November 14, 2012
(AP) Three Virginia waterways remain closed to shellfish harvesting because of high contamination levels.
The state closed most of the lower Chesapeake Bay following Hurricane Sandy due to high levels of coliphage. The virus indicates the presence of human pathogens associated with sewage contamination.
Coliphage levels dropped in most of the waterways and the state reopened them last week.
But state Division of Shellfish Sanitation director Robert Croonerberghs tells The Virginian-Pilot that coliphage levels in the Nansemond, lower James and Lynnhaven rivers remain above federal safety standards.
Croonenberghs says the waterways will remain closed until the coliphage levels decline.
During the storm, a main under Shingle Creek ruptured and spilled more than 18 million gallons of untreated sewage into the Nansemond River tributary. The rupture's cause hasn't been determined.