Tag Archives: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Okefenokee resolution, Planning Commission, Airport, Sewer system, Road renaming moratorium @ VCC 2021-11-11

With a packed agenda, the Valdosta City Council passed eight resolutions, approved five bids or purchases, and appointed people to four boards, yet the longest discussion was after all that.

[Mayor, Howard, Gibbs, WWTP, Manager & Tooley, Suwannee Riverkeeper]
Mayor, Howard, Gibbs, WWTP, Manager & Tooley, Suwannee Riverkeeper

Perhaps the most far-reaching item was one of the briefest, presented by Mayor Scott James Matheson: 3.f. Resolution in Opposition to a proposed strip mine near the Okefenokee Swamp, opposing the proposed Twin Pines Minerals (TPM) strip mine or any others within ten miles of the Swamp, asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reverse its abdication of oversight, asking GA-EPD for a moratorium on all mining permits until effects are settled of the recent court overruling of 2020 Clean Water Act changes, as well as to reject the TPM permits, or at least to review those applications as thoroughly as the Army Corps would, and asking the Georgia legislature to prevent such strip mines near the Swamp or any blackwater rivers in the Suwannee River Basin. Continue reading

Videos: Water on private roads, ditches, transparency, Tourism Authority appointment, 3 rezonings, wetlands, solar, UPS, Lake Alapaha water treatment, body cameras @ LCC Regular 2021-08-10

Update 2022-08-25: Alapaha Plantation nanofiltration water system failed after a year @ LCC Regular 2022-07-26.

Lowndes County apparently forgot to turn on the audio feed to the media corral in the back of the room during their August 10, 2021, Regular Session. Gretchen noticed during the 811 Day Proclamation and switched to the camera’s microphone, which was better than no audio. They did turn the audio feed back on during the approval of the Minutes.

The Lowndes County Commission has not videoed their own meetings for about a year now, despite authorizing $110,147.78 for Commission Chambers Audio and Visual Upgrade back in April with a report in July of expected total delivery in August. Meanwhile, the City of Valdosta livestreamed all their meetings during the pandemic with an iPhone.

The longest item by far at twelve minutes was 7.b. REZ-2021-12 US 84/I-75 Industrial Park – PD amendment for solar. After Attorney Jack Langdale spoke for, Gretchen Quarterman also spoke for.

REZ-2021-12 PD amendment for solar @ Lowndes County Commission 2021-09-10

Second was 10. Reports – County Manager, which includes some discussion about rural broadband funding.

Plus five Citizens Wishing to Be Heard, two about impassible private dirt roads, two others about drainage problems, and Brad Folsom: citizens request for more transparency.

It didn’t take a crystal ball to predict (as I did) that Wild Adventures Jon Vigue would be appointed to the Valdosta Lowndes Tourism Authority, since the last two appointees were also Wild Adventures GM.

Commissioners approved the 8.b. Alapaha Plantation Water Treatment Pilot Study, but there are murmurings that they are not going to do any subdivision water systems more like that.

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item with a few notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the LAKE videos of the preceding Monday morning Work Session, the agenda and the preceding Planning Commission meeting. The board packet, received after a LAKE open records request, is on the LAKE website:
http://www.l-a-k-e.org/govt/loco/2021-08-09–lcc-packet

Videos: Tourism Authority appointment, 3 rezonings, wetlands, solar, UPS, Lake Alapaha water treatment, body cameras @ LCC Work 2021-08-09

The longest item at fourteen and a half minutes was yet more public money to be spent on water for the private Lake Alapaha subdivision next to the Alapaha River, in the Lowndes County Commission Work Session yesterday, Monday morning, August 9, 2021. They vote 5:30 PM this evening, Tuesday evening, August 10. See also The never-ending Lake Alapaha Water Treatment Plant saga @ LCC 2021-08-10.

Lowndes County Commissioner Demarcus Marshall questioning more money for Lake Alapaha Water Treatment

The three rezonings also got 4, 5, and 7 minutes.

It’s an even safer bet they will appoint Wild Adventures General Manager Jonathan Vigue to the Tourism Authority.

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the agenda and the preceding Planning Commission meeting. The board packet, received after a LAKE open records request, is on the LAKE website:
http://www.l-a-k-e.org/govt/loco/2021-08-09–lcc-packet

Tourism Authority appointment, 3 rezonings, wetlands, solar, UPS, Lake Alapaha water treatment, body cameras @ LCC 2021-08-09

Update 2021-08-09: The never-ending Lake Alapaha Water Treatment Plant saga @ LCC 2021-08-10.

The biggest ticket item is yet more public money to be spent on water for the private Lake Alapaha subdivision next to the Alapaha River, in the Lowndes County Commission agenda for Monday morning, August 9, 2021, and voting Tuesday evening, August 10.

On the Tourism Authority appointment, Molly Deese succeeded the previous General Manager of Wild Adventures, so it’s a safe bet that the current GM, Jonathan Vigue, will succeed her on that Authority. But he’s got some competition with Rita Hightower of the Garden Center and The Crescent.

As usual, none of the three rezonings are counted as affecting the county budget, although all three will have long-term effects, two negative because of school buses and Fire and Sheriff Department calls, and one maybe positive because it’s for solar panels: REZ-2021-12 US 84/I-75 Industrial Park ~542 ac., County Utilities, I-S, M-1, M-2 and P-D (Amended).

[The three rezonings]
The three rezonings

Note the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determination that the remaining part of Val Del Villas off Val Del Road is not jurisdictional wetlands, so more houses can be built. Northside Property Development has the same registered agent as Uvalde Land Company that bought the Cherry Creek Mitigation Bank next to the Withlacoochee River and wants to deannex the upland half of it from Valdosta. The uplands in that Bank tract are not jurisdictional wetlands, either.

