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Several Virginia Waterways Closed for Shellfish Harvest

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creative commons
James River

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) - Virginia officials have ordered several waterways closed to shellfish harvesting because of concerns over contaminants that could have been stirred up by Hurricane Dorian.

The Daily Press reports the emergency closure affecting oysters and clams on portions of the Lynnhaven River, the lower James River and Back River will begin Saturday and run for at least four days.

Larry Hill is a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Health. He says heavy rains and tidal surges can cause land contaminants to be washed into the water and then ingested by shellfish. Eating the shellfish can then be harmful to humans.

Hill says the shellfish beds will be tested for contamination early next week to determine if harvesting can be reopened.

Don Rush is the News Director at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.