Few weekend visitors to James River as crews clear thousands of gallons of sewage near burst pipeline in Central Virginia

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) – The Virginia Department of Health is continuing to warn people not to go in the water at Tuckahoe Creek and parts of the James River after a sewage spill Tuesday.

300,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled in those areas Tuesday after a 40-inch pipeline burst near River Road in Goochland County.

The health advisory applies to Tuckahoe Creek and a section of the James River from Robious Landing Park to Belle Isle in downtown Richmond.

On Saturday, at Robious Landing Park near the James River, only a couple of boats and a handful of people could be seen on and near the water. One family told our sister station WRIC-TV they had to cancel a rafting trip due to the advisory, despite several family members traveling thousands of miles to come to Richmond.

The health advisory is in effect until sometime next week, and signs from the Virginia Department of Health can be seen at Robious Landing Park near the water in Chesterfield.

VDH asks the public to avoid any recreational water activities that involve submersion in the water like swimming, wading, tubing and whitewater kayaking.

Steve Tubman, the pollution response coordinator for the Piedmont Regional Office with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, said on Friday, contractors removed 45,000 gallons of impounded sewage out of the area next to a plantation pipeline.

On Saturday, Tubman said the contractors worked in the same area to remove at least another 45,000 gallons or more.

Morgan Rhudy and Emily Pasquinelli were enjoying lunch near the river on Saturday and said it’s a shame that the water’s contaminated because the James is usually crowded with people.

“We were pretty shocked by it. I think it’s really upsetting to hear that these kinds of things are happening,” Rhudy said. “You know, we grew up in this area and come here and it’s unusual to see so few people out and about enjoying these spaces.”

According to Tubman, River Road is scheduled to be opened back up by 6 p.m. Saturday evening.

Virginia DEQ plans on sampling the water in multiple locations on the Tuckahoe Creek and James River again on Monday. Those samples should come back within 24 hours.

VDH plans to release an update on the health advisory next week.

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