JAMES ISLAND — Shellfish beds have been closed in the waters between this island and Folly Beach after a sewer line break today spilled more than 200 gallons of raw sewage into the marsh.

The spill was characterized as small by a local utility staffer and by Jim Beasley, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control public information director. The closing affects the marsh from Folly Road to Folly River, then north nearly to Clark Sound. It is a mandatory 21-day closing. A number of public beds and culture bed leases are in the closed area.

After the 21-day period, the beds won’t reopen unless fecal bacteria counts have dropped to acceptable levels, said Mike Pearson, manager of DHEC’s Shellfish Sanitation Section. “This closure affects portions of Secessionville Creek, First Sisters Creek and Folly Creek.”

A contractor installing a fiber optic line broke through the top of the line running at the edge of the marsh at Folly Road and Battery Island Drive. The spill began at 11 a.m., said David Huffman, James Island Public Service District wastewater superintendent. District workers had the feeding pump stations shut down 15 minutes later, then contained the spill, he said. By afternoon the line had been repaired.

“It’s under control,” he said.

Bacteria pollution in marsh feeder creeks can damage or kill marine life, but it was too soon to say what impact the spill had.