RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – The Virginia Department of Health extended a water advisory issued on Thursday through the middle of next week after tests found concentrations of fecal bacteria in Tuckahoe Creek.
The water advisory applies to Tuckahoe Creek and a section of the James River extending from Robious Landing Park to Belle Isle in downtown Richmond and will be in place until at least Wednesday, Aug. 4.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality collected water samples on July 28, the day after a sewer main in Goochland discharged raw sewage into Tuckahoe Creek, but the results were only released today in a statement from VDH.
VDEQ will take another series of samples on Monday, Aug. 2, with results expected on Aug. 3.
While VDEQ did not find high levels of fecal bacteria in the James itself, VDH opted to maintain the water advisory for sections of the river, citing an abundance of caution. Residents are urged to avoid any activity that could involve submersion in the water, including “swimming, wading, tubing and whitewater kayaking.”
Exposure to waterborne fecal bacteria can cause symptoms such as “vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain or fever” and infections of the ears, nose, throat and skin, according to VDH.
VDH Waterborne Hazards Program Coordinator Margaret Smigo told 8News that signage would be “posted at appropriate public access points in the advisory area” warning visitors about the danger.
The sewer main in Goochland initially dumped around 300,000 gallons of waste into Tuckahoe Creek on Tuesday night, before the line was diverted into the system of neighboring Henrico County. Goochland County said they expected the line to be fully repaired by Saturday.