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VDH reopens upper York River to shellfish harvesting

6/19/2013, 10:35 a.m.

— The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has withdrawn the emergency shellfish harvesting condemnation of the upper York River effective immediately. The area was closed for shellfish harvesting due to sewage overflows in West Point associated with the remnants of Tropical Storm Andrea.

The closure went into effect earlier this month, June 10 - 29, and was scheduled to reopen on June 30. However, the Virginia Department of Health notes that further testing by the VDH Division of Shellfish Sanitation indicates that the area is now safe to open for shellfish harvesting.

Under the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, shellfish areas impacted by sewage must be closed to shellfish harvesting for three weeks. However, seven or more days after the sewage input stops, oysters from the area can be tested for indications of viruses. If the results of those tests are below the national safety criteria, the area can be reopened immediately. Because the area on the upper York River that was closed earlier this month meets the seven-day closure requirement, and the tests conducted on oysters in that area meet the microbiological criteria, the area can now be reopened.