Oyster Grounds Closed Because of Flooding, Sewage Overflows - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Oyster Grounds Closed Because of Flooding, Sewage Overflows

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP)- The Virginia Department of Health has ordered the emergency closure of thousands of acres of shellfish harvesting waters to avoid potential contamination from Hurricane Matthew-related flooding and sewage spills "likely containing pathogenic bacteria and viruses."
    
The closures are effective until the end of the month. An additional 80,000 acres of oyster grounds are in "restricted status," meaning harvesting is subject to rainfall and monitoring results because of potential pollution.
    
Flooding can increase the risk of high levels of bacteria by sanitary sewer line breaks and by overwhelming treatment plants, resulting in the discharge of sewage. Floodwaters also can carry contamination from private septic systems and animal waste.
    
Department of Health spokesman Keith Skiles says that "generally by about three weeks, there's no longer a risk of a virus."
    

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