Over 9 Million Gallons Of Sewage Overflowed Into Local Waterways, Sanitation Officials Say
Hampton Roads Sanitation District officials say more than 9 million gallons of raw sewage overflowed into local waterways during heavy rains last week.
The York River Treatment Plant in Seaford released approximately 6.8 million gallons of sewage into Back Creek after a pipeline collapsed. Officials stopped the spill Saturday afternoon.
In Suffolk, another 2.5 million gallons of sewage flowed into Shingle Creek after rainwater overwhelmed a pump station, HRSD officials said.
The sanitation district noted it plans to replace the Suffolk pump station — which was built in the 1970s. Construction of a new station is tentatively scheduled for early next year.
HRSD said people should avoid contact and use of Shingle Creek and Back Creek until further notice. The sewage spills have also prompted the Virginia Department of Health to temporarily close parts of surrounding waterways, including the Nansemond River, to shellfish harvesting.
“HRSD continues to work closely with the Virginia Department of Health - Division of Shellfish Safety (VDH) in coordinating monitoring at the impacted sites, including Shingle Creek and the Nansemond River in Suffolk, and Back Creek in York County,” HRSD said in a press release.
Storms late last week caused major flooding across parts of Hampton Roads. Some areas experienced more than six inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service in Wakefield.
The sewage spills into waterways come as Hampton Roads has already dealt with poor water quality lately. Throughout the summer, the Norfolk health department found high levels of fecal pollution around the city’s beaches.
Algae blooms across the region have also been killing fish and threatening oysters.