RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Department of Health announced Saturday that it is closing part of the Rappahannock River until July 13 for shellfish harvesting.
The river is being closed partially because of concerns that animal waste and human sewage has tainted shellfish in the river, making the animals not safe to eat due to potential microbiological and chemical pollution hazards.
According to officials, the area may be reopened earlier if water quality monitoring results show that the area is no longer unsafe and maps of the affected areas are posted on the Division of Shellfish Sanitation’s here.
“These flooding events are reminders for all Virginians to be prepared as we enter the 2018 hurricane season,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. “Being prepared for severe weather before it arrives can keep you and your family safe and healthy.”
Monitoring shellfish beds for these hazards after flooding ensures that seafood harvested does not contain harmful substances that may make shellfish consumers ill.
Ingesting shellfish taken from the closed areas at this time could cause gastrointestinal illnesses including norovirus, hepatitis A and shigellosis.
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