Virginia Department of Health Closes a Portion of the York River to Shellfish Harvesting

June 4, 2015

For More Information Contact

  • Michelle Stoll, (804) 864-7963

(RICHMOND, Va.)— The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced today that a portion of Back River will be closed to shellfish harvesting due to potential contamination from a sewage spill.

A break in a sewage pipe caused a significant spill of raw sewage onto the ground and into a tributary of the Northwest Branch of Back River in the city of Hampton. Due to potential microbiological pollution hazards, shellfish taken from areas affected by the emergency closure are currently unacceptable for consumption.

The emergency closure is effective June 4 – 25, 2015, and is scheduled to reopen effective June 26, 2015. The Division of Shellfish Sanitation will monitor the shellfish and water quality during this period to determine if the area can be reopened sooner.

Maps of the affected areas are posted on the Division of Shellfish Sanitation’s home page The affected shellfish are bivalve mollusks including oysters and clams, but not crabs or fin fish.

Ingesting shellfish taken from the closed areas at this time could cause gastrointestinal illnesses including norovirus, hepatitis A and shigellosis.

For more information on shellfish closures, see the frequently asked questions on shellfish condemnations