WISE COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) on Wednesday issued a recreational water advisory for the South Fork of the Powell River in Big Stone Gap.
A release from the VDH said a sewage main failure from the Big Stone Gap Department of Public Utilities on Tuesday resulted in 50 gallons of sewage per minute being released into the Powell River near East Stone Gap.
Repair efforts on the failed sewage main continued on Wednesday, according to the release. The VDH said no evidence of impacts to drinking water has been observed as of Wednesday.
The release said the public is advised to avoid water activities that could result in submersion or swallowing water such as swimming, wading, tubing or whitewater kayaking.
Recreational activities where individuals can avoid contact with water such as boating, fishing or canoeing can continue with caution, according to the release.
Contact with contaminated water can cause infections of the ear, nose, throat and skin, according to the release. Swallowing contaminated water can cause vomiting, nausea, fever or gastrointestinal illness, the release said.
The advisory applies to both people and pets, according to the release. Updates will be provided as they become available, and no expiration date for the advisory was given by the VDH.