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Reston Association Implores County to Fix Exposed Sewer Line

by Karen Goff March 30, 2016 at 2:45 pm 13 Comments

Sewer pipe near Cedar Cove/reader photoReston Association’s Board of Directors has asked Fairfax County Supervisors Sharon Bulova to fund a stream restoration and sanitary sewer line stabilization and maintenance project near Lake Audubon “as soon as possible.”

The county is in the process of formulating its Fiscal Year 2017 budget, and RA President Ellen Graves says that repair costs to the sewer line — owned by the county but exposed and presenting an environmental danger to Reston residents — need to be included.

The problem has been exacerbated, RA says, by runoff from FCPS’ South Lakes High School and Langston Hughes Middle School, which sit uphill from the erosion site behind Wakerobin Lane and Cedar Cove Cluster.

“This is a unique situation, which warrants a quick response from the County, the Wastewater Management System, Fairfax County Public Schools, and Reston Association,” Graves wrote in a recent letter to Bulova, Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and other county officials.

A presentation at the January RA Board meeting showed that erosion has contributed to the exposure of eight sewer lines in the hillside leading from South Lakes Drive to Lake Audubon.

RA’s land use attorney John McBride called the situation “a health hazard waiting to happen,”and compared the issue to recent events in Flint, Mich., where a money-saving effort to change the water supply resulted in dangerous lead contamination.

The exposure of the pipes earned emergency notice last summer, when one began leaking sewage downhill into Lake Audubon. The pipe was fixed enough to quell the spill, but Graves says that was just a temporary stop.

“The only way to properly prevent another spill of human excrement into the drainage channel and Lake Audubon is to perform this stream restoration and sewer line rehabilitation project, which places these lines where they should be — underground,”Graves wrote. “The crisis in Flint, Michigan, teaches us that being budget conscious should not delay the maintenance of basic health infrastructure.”

Repairs to the outfall channel are estimated to be about $1 million, RA officials estimated at the January meeting.

Adding concern is a planned 40,000-square-foot addition for South Lakes High School. Fairfax County Public School officials said the addition does not have to follow updated environmental rules and is grandfathered in under older ones.

RA said it also will ask FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza and the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services to not approve the pending SLHS site plan “until a stable, non-erosive and adequate outfall is restored in the drainage channel.”

The board also authorized allocating up to $20,000 from its operating reserves fund to conduct an independent audit of the waterflow and mitigation measures and to use the results to research the validity of FCPS’ waiver of stormwater management/ best management practices.

RA Letter Storm Sewer Emergency Funding Request

Photo of exposed sewer line behind Wakerobin Lane/Reader contribution

  • Chuck Morningwood

    So, South Reston really is becoming an open sewer. Whuddathunkthat?

  • MJay

    Maybe the RA board should install some art in the area in order to gain influence.

    • Why do you bother?

      I believe you meant effluence….

      • Nyla J.

        Now that’s funny! Good one.

  • Calling all HS students

    Please help RA figure this out so they can write a proper letter!!! Clues follow.
    Calculate and draw conclusions about changes in the viscosity, flow rate, and density of
    • Investigate the solubility of substances in wastewater
    • Investigate how different materials can be removed from wastewater

    Key Vocabulary
    • sewer
    • area
    • flow rate
    • viscosity
    • force
    • gravity
    • kilopascals
    • pressure

    Thanks kids and salutos!

    • 50 bukketz

      … calling ma crew in da hood … mosey on down to the honey hole and letz connect wit ellen, flow rate per second.

      Free shake to all participants.

      50 bukketz

      • Coming…
  • Reston Crimewatcher

    Graves comparing this situation to the Flint water crisis is just unreal. She has no idea what she is talking about. DISBAND RA .

    • Holy $***

      RA wasn’t making direct comparison. Just saying that lessons learned from Flint should be applied (i.e. don’t be cheap with essential services or problems will be exacerbated.)

      Only here at RestonNow would you find commenters who oppose RA petitioning the county to rectify a situation that presents a human and ecological health risk.

  • Greg
  • james dean

    please contact Supervisor Hudgins office on this matter….please remember when one of the sewer lines broke this past summer…raw sewage entered into our stream & into Lake Audubon…this matter needs immediate resolution…thanks

    Supervisor Hudgins Contact Information:

    Address – North County Governmental Center, 1801 Cameron Glen Drive, Reston, VA 20190

    Email [email protected]

    Phone – 703-478-0283

    Below are the dates of the upcoming County budget hearings;
    contact information for Supervisor Hudgins; and, suggested language
    that can be used when contacting the Supervisor about funding, in the
    County’s FY 2017, the design and permit work for the Wakerobin/Cedar
    Cove Reach Restoration Project.

    County Budget Hearing Dates/Information:

    Public hearings on the County FY 2017 Budget will be held in the Board
    Auditorium of the Government Center on the following three dates:

    April 5, 2016 – 4:00 pm

    April 6, 2016 – 1:00 pm

    April 7, 2016 – 1:00 pm

    The FY 2017 Budget is scheduled to be approved during the April 26, 2016 meeting of the County Board of Supervisors.


    The text below shows language options depending on the location of your property in relation to the stream reach.

    Dear Supervisor Hudgins:

    I am one of your constituents in Hunter Mill District, a member of the Reston Association, and a resident [directly impacted by or greatly concerned with] the condition of the stream and exposed sanitary sewer lines along on the reach known as “Wakerobin/Cedar Cove” in South Reston, draining into Lake Audubon.

    As you know, what was once a fairly straight and shallow drainage channel
    has become a deeply eroding and dangerous channel which has damaged
    [my property and completely exposed my sanitary sewer line laterals and other utilities or private properties and has completely exposed their sanitary sewer laterals and communication cables] to the outside elements.

    [I or we] understand that “design and permit” dollars to restore the Wakerobin/Cedar Cove stream reach have been included in the County’s draft proposed FY 2017

    As a County tax payer, [I or we] respectfully request that you ensure these dollars
    remain in the final FY 2017 Budget when passed by the Board of Supervisors on April 26, 2016. [My or Our] County tax dollars must be used to address this important stream restoration and sanitary sewer line stabilization/maintenance project in my community, Reston.

    Thank you in advance for your support of this budget request.

    Sincerely, ________________

  • GetALife

    Awww– The Bojangler is back under a new name! Same crap, different day. Anti-everything!

  • cRAzy

    Wow! You don’t have a clue!


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