CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Officials said 2.5 million gallons of wastewater spilled into the canal at Great Bridge Lock during an incident on March 10, and as yet, there is no explanation for how it happened.

According to officials with the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD), they first learned about the incident just after 5 p.m. that Friday.

Officials say the tug boat Miss Judy was moving the dredge Essex through the canal when the incident occurred. Around 1 p.m., the tug boat radioed the bridge tender that one of the dredge’s ‘spuds’ – a large stake used by a dredge to pinion or anchor it into place – was “stuck on something.”

After HRSD learned about the incident, they reported wastewater could be seen “bubbling.”

HRSD dispatched crews to valve off and divert wastewater flows from the compromised pipe, isolating the force main by 8 p.m. However, the total volume of wastewater lost was 2.5 million gallons.

HRSD said divers will assess the damage to the cast iron force main on Wednesday, March 22.

The Virginia Department of Health has advised residents to postpone plans to fish in the water until water quality results have returned to background levels. HRSD water quality personnel are conducting daily sampling of the waterway.

There have been no service disruptions and no injuries reported following the line break. Additionally, officials say there are no impacts to marine or vehicle traffic in the area.

“There is no wastewater flowing,” said Leila Rice, HRSD director of communications. “We shut the valve off and diverted the day of the incident which was Friday, and we did that a few hours of our being notified of that.”

Rice said an incident report states what the operator of the tug did when things went south.

“The operator of the tug had radioed back there was a thud or the anchor of the barge was stuck, was the terminology used,” Rice said.

10 On Your Side contacted Norfolk Dredging Company, the owner of the barge and the tug and the employer of those on board, and they did not have an explanation for how this happened and offered nothing else.

Rice outlined what is likely to happen next with the Norfolk Dredging Company.

“I presume our finance department or risk management will be contacting them for possibly an insurance claim,” Rice said.

It should be noted that the waterway is clearly marked “submerged pipeline no anchoring or nets. Pipeline crossing – do not anchor or dredge this area.”

Rice noted that the HRSD pipe is on navigational maps.

“That be the way it is also featured in the navigational map that navigation uses to travel. Those maps show where infrastructure is.”

The Department of Environmental Quality posted an advisory on its website and signs have been posted near the water.

“Health Advisory: People and pets should avoid recreational activities that could result in contact with the water,” said the DEQ advisory.

“We do make this a priority,” said Julie Laferriere, DEQ compliance manager. “We are definitely monitoring the situation closely.”

Currently, there are elevated levels still in area.

As for the challenges to fix or replace the HRSD pipe, she said “we would need to assess the situation within the pipe before we determine the next step preparing for the fixing or replacement of the section of pipe depending on the conditions once they lay eyes on it.”

When that will happen is unknown.

It should also be noted Verizon had a fiber optic network line cut, and crews were re-establishing that Wednesday afternoon.

There have been no observed impacts to fish or wildlife nor are any expected; however, if you observe sick or injured wildlife, you can report this to