Shellfish harvesting suspended after sewage discharge into St. Jones River

Creative Commons photo.

Environmental Secretary David Small issued an emergency order suspending commercial and recreational shellfish harvest of oysters, clams and mussels in  Delaware Bay.

The order  came after  a spill from a Kent County sewage pump station in Dover dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of untreated wastewater into the 13-mile-lon  St. Jones River which empties into the bay. (See order below)

Secretarys-Order-No-2017-WS-0005

The harvest closure will be in effect for 21 days after the county’s wastewater discharge has been halted.

The spill led to the discharge of  hundreds of thousands of gallons of untreated wastewater into the St. Jones River which empties into the bay. The harvest closure will be in effect for 21 days after the county’s wastewater discharge has been halted.

DNREC also advised individuals to  not  participate in recreational activities in the  St. Jones River from its upper reaches of Silver Lake in Dover to Bowers, where it flows to the bay.

DNREC also ordered Kent County’s public works department to increase its monitoring of the river for bacteria and organics until water quality returns to pre-spill conditions. Kent County continues to make repairs as quickly as possible, and has been cooperating fully with DNREC and working with water users to try and reduce flows from the sanitary sewage system during repairs.

The spill – which occurred when repair of a main near Magnolia in Kent County’s sanitary sewer system caused an overflow at the Dover pump station – was reported Tuesday   to DNREC by Kent County’s public works department. An earlier but smaller spill reported last week occurred in conjunction with the same force main repair. The current spill continued into the evening as an unknown but “significant amount of untreated wastewater” was carried downstream by an outgoing  tide.

 

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