The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control today issued an emergency closure of commercial and recreational shellfish harvest of oysters, clams and mussels in the Rehoboth Bay 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 Rehoboth Bay. The harvest closure will be in effect for 21 days unless further spills occur.
DNREC also advises recreationalists to limit water contact in the Rehoboth Bay, particularly in the waters adjacent to where the spill occurred.
The spill occurred when a plumbing contractor cut a sewer line in Mariner’s Cove mobile home park. It was reported to DNREC on Tuesday morning. The Delaware Natural Resources Police immediately dispatched an officer to the site. The spill had stopped.
The 21-day moratorium on shellfish harvest is a federal guideline, to ensure the bivalves will be safe to eat after natural depuration. The shellfish industry, which has aquaculture leases in the closure area, has worked cooperatively during this closure 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. Information on shellfish harvesting areas is available on DNREC’s website at de.gov/shellfish.
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship develops and implements innovative watershed assessment, monitoring and implementation activities. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.