A sewage spill Tuesday morning into Rehoboth Bay has led the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) to issue an emergency closure of commercial and recreational shellfish harvesting.
Oysters, clams and mussels in Rehoboth Bay cannot be harvested for the next 21 days after a spill from a residential sewer line in the Long Neck area of Sussex County discharged thousands of gallons of untreated wastewater into a waterway of the bay.
The spill, which occurred when a plumbing contractor cut a sewer line in Mariner’s Cove mobile home park, has since stopped, DNREC reported.
“The 21-day moratorium on shellfish harvest is a federal guideline, to ensure the bivalves will be safe to eat after natural depuration,” said DNREC in statement. “The shellfish industry, which has aquaculture leases in the closure area, has worked cooperatively.”
According to DNREC, the shellfish industry and department have worked collaboratively “to ensure that all product harvested in Delaware is of the highest quality, putting the safety of consumers first when making decisions to close and open areas to shellfish harvest.”
The department is tasked with: protecting and managing the state’s natural resources; protecting public health; developing and implements innovative watershed assessment; and monitoring and implementation activities.
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