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State proposes shellfish zones; county frets sewer impact

PARKSLEY - A state agency is proposing a new water quality regulation that would apply only to the Eastern Shore and could impact Accomack County's options for centralized sewage treatment.

The State Water Control Board is considering a new regulation that would create Shellfish Aquaculture Enhancement Zones on the Eastern Shore "to provide additional protection to these waters that are used or could reasonably be used for shellfish aquaculture or to support aquaculture," according to an announcement last week.

Aquaculture operations in Virginia are a lucrative business, grossing tens of millions of dollars annually.

A public informational meeting on the proposed regulation will be held Oct. 17 at the Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Painter, and the agency is taking comments from the public through Oct. 24.

The regulation would require facilities that propose to release treated wastewater within these zones to demonstrate that their discharge method is the alternative that produces the least environmental impact.

The Accomack County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday voted to ask the SWCB to use Eastern Shore people to form an advisory committee planned to study the proposal.

Source: Tasley Eastern Shore News