Back Bay bacteria battle

Posted at 2:25 PM, Mar 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-22 14:58:35-04

Virginia Beach, Va. – It’s a Virginia Beach wetland paradise – with bacteria and pollution that could be making you sick.

Wildlife officials are trying to find solutions to problems with bacteria and pollution in Back Bay – problems dating back to the 1970s.

Meteorologist Dominic Brown has the story.

Virginia Beach, Va. - The Back Bay in Virginia Beach is known for its beauty, but now it’s getting attention for problems with bacteria and pollution.

These issues actually date all the way back to the 1970s.

“All the grass died, the fish and the ducks just left or died off, and there was a need to figure out why this was happening,” says Todd Barnes, president of the Back Bay Restoration Foundation.

He is just one of several people working to keep the Back Bay healthy.

But over the years, it hasn’t been easy.

Routine tests performed by the state show that a number of creeks and rivers that link up to the bay often have low oxygen and are polluted with high levels of bacteria, like fecal matter, capable of making people sick.

“It`s not only the stuff that animals flush from pasture land and the pigs and the chickens and the people from the sewer systems, it`s also possible medications and other chemicals,” says Barnes.

The Back Bay is a beautiful area and the state wants to keep it that way by making it a top priority to find out what’s plaguing the bay and what can be done to fix it.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will begin a study on the bay this year.

A representative says the study will determine how much pollution the water can stand and still meet water quality standards.

It will also find out if human or animal waste is causing the problem.

The state will also put a plan in place to clean up the waterway to make sure it’s healthy for both people and wildlife.