RICHMOND, Va. (WVEC) -- The James, Nansemond and Back Rivers have been reopened to shellfish harvesting, state health officials say.

The rivers were closed after heavy rainfall caused flooding and sewage overflows, which had the potential to contaminate the areas with bacteria and viruses that can be harmful to humans if ingested.

State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine announced Thursday that the rivers were now safe for shellfish harvesting.

The Division of Shellfish Sanitation had been collecting samples of seawater and shellfish tissue since the closures, and test results show it is now safe for the public to resume shellfishing activities in these areas.