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Fairfax County to Look at Sewage Dump Spots Other Than Lake Fairfax

by Karen Goff April 14, 2016 at 10:00 am 12 Comments

 The project to move a septage receiving site from Great Falls to Hunter Mill Road is on hold for at least six months, Fairfax County officials said on Wednesday.

The county told residents in mid-February that the ideal location for a facility to pump septic tank waste from northern Fairfax County homes and restaurant grease from area restaurants would be Lake Fairfax Maintenance Area 6, a parcel on the Reston/Vienna line owned by the Fairfax County Park Authority.

The current septage receiving site is located on Colvin Run Road near Great Falls. That site has been operating since 1970 and has many issues, county officials said, including flooding, odor and poor accessibility for large trucks.

The proposed move did not sit well with area residents, who spoke up at a contentious community meeting. They told county Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) and consultants from Hazen and Sawyer that the Maintenance Area 6 spot, located on Hunter Mill Road near a one-lane bridge, was a poor choice because of proximity to homes, increased traffic on a country road and environmental hazards.

The county said it had looked at six sites before deciding Lake Fairfax was the best one. The citizens told the county to go back and find a space better accessible to a main road like Route 7.

“Attendees overwhelmingly expressed dissatisfaction with the proposed relocation to Lake Fairfax Park and voiced multiple concerns including but not limited to the impact to the various communities and Hunter Mill Road, a statement from Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins office reads.

The memo from Hudgins’ office said the initial comment period, set to close March 18, is now being extended through April 18. Hudgins also said the county and the consultants are now extending the site search.

“DPWES and Hazen and Sawyer committed to addressing the various concerns/comments and will also extend the potential relocation search area to properties not owned by Fairfax County,” said Hudgins’ statement.

“Hazen and Sawyer is in the process of establishing a scope and schedule for responding to this commitment by the end of April, with an expanded timeframe of approximately six months.  All activity associated with the feasibility of relocating the Colvin Run Septage Receiving Site to Lake Fairfax is on hold at this time.”

A new facility would have better odor and flood controls, would be securely fenced and would have a circular driveway for pull-thorough access, county officials say.

There are 21,000 homes in the county not hooked into the sewer system that must have their septic tanks cleaned out and dumped at one of two county sites once every five years. In this part of the county, most of the homes not on public sewer are located in Oakton and Great Falls.

At first, county officials said the Colvin Run site could not be renovated, but a report from Hazen and Sawyer says it can, at a cheaper cost than relocating.

Meanwhile, the Colvin Run Septage Receiving Site will be temporarily closed in June for safety reasons due to the ongoing construction of the Difficult Run Pump Station. The site will be closed for about two years, Hudgins’ office said.

The existing Difficult Run pump station has been largely out of service for nearly 20 years.

Sewage haulers will use the Norman Cole site in the south part of the county near Fort Belvoir in the meantime, the county says.

Photo: Lake Fairfax Maintenance Area 6

  • LakeAnne Resident

    Here’s a crazy idea. What would it take to get those 21K homes onto the public sewer system?

    • Ming the Merciless

      They chose NOT to be on the sewer system. Seems to me they ought to have their septic sludge in their neighborhood, not ours. Let the well-heeled residents of Great Falls decide where to put it in Great Falls, and let them pay for it.

      • Dentro

        On matters of infrastructure like this, people really shouldn’t have a choice at all. There should be a sewer system and they should pay for it and they shouldn’t have a choice. That’s the way government has to work for things people aren’t going to willingly shoulder the burden for otherwise.

        • Ming the Merciless

          Meh, if they don’t want paved roads or electricity, that’s fine with me.

        • Mike M

          Close your eyes and imagine a world where the government is not supposed to be at the center of all things? Open your eyes. You are IN THAT WORLD, Dent. Your views of the government are downright Socialist dictatorship. Have you no sense?

        • Greg

          “…[P]eople really shouldn’t have a choice at all.”

          Why don’t you cash out of this golden land you so despise, where we do have choices and voices, and move to Cuba?

          Better yet, take the express to North Korea. Seems to us it’s your kind of land and government.

    • Sally Forth

      More money than anyone has… Some of homes want sewer and can not get it because county doesn’t have the resources to hook them up even if homeowners pay substantial costs. Whoever said this was a choice doesn’t know sewer facts. Gravity, flow and distance to mains are all factors.

      • Greg

        Limiting access to sewers is an effective method to control development. Ironically, the Potomac Interceptor, the conduit of most of NoVA’s sewage to the Blue Plains treatment plant, runs adjacent to and across the Potomac River in Great Falls.


        • Sally Forth

          For a detailed understanding of the location of septic tank served properties and realistic potential service by FFX Co. sewer service, call FFX Water. There are homes in Great Falls, Reston, Oakton, Clifton, etc. etc. etc. This is not a simple subject with simplistic solutions.

          • Greg

            I wasn’t implying that anything was simple or complex; rather, that locating utilities, especially sewer and water lines, is often used to control where development occurs.

            Without “city” water and sewer services, development is greatly limited everywhere. Off topic, perhaps, and apologies if so.

            However, relocating the Colvin Run septage site to Reston or anywhere else other than where it currently is, especially when the nearly adjacent pumping station is being rehabilitated is absurd. The fact that we are apparently paying consultants to do their work again is madness. ESPECIALLY when the county and the schools are ALWAYS crying poverty.

            Leave the septage site where it is and fix whatever alleged deficiencies it may have (despite none of us ever hearing of any for decades but for these now suddenly insurmountable engineering hurdles requiring an expensive relocation).

          • Sally Forth

            100% agree that move of current septage dump site to Reston to assuage a few wealthy Great Falls residents is a huge insult and outrageous idea!!! We are in total agreement on that. And the cost of it would be MORE expensive by hundreds of thousands of dollars than redoing the dump in the same Colvin Run site. How dishonest and sneaky can the county and Hudgins be???

  • cRAzy

    I think the lesson here is to NEVER EVER accept what the County says at face value; in this case, that Lake Fairfax Park was the “only” suitable place for this septage. Now many area residents have read the Hazen report or RestonNow’s reporting on it and found out there are not only other places, but that refurbishing the current septage facility would not only work, but it would be less expensive. Moreover, now Hazen is going to find other suitable places possibly not even in Fairfax County. There is no shortage of places to locate this septage storage facility.

    It was Supervisor Hudgins and Foust who made the initial claim the current location was unsatisfactory and that only Lake Fairfax would do, a claim bought-out Hazen repeated at the community meeting. That was and is an outright lie. So why should we trust Hazen’s next study??? Also, don’t forget what Hudgins and Foust said next time you vote for your Board representative. Neither Hudgins nor Foust can be trusted. Find someone else, either Democrat or Republican, who doesn’t lie to their constituents, including you and your neighbors.


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