Health dept.: Steer clear of Shingle Creek due to sewage leak

Published 11:41 am Saturday, May 1, 2021

The Virginia Department of Health is urging an abundance of caution in the vicinity of Shingle Creek due to a damaged sewer main leaking into it.

People should steer clear of the creek and from its confluence with the Nansemond River (below Route 32 and Main Street) to the confluence of the Western Branch of the Nansemond River (near Sack Point).

A Virginia Department of Health press release stated a leaking sewer force main was identified on April 29. The release is estimated at a rate of 100,000 gallons per day. Repairs are under way to the damaged line, which is difficult to reach due to the surrounding landscape.

Email newsletter signup

The city of Suffolk and Virginia Department of Health will continue to monitor water quality in Shingle Creek and the Nansemond River to assess the risk to the public from the ongoing sewage release, the press release stated. The shellfish growing areas directly downstream of the release are not currently impacted. Bacteria that could pose a health risk to recreational users are also currently below advisory thresholds.

To prevent recreational water illnesses due to sewage release events, people should:

  • Avoid contact with any area of the waterbody where there is water with a foul odor, dead or dying fish, or discolored water.
  • If you cannot avoid contact with water in the vicinity, promptly wash skin with soap and water.
  • If you experience adverse health effects after contact with the waterbody, seek medical care and notify your practitioner of the waterbody exposure.

For more information on how to keep safe while recreating in natural bodies of water, visit