Category Archives: GA DNR

Valdosta and Army Corps of Engineers in Flood Risk Management Study

First public update since May: Valdosta has had several recent meetings with other governmental groups and has agreed to co-fund a flooding study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

WCTV has also picked up Valdosta PR 23 July 2013, City Enters Agreement with USACE for Flood Risk Management Study,

The City of Valdosta hosted a Regional Flood Preparedness meeting with the Georgia Silver Jackets on June 25—a continuation of discussions that began earlier in the year focused on regional interests and on maximizing area resources.

Representatives from the cities of Moultrie, Sylvester, Tifton and Valdosta and from the counties of Lowndes and Turner attended the meeting to discuss current and future flood monitoring and forecasting issues throughout the Little River and Withlacoochee River watersheds. These two watersheds are part of the overall Suwannee Basin that is approximately 10,000 square miles in Georgia and Florida.

Among other information shared, Continue reading

Valdosta Plans Flooding Discussions

Valdosta is finally announcing the 11 April 2013 watershed-wide flooding meeting organized by the Army Corps of Engineers.

WCTV yesterday carried a press release from the City of Valdosta; PR which, oddly, does not appear to be on the city’s website. I have added a few links. Prominently missing from the PR is any mention of water quality, the Floridan Aquifer, or sinkholes. -jsq

The City of Valdosta initiated planning discussions recently that brought together representatives from key local, state and federal agencies to seek solutions to a regional flood issue.

The 50-year flood event that occurred in late February, early March 2013 was a vivid reminder of the 2009 flood event that significantly impacted south Georgia. Since 2009, the city has worked to help identify potential causes and the scope and area of the regional flooding that occurred. This information has been shared with various state and federal officials and agencies in the hopes of gaining their interest and support to work together to address the regional flooding. Since Valdosta is located

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GA EPD on Lowndes County Waste Water Spill

Lowndes County: voice mail. GA EPD: written response within minutes about that wastewater spill into the Withlacoochee River that turns out to be from a Lowndes County sewer line (not Valdosta’s).

After I called Lowndes County and got referred to voice mail, I filed an open records request with the county. I then called GA EPD in Albany and talked to Mary Sheffield. She said that compliance issues are handled from the Atlanta Office and provided the number.

I called GA EPD in Atlanta and asked for the Lowndes County Compliance Officer. She kindly told me that there had been some confusion about what government was responsible for the spill, because Valdosta called first but then Lowndes County did call and take responsibility for the spill.

She said that the spill had been 1.32 Million Gallons and that so far they had had a verbal report from the county and that the county has 5 days to make a written report.

Further, she said she would e-mail me any information that she had at this time, although the verbal reports are not “official”. And before I finished typing this up, she sent this response:

Date: Fri, 26 Apr 2013 11:34:19 -0400
From: Kim Hembree
Subject: Lowndes County Spill

Ms. Quarterman,

The Lowndes County spill was originally reported to the Environmental Protection Division by the City of Valdosta on 4/25/2013. After responding to the spill, the City of Valdosta determined that the spill was coming from a portion of sanitary sewer collection system that belonged to Lowndes County. Lowndes County (County) responded to the spill on 4/25/2013. This morning, the County reported that the spill was approximately 1.32 million and entered the Withlacoochee River.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

To which I replied:

Thank you.

If I understand correctly, Lowndes County now has 5 days to file a complete spill report. I’ll be interested in that when it is available.


Also, has Lowndes County put up a sign at the spill site to replace the Valdosta spill sign?


Major Spills: What to Do –GA DNR

Georgia: 14 River Basins Apparently whoever is responsible for a major spill into Georgia waters needs to immediately tell GA EPD DNR and the local health department and post a sign, and the sewage leak at GA 133 into the Withlacoochee River qualifies as a major spill. The City of Valdosta reported it as such, but it’s not clear it was their spill (update: it was Lowndes County’s spill). Excerpts below from GA DNR’s guidelines. -jsq

Water Quality: A Guide for Municipal Compliance by Mick Smith, Environmental Engineer.

Spills and Major Spills


  • Any discharge of raw sewage < 10,000 gallons to waters of the state

Major Spill

  • Any discharge of raw sewage > 10,000 gallons to waters of the state
  • BOD5 or TSS = 1.5 x weekly avg. permit limit
  • Any discharge resulting in a water quality violation
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Proposed abandonment of a portion of County Road 16/Old State Rd. —Brett Huntley @ LCC 2013-02-25

Received today; he sent it to all the Commissioners. -jsq

To the commission on the proposed idea of road abandonment on County Rd. #16:

On the morning of 2/25/13 after the county commission’s morning work session, my wife and I spoke with Joyce Evans and Bill Slaughter on some of our concerns and new found technical information about road abandonment, Georgia state waterways, and what the county and state are expected to protect.

During our conversation we were told that for unexplained legal reasons the county would have to give the road back to the land owner. At this time my thoughts and questions come back to: Why if for legal reasons do we have to give the land back or away, and why are we even having to have a public hearing on this matter, if the public has no say?

Also during this conversation Bill mentioned

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Tabled for two weeks: proposed Old State Road to Alapaha River @ LCC 2013-02-12

The good news: they didn’t close the road to Hotchkiss Crossing at the Alapaha River. Lowndes County Water Resource Protection Districts Ordinance (WRPDO) Overlay Map They tabled it until their next meeting, which is in two weeks, 26 February 2013. Video will follow tomorrow, in which you will see the room was packed, mostly with people opposed to the road closing, some from as far away as Tifton. All concerned now have two weeks to absorb all the new information and work out a solution.

