‘Significant progress’ on the Nansemond

Published 10:22 pm Friday, April 7, 2017

To the editor:

Friday’s editorial is right on the mark regarding the condition of the Nansemond River, its worsening state and a positive step.

The Nansemond River Preservation Alliance has been taking river water samples on the Nansemond since 2010, using Virginia Department of Environmental Quality criteria. It issues a written “State of the Nansemond Report Card” every two years based on those samples.

Email newsletter signup

Between 2014 and 2016, the grade for bacteria in the river, upstream and at the mouth, has declined from D- to F upstream and from C to C- at the mouth. The increased bacteria is fecal coliform.

Last year, Delegate Chris Jones from Suffolk obtained funding for three additional positions in the Virginia Department of Health Division of Shellfish Sanitation to place representatives of the division on the ground to test the Nansemond to determine “hot spots” of the pollution and how long areas must be closed before they are again safe for shellfish harvesting.

Following that, and with the advent of a new city manager in Suffolk, the city has become more interested, and HRSD, with its ability to use DNA testing to look for and identify sources, has joined the fray with the city, VDH and NRPA.

This is a positive step, and, as with a similar partnership in Norfolk on the Lafayette River, some significant progress has been made.

John Newhard