus Marshall wanted to know if there was anything else the county could do, since if there were problems in Florida such as he heard about Wednesday, there are probably problems in Georgia.

The county is also going to test at US 84 on the Withlacoochee River and on Okapilco Creek. Since they usually test Mondays, we should expect some results for this week by tomorrow.

Commissioner Scottie Orenstein wanted to know if the county had any liability. The Chairman said it is not a county spill; it is a city spill. Which is true, so I don’t see how the county has any liability.

The Chairman said since Valdosta is inside Lowndes County, he thought the county should test and put up signs, but that was the limit of what the county should do.

Commissioner Demarcus Marshall wondered if there was anything beyond sucking the sewage out of the water that could be done, such as putting some chemical in there to counter the sewage. The Chairman said he thought people would object to that and with flow the river would eventually clean itself.

Valdosta did dump lime into Sugar Creek, which is what they usually do at spill locations.

The only other thing that took much more than a minute was 6.c. Request to Purchase New Firefighter Turnout Gear.

Update 2020-01-15: They tabled both the turnout gear and the other fire item, 7 a. Bid for a 3,000 Gallon Tanker for the Fire Department, until some time in February, after the annual county retreat. The retreat itself has no publicly scheduled time yet. Last year it was Thursday-Friday, February 7-8, 2019. The equivalent dates for this year would be Thursday-Friday, February 6-7, 2020.

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the agenda, and the board packet on the LAKE website, now with the Work Session minutes from December 9 and the Regular Session minutes from December 10.

Here’s a LAKE video playlist:

Videos: Water quality testing, Bids, Leaase, Appointments
Work Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 2020-01-13.

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