Below is what I sent to the Lowndes County Commission at Commissioner Joyce Evans’ request before the meeting tonight, followed by a bit more information.

Subject: River Corridor Protection Plan
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2013 16:49:50 -0500

Dear Commissioners and County Planner,

When I was talking to Joyce Evans just now, I mentioned the 100 foot natural vegetative buffer state law requires local governments to establish next to perennial rivers. Here is a summary of the state law, the definition it contains, the GA EPD rules, and some notes on the relevant parts of the Lowndes County Comprehensive Plan.

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Letters against closing Old State Road to the Alapaha River @ LCC 2013-02-12

Here is a list of the letters I have copies of that oppose closing Old State Road to the Alapaha River; probably more have been sent. The vote is tonight 5:30 PM 12 February 2013 at 327 North Ashley Street 2nd Floor, Valdosta, GA. According to state law and the public hearing notice,

Any citizen of Lowndes County or any person wherever residing may be heard by the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners during the aforesaid public hearing.

That means anyone from anywhere may speak.

Here’s the list.

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Proposed abandonment of the only public access to the Alapaha River in Lowndes County —April Huntley

Received Monday; she sent it to all the Commissioners; I added a few links. -jsq

To the Lowndes County Commission:

My name is April Huntley, and I have lived in Naylor for over 13 years. I have used the boat ramp at the end of Old State Rd. that April Huntley gives access to the Alapaha River for most of those years. Until yesterday, when I spoke to Phillip Connell, I didn’t know I was trespassing when I swam in the river. I thought this was public access. I thought this belonged to Lowndes County.

I thought about this some more and questions rose up in my mind. Why hadn’t the game wardens and sheriff deputies that came to check the area at times notified me and others we were trespassing? Why would Lowndes County not claim their ONLY boat ramp to the Alapaha River for the benefit of their residents?

Commisioners Raines and Powell Ok, so I had these questions, but then I started thinking about the Commission work session I attended yesterday morning, and when I talked to Commissioner Powell and Raines afterward. They told me

that despite what the tax assessor has on their website and in their records, their attorney viewed the deeds showing Phillip Connell bought the property from Dr. Acree 2 or 3 years ago. His lawyer (I’m assuming Mr. Connell’s) filed something wrong and that’s why it isn’t showing up with the tax assessor. The story when Chairman Bill Slaughter I spoke to Bill Slaughter, Commission Chairman, Friday afternoon was that we need to prove ownership because he and Commissioner Evans had walked the property with Phillip Connell. Mr. Connell says he owns both sides of the road.

So from Friday afternoon to Monday morning deeds have been found to prove ownership of the land? And these deeds contradict tax records? So is it 2 or 3 years? Doesn’t a deed have an exact date on it? Who has been paying the taxes for the last 2 or 3 years? Wouldn’t somebody notice if they were paying taxes on land they didn’t own for 2 or 3 years?

In light of these new discoveries, the people immediately request information on what exactly the lawyer filed wrong which caused Phillip Connell’s supposed property along Old State Rd. not to show up in the tax assessor’s records, the exact date Mr. Connell purchased the property from Dr. Acree which gives him ownership of the land on both sides of Old State Rd. and the deeds. Most importantly the people request to know when and why Lowndes County lost the boat ramp to private property.

Oh, one more question, did the state of Georgia build the boat ramp with prison labor?

Commissioners, I respectfully request this information and that you deny the proposed abandonment of .17 miles of County Road 16, Old State Rd., leading to the Alapaha River.


April Huntley

Please deny abandonment of Old State Rd. leading to the Alapaha River —Brett Huntley

Received Monday; he sent it to all the Commissioners. -jsq

To the Lowndes County Commission:

My name is Brett Huntley. I have lived in Naylor Georgia for 13 years. I am also a business owner in Lowndes County. Brett Huntley

In the past 13 years I have used the location at the end of Old State Rd. as an entry point to the Alapaha River for all kinds of outdoor recreation. An example of these things are fishing, camping, boating, hiking, canoeing and family get togethers.

This location is the only public access point to the Alapaha River in Lowndes County. It would deeply sadden me to lose this place that I have grown to love over the years.

I would also like to not only suggest keeping this location open to the public, but ask the county to consider spending money on it. It would benefit the county to fix this location so it can be easier maintained and the public can access it.

I would also like to point out that this time the idea of shutting down the entry point to the river has been a lot more under the radar. I would like to know why a counter has not been placed across the road to show proof of how many people use this location. Also why was the sign notifying the public of this matter not put up until the last minute?

Thank you!

Brett Huntley

Please deny abandonment of Old State Rd. leading to the Alapaha River —Travis Bennett

Received Monday; he sent it to all the Commissioners; I added a few links. -jsq

To the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners:

My name is Travis Bennett, and I’ve lived in Naylor for 9 years. One of the reasons I moved to Naylor was the river. Travis Bennett When I moved here there were picnic tables and trash cans down there. It was really nice to have a picnic and family get together!

I live less than a mile from the boat ramp. My step son, Levi Giddens, and I go down and fish all the time. He loves fishing that river!

I’ve worked with the local DNR officer, Keith, on the litter and unruly people. In the past couple of years the river has stayed a lot cleaner. So I’m not sure why it is being said it is trashed down there.

I am disappointed that it took until late last week to get the public hearing sign up. I was at the last hearing on this and spoke with Joyce Evans. She stated the river should remain open. I hope she still thinks the same thing. I just wanted to state a few things I was thinking about.


Travis Bennett