VDH: Russell County residents warned to avoid Lewis Creek, Clinch River due to potential raw sewage threat

CLINCH RIVER 4_1560973302301.jpg.jpg

WJHL file photo of the Clinch River

RUSSELL COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – Residents of Russell County are advised against recreational use of areas of the Clinch River and Lewis Creek due to an “ongoing sewage overflow from the collection system of the wastewater treatment plant serving the Town of Honaker.”

According to a release from the Virginia Department of Health, advisories against swimming, wading, boating, tubing and consuming fish from portions of the waterways are in effect until further notice.

VDH said in the release that issues with equipment at the Honaker wastewater treatment plan are suspected to have caused raw sewage overflow into Lewis Creek.

Repairs at the plant are currently underway to fix the issues, according to the release.

VDH says the advisory extends along Lewis Creek south of State Route 80 in Honaker to the Puckett’s Hole area of the Clinch River.

Residents are also warned to keep their pets from swimming and playing in the water.

Fishing is still permitted so long as the fish are released after they are caught.

VDH warns that consuming contaminated water can cause gastrointestinal illnesses with a variety of symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and fever.

Coming into contact with contaminated water can also cause infections in the ears, nose, throat and skin.

The release offers the following safety tips:

  • Avoid swimming in natural waters for a few days after a heavy rain event.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming.
  • Avoid getting water shot up your nose when swimming, especially in warm shallow water.
  • Avoid swimming or wading in with open wounds or cuts.
  • Look for posted signs near the swimming area.
  • Don’t swim in areas where there are dead fish present.
  • Don’t swim if you are ill.
  • Shower with soap and clean water after swimming.
  • Avoid swimming in muddy water of lakes, ponds and rivers or where algal blooms are visible.
  • Avoid swimming in unfamiliar ponds, streams, creeks, ditches and canals.
  • Be aware of local weather conditions prior to recreational activities.
  • When in doubt, stay out!

For more information on water safety, call 276-889-7621.

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