The other subdivision also involves wetlands, two creeks leading to Bay Branch and the Withlacoochee River, plus at least one retention pond: REZ-2021-09 Building Valdosta Subdivision (0070 018), R-A to R-21, Community Well & Septic, ~64.84 acres.

Cost What
$173,000.00Alapaha Plantation Water Treatment Pilot Study
$102,812.00Purchase of Body Cameras and Dash Cameras for Various Departments
$24,778.59Vertiv Service Contract for the Liebert UPS at the 911 Center & the 4 Tower Sites
$300,590.59Total

The $300 thousand total is a bit apples and oranges, since the cameras are for five years and the UPS is annual.

Here is the agenda. The board packet, received after a LAKE open records request, is on the LAKE website:
http://www.l-a-k-e.org/govt/loco/2021-08-09–lcc-packet

See also the preceding Planning Commission meeting.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, AUGUST 9, 2021, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, AUGUST 10, 2021, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

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Natural gas leak so bad VDT notices it

Sempra Energy’s California leak stinks so bad the VDT smelled it from 3,000 miles away. But GA Gov. Nathan Deal still can’t smell Sabal Trail over campaign contributions from Sempra and from Spectra Energy.

Brian Melley, AP, 25 November 2015, Utility plans to mask awful odor from uncontrolled gas leak,

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A utility trying to stop a monthlong leak at a massive natural gas storage facility near a Los Angeles neighborhood said it planned to use a mist to mask the sickening stench as work continues — possibly for three more months — to plug the well.

Even the 9-inch pipeline to Berrien County Continue reading

Valdosta sewage into Alapaha River watershed three times in February 2015

Valdosta didn’t mention it and the Florida Department of Health doesn’t seem to know it, 300x219 Knights Creek in Valdosta, in Knights Creek, Valdosta, Georgia, by USGS Streamer, for WWALS.net, 28 February 2015 but Knights Creek is in the Alapaha River watershed. Valdosta spilled sewage into it twice in February. Plus that 16 February spill into Dukes Bay Canal also ends up in the Alapaha River. But never you mind, Valdosta also spilled into the Withlacoochee River through the usual Sugar Creek. Somehow I don’t think all these spills are not Valdosta’s fault. Seems like it’s time for Valdosta to finish fixing its wastewater problem. And since the most recent spills were due to rainfall directly on Valdosta, the levee proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers on Sugar Creek at the Withlacoochee River wouldn’t help, nor would it help at any time for spills directly into the Withlacoochee River at GA 133, nor for Dukes Bay Canal nor Knights Creek, which flow into the Alapaha River.

News Release, Florida Department of Health (FDH), 27 February 2015, Florida Department of Health Advises of Possible Wastewater Contamination, Continue reading

USACE presentation online at City of Valdosta

Emily Davenport, Valdosta Stormwater Manager, sent a letter 2 June 2014 to attendees of the 6 May 2014 Army Corps of Engineers presentations, with paper materials attached, and a note that they are also online at Stormwater Division, Regional Flooding. [Not there anymore, but see updated first bullet item below. 2018-01-28 -jsq]

Insurers suing for lack of preparation for record floods

What if, in addition to the record floods of 2009 and 2013 and 2014 apparently caused by local lack of planning in our watersheds, what if we got 15 inches of rain in one 24 hour period like Pensacola did a few weeks ago? Local governments might get sued by insurers for lack of planning, like 200 communities in the Chicago area already got sued. Maybe we should plan ahead for greater weather variability caused by climate change.

Eric Holthaus wrote for Future Tense on Slate 30 April 2014, The Calamitous Climate Responsible for Florida’s Record Rainfall, Continue reading

Study before Levee –Tim Carroll @ VCC 2014-05-06

Comment on facebook 10 May 2014 and he told me the same by telephone.

It is clear a full watershed wide study must be completed before any decisions can be made. As established in this first study—The City of Valdosta is the recipient-not the origin- of the flood waters. While it confirms what we already knew, my job is to try and keep the ball rolling forward. Engage congressional leaders, secure funding and find long term, sustainable solutions that benefit all communities within the watershed basin. A levee by itself is not the answer.
–Tim Carroll

This was a comment on Continue reading

Videos: Flooding study by Army Corps of Engineers @ VCC 2014-05-06

In these videos of the initial flooding study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the Valdosta City Council Work Session, you can see they’re the Corps, all right: they want to build a levee. They did emphasize that this was just an initial study on what could be done inside Valdosta, and their main conclusion was that there was enough need to indicate federal interest, as in possibilities of getting federal funding for solutions. City Manager Larry Hanson got the Corps to confirm (several times) that Valdosta alone couldn’t stop the flooding, since the vast majority of floodwaters comes from upstream on the Withlacoochee and Little Rivers.

Later that same evening in response to citizen questions at the Valdosta City Hall Annex, the Corps clarified more that they did understand there were issues of impervious surfaces and development and loss of wetlands and they wanted to do a much larger study of the entire watershed, which could take several years to accomplish. They kept emphasizing that the Suwannee River watershed is one of the largest in the country, and there are also flooding problems on the Suwannee River, which could be important for obtaining federal dollars.

As we already knew, Valdosta has funded projects already started to move the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) uphill and to add a force main to prevent manhole overflows. People downstream in Florida may be relieved to hear something is being done.

Here’s a video playlist, followed by images of the Corp’s slides and of the City Council, and some notes.

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