CHESAPEAKE, VA. (WAVY) — HRSD contractors and divers were on site Wednesday at the Great Bridge Lock assessing the aftermath of a damaged force main that caused millions of gallons of sewage to spill into the canal.

Divers were deployed Wednesday morning to get a better look at the 20-inch cast iron force main that was struck by a dredge on March 11.

Contractors set up an air compressor on the south side of the waterway which was connected to an air vent on the north shore to blow air into the broken line.

In an update Wednesday evening, divers verified a seven-foot break in the pipe which appears to be a result of the impact from the dredge.

The damage to the force main will require a full replacement of the pipe and officials say that replacement could not be completed today. HRSD staff are developing the workplace to replace the pipe.

The valves to this force main will remain closed until a permanent repair is put into place.

The Virginia Department of Health continues to advise residents to postpone plans to fish or recreate in the water. For more health and water safety information as well as water sampling data, please visit the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality website.

There have been no observed impacts to fish or wildlife nor are any expected; however, if you observe sick or injured wildlife, you can report this to