Health officials lift advisory for Withlacoochee

JASPER, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Hamilton and Madison counties lifted the joint health advisory Thursday for the Withlacoochee River.

The advisory was issued Feb. 11 with elevated indicators of fecal-indicator bacteria.

Both health departments have conducted sampling along the river since the advisory was issued and the recent test results indicate the Withlacoochee again meets surface water quality, meaning the public can resume water-related activities.

The health advisory followed one lifted in late January after a December wastewater spill in Valdosta, Georgia.

It was issued Jan. 8 for the entire Withlacoochee River in Florida and a portion of the Suwannee River from where the Withlacoochee River connects down to County Road 250 at Dowling Park. The advisory came after sampling and laboratory test results showed the river water was impacted by the sewage spill and had moved into the Withlacoochee River at the Florida/Georgia border during the last few rain falls.

The City of Valdosta reported the spill Dec. 9 of approximately 7.5 million gallons of untreated sewage that they believe began on Dec. 3 due to repair work on a major lift station….