Waterborne Hazards Control

Welcome to Waterborne Hazards Control

Have a Healthy and Safe Swimming Summer! Download the messaging and media toolkit here!

Due to the State of Emergency and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, response to waterborne hazard reports will be limited.  To report fish kills or other dead animals in or near the water contact Virginia Emergency Operations Center (VEOC) at 1-800-468-8892.

VDH recommends safe practices when recreating in natural waterways.

  • Avoid swimming in natural waters for a few days after a heavy rain event.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming.
  • Avoid getting water shot up your nose when swimming, especially in warm shallow water.
  • Avoid swimming or wading in with open wounds or cuts.
  • Look for posted signs near the swimming area.
  • Don’t swim in areas where there are dead fish present.
  • Don’t swim if you are ill.
  • Shower with soap and clean water after swimming.
  • Avoid swimming in muddy water of lakes, ponds, and rivers or where algal blooms are visible.
  • Avoid swimming in unfamiliar ponds, streams, creeks, ditches, and canals.
  • Be aware of local weather conditions prior to recreational activities and watch for dangerous waves and signs of rip currents.

When in doubt, stay out!

For information on what is known about coronavirus in water, visit:

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) urges beachgoers and those using and maintaining swimming pools, spas, and water parks to focus on simple steps that can be taken to help ensure a healthy and safe swimming experience for everyone.

Information available through the links below describes the role of swimmers, aquatics and beach staff, residential pool owners, and public health officials in preventing drowning, swimming-related injuries, and waterborne illnesses. Click to learn more about swimmer hygiene and how you can take an active role to protect yourself while swimming and prevent the spread of germs.