Raw Sewage Spill Closes VA's Back River To Shellfish Harvesting

(RICHMOND, Va.)— The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced that the Back River will be closed to shellfish harvesting due to potential contamination from a sewage spill.

A break in a sewage pipe caused a significant spill of raw sewage into a tributary of the Back River in the city of Hampton. Due to potential microbiological pollution hazards, shellfish taken from areas affected by the emergency closure are currently unacceptable for consumption.

The emergency closure is effective April 5 – 26, 2016, and is scheduled to reopen effective April 27, 2015. The Division of Shellfish Sanitation will monitor the shellfish and water quality during this period to determine if the area can be reopened sooner.

Maps of the affected areas are posted on the Division of Shellfish Sanitation’s home page at www.vdh.virginia.gov/Shellfish/. The affected shellfish are bivalve mollusks including oysters and clams, but not crabs or fin fish.

Ingesting shellfish taken from the closed areas at this time could cause gastrointestinal illnesses including norovirus, hepatitis A and shigellosis.

For more information on shellfish closures, see the frequently asked questions on shellfish condemnations at www.vdh.virginia.gov/EnvironmentalHealth/Shellfish/faq/.

Source: Virginia Department of Health (VDH)