Virginia Department of Health reopens Back River to shellfish harvesting

Posted at 9:06 PM, Apr 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-13 15:29:35-04

HAMPTON, Va. – The Virginia Department of Health has reopened the Back River for shellfish harvesting.

It was closed April 5 – April 13 due to potential contamination from a sewage spill.

A break in a sewage pipe caused a spill of raw sewage into a tributary of the Back River. Shellfish were taken from the areas affected by the emergency closure due to potential microbiological pollution hazards.

(Map: Virginia Department of Health)

(Map: Virginia Department of Health)

The affected shellfish include oysters and clams, but not crabs or fin fish. Shellfish taken from affected areas should not be eaten. Eating shellfish taken from the closed areas at this time could cause norovirus, hepatitis A and shigellosis.

The closure is effective immediately. The river is scheduled to reopen effective April 27.

The Division of Shellfish Sanitation will monitor the shellfish and water quality to determine if the river can be reopened sooner.

Visit the Division of Shellfish Sanitation’s home page at