RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – The Virginia Department of Health is warning people to avoid Tuckahoe Creek and sections of the James River after raw sewage was accidentally discharged in Goochland County Tuesday night.
The advisory applies to Tuckahoe Creek and a section of the James River extending from Robious Landing Park to Belle Isle. The advisory will be lifted once VDH determines that bacteria levels in the river are safe.
The sewage was released into Tuckahoe Creek at around 7:30 p.m. after a sewer main burst near River Road. The pipe was shut off by the Goochland County Department of Public Utilities at 11 p.m., but not before 300,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into nearby Tuckahoe Creek.
In a statement to 8News, Goochland Deputy County Administrator Jo Ann Hunter said sewage from the affected line had been safely diverted into Henrico County’s wastewater system, and that repairs “should be complete by Saturday.”
In a statement, VDH said there would be no impact on local drinking water, but advised residents to avoid recreational water activities such as “swimming, wading, tubing, and whitewater kayaking.”
The VDH warned that swallowing contaminated water from the river could cause gastrointestinal illnesses and that external contact could cause “infections of the ears, nose, throat and skin.”
Tamara Jenkins, a spokesperson for Richmond Parks and Recreation, said Richmond was “not closing any of the parks to visitors,” but noted that signs provided by VDH had been posted throughout the James River Park System warning visitors about the danger of contaminated water.