As of July 1, according to the State Health Department, 5,167.9 acres of local bodies of water are so polluted that shellfish cannot be harvested from them.
They range from tiny inlets in big rivers, to huge swaths of the rivers themselves.
Some are condemned for having high counts of coliform in monthly sampling by the Virginia Division of Shellfish Sanitation. These numbers can change. One year a creek may have more waters condemned. One year, the number may drop. In the best years, the body of water is found to be clean and free of harmful contamination.
Some areas of water found around the outfalls from sewage treatment plants are permanently prohibited, according to Daniel Powell of the shellfish sanitation staff.
Some are seasonally condemned, Powell said, and this usually refers to areas around marinas in the summer months when boating activity is heavier.
He noted that shellfish can be harvested from restricted waters and moved to open waters. After 15 days, Powell...
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