Virginia Department of Health warns parts of Levisa River has raw sewage

Feb. 28—LEBANON, Va. — The Virginia Department of Health/Cumberland Plateau Health District recommended Tuesday that people and pets avoid contact with a portion of the Levisa River in Buchanan County due to an ongoing sewage overflow from sewer mains that were damaged by recent flooding.

This health advisory extends along the Levisa River from Oakwood downstream to the Kentucky state line in Buchanan County, state health officials said. The length of the affected waterway is about 26 miles. Work to repair the sewer mains is ongoing, weather permitting.

Swallowing contaminated water can cause gastrointestinal illnesses, with vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain or fever, health officials said. Contact with contaminated water also can cause infections of the ears, nose, throat and skin. For safety, humans and pets should avoid contact with the affected portions of the Levisa River until the sewer mains have been repaired and the advisory is lifted.

To prevent recreational water illnesses due to exposure to sewage release events, people should:

—Avoid contact with the waterbodies noted above and observe advisory signage posted at waterbody access points.

—Avoid any area of the waterbody where there is water with a foul odor, dead or dying fish, or discolored water.

—Promptly wash skin with soap and water if you cannot avoid contact with water in the vicinity.

—Seek medical care and notify your practitioner of the waterbody exposure if you experience adverse health effects after contact with the waterbody.

For more information on recreational water safety, call 276-935-4591 or see "Safely Enjoy Virginia's Natural Waters" at

Contact Greg Jordan at