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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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BREAKING NEWS: Manure wastewater spills in Franklin County
Residents warned about Pigg River

Friday, April 4, 2014

ROCKY MOUNT — An accidental spill of approximately 30,000 gallons of cow manure wastewater occurred Thursday in Franklin County.

The wastewater spilled from a holding lagoon near the intersection of Calico Rock Road and 6 Mile Post Road, west of Rocky Mount. Some of the spill entered a small, unnamed tributary of the Pigg River, upstream from the Waid Park Recreation area, off 6 Mile Post Road in Franklin County.

 Signs have been posted along the Pigg River at the Waid Park Recreation area to advise citizens to avoid recreational use of these waters — swimming, fishing, wading or otherwise coming into contact with these waters — until further notice.

 “While there is no indication that this spill poses any increased risk to drinking water, it’s important to note that any surface waters may contain organisms that cause disease” said Dr. Margaret O’Dell, acting director, West Piedmont Health District. “Anytime you go swimming, boating, fishing or wading, you should avoid drinking or swallowing any water from an unknown or unapproved source, and afterward thoroughly wash any area exposed to these waters.”

 Although there is no evidence of any increased risk from catching and eating fish from these waters — as long as they are thoroughly cleaned and cooked — the posted advisory recommends that citizens temporarily avoid fishing in these waters. Any potential risk from this spill would be from coming into contact with or swallowing the water, not from eating properly prepared fish. The Virginia Department of Health recommends a cooking temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, for at least 15 seconds.

 Officials from VDH’s Franklin County Health Department, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Franklin County Parks and Recreation are working to evaluate the spill and minimize any potential risk.

 “Posting signs during an event like this is a routine precaution, to help provide information and advice to citizens,” said Tim Baker, environmental health manager, West Piedmont Health District.

 “Once there is sufficient indication the water has returned to normal, we’ll remove the posted advisory,” said O’Dell. “In the meantime, it’s important to exercise a little extra caution and avoid exposure to the Pigg River in this area.”

 For more information, contact the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality at (540) 562-6700 or VDH’s West Piedmont Health District at 638-2311 or


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