VDH reopens portions of waterways previously closed to shellfish harvesting

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FILE – In this July 24, 2014, file photo, mounds of crumbled concrete and shucked oyster shells intended to be submerged to help rebuild oyster reefs sit along the roadside in Hopedale, La. U.S. House members from three Gulf Coast states are backing their governors’ request for a fisheries disaster declaration, saying freshwater flooding into saltwater ecosystems has killed oysters, hurt fish catches and damaged livelihoods. (AP Photo/Stacey Plaisance, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) – On Thursday, the Virginia Department of Health announced the reopening of portions of the Nansemond River- Shingle Creek in Suffolk, Back Creek, Poquoson River, York River, and the Chesapeake Bay that was impacted by a raw sewage spill.

In a press release, the VDH Division of Shellfish Safety said they have monitored water quality in the areas impacted since the raw sewage release occurred.

The Health District said, “while water testing indicates the waterbodies are no longer affected by the sewage release, bacteria levels of Shingle Creek and its confluence with the Nansemond River tend to be higher than state thresholds for recreational use.”

The VDH said the results from a shellfish sample confirm that the area is now safe for shellfish harvesting.

The VDH recommends the following steps to prevent illness while in any body of water:

  • Avoiding contact with any area of the waterbody where there is water with a foul odor, dead
  • or dying fish, or discolored water.
  • Avoiding recreational activities that may result in the ingestion of water in natural waterways for at least three days following rain events.
  • Whenever you have recreated in natural waterways, promptly wash exposed areas with soap and water.
  • If you have underlying health conditions that affect your immune system, you may be more susceptible to infections while recreating because there is likely to be some level of bacteria, parasites, and possibly viruses present in natural bodies of water.
  • If you experience adverse health effects after contact with the waterbody, seek medical care, and notify your doctor of the waterbody exposure.

For additional information on shellfish closures, visit the frequently asked questions section on the Virginia Department of Health’s website.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Watermen cite significant loss of income after raw sewage dumped in Nansemond River


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