VDH issues recreational water advisory for Tuckahoe Creek, parts of James River

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 9:26 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2021 at 7:25 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Department of Health has issued a recreational water advisory for all areas of Tuckahoe Creek starting at River Road.

The advisory comes after a sewer line broke near River Road at approximately 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

“I’m bummed out,” said Gavin Trant. Thursday was supposed to be a fun day down by the river with his grandmother.

According to Goochland County, 300,000 gallons of raw sewage were released into Tuckahoe Creek. The release stopped around 11 p.m. on July 27.

“We are advising that people avoid contact,” said Margaret Smigo, the Waterborne Hazards Control Coordinator with the Virginia Department of Health.

Recreational activities such as swimming, wading, tubing and whitewater kayaking should be avoided.

The areas where those activities should be avoided include the Eastern and Western Branches of Tuckahoe Creek, and the James River from Robious Landing Park in Chesterfield, Goochland and Henrico counties to Belle Isle in Richmond.

VDH says activities such as boating, fishing and canoeing can continue with caution to avoid contact with water.

“Would have been nice to cool down in the water, but better safe than sorry,” said Laura Hayes of Richmond.

Like Gavin, Hayes also planned a day on the river with a group of friends.

“We were just gonna get our kayaks out on the water and maybe have a picnic somewhere,” she said.

If you do go in the water, VDH is urging you to make sure not to ingest it, and wash off parts of your body that touch it.

“Wash with soapy water or use sanitizer or wipes to wipe the water off of your skin,” suggested Smigo.

Goochland Public Utilities is repairing the damaged section this week, and samples of the water are being tested by the Department of Environmental Quality to monitor the bacteria in it.

Drinking water is not affected at this time.

The Department of Environmental Quality will be collecting samples on Tuckahoe Creek and the James River to monitor bacteria concentrations.

To prevent recreational water illnesses due to exposure to sewage release events, people should:

  • Avoid contact with the waterbodies noted above and observe advisory signage posted at waterbody access points.
  • Avoid any area of the waterbody where there is water with a foul odor, dead or dying fish, or discolored water.
  • Promptly wash skin with soap and water if you cannot avoid contact with water in the vicinity.
  • Seek medical care and notify your practitioner of the waterbody exposure if you experience adverse health effects after contact with the waterbody.

For more information, click here.

VDH said the advisory would be lifted after bacteria levels in the water samples were deemed acceptable.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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