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VDH says to avoid water in areas of Shingle Creek in Suffolk, Western Branch after sewage spill

Health officials warn individuals to avoid contact with water in the area where Shingle Creek merges to the Nansemond River after a sewage spill started April 29.
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SUFFOLK, Va. — Local health officials are warning residents to use caution while recreating in some areas of Shingle Creek after a sewage spill happened this week.

The Virginia Department of Health is advising individuals to avoid the area of Shingle Creek where it meets with the Nansemond River just below Route 32 and Main Street due to a recent sewage leak that occurred on April 29.

This caution also goes for the area where Western Branch merges from the Nansemond River, near Sack Point.

According to VDH, the leak occurred when a sewage force main was damaged. They said the sewer water has been leaking 100,000 gallons per day into Shingle Creek.

They said that they're working on repairing the break on the damaged line, but that the work is complicated by the fact that it's difficult to reach due to the surrounding landscape.

City and health officials said they will continue to monitor the water quality in the impacted area of Shingle Creek and the Nansemond River to evaluate the health risk to the public.

Officials checked the shellfish growing in the area and said it is not being impacted by the sewage spill at this time. They said there is a possibility that the bacteria could be a health risk to recreational users.

Here are some precautions to take in preventing recreational water illnesses:

  • Avoid touching any area of the water where you may smell a foul odor, or see dead fish or discolored water.
  • Wash skin with soap and water immediately in the case that you have come in contact with the water in the impacted area.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you are feeling sick after coming in contact with the contaminated water.

For more information on how to stay safe in natural bodies of water,  please visit the Swim Healthy VA website.