A bridge over Sugarland Run Stream (Photo by Mike Madigan)

(Updated at 7 p.m.) A stream project that could help reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay is getting additional money from Fairfax County.

A $1.2 million contribution from the county will be upped to $1.4 million, thanks to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ approval on Tuesday (June 8). The project will restore part of Sugarland Run by the Washington & Old Dominion Trail in Herndon.

“Upon completion of the design, the County will grant the Town with an additional $1 million for construction,” county staff said in a report to the board.

Herndon town officials say the project will restore a portion of the body of water known as Sugarland Run South between the trail crossing and approximately 1,200 linear feet north.

It comes amid a corrective measure from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to limit pollution by mitigating nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment levels to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay region.

The town already received $200,000 from the county through a 2018 agreement, but an additional $201,800 was needed to complete the design phase. The town plans to use its staff to carry out the project.

“Under the amended agreement, the County has the discretion to pay construction cost overruns, but in an amount not to exceed 10 percent of the total estimated Project cost,” county staff also said.

Herndon is working with Vienna and the county to meet the region’s limits on pollution levels known as the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load.

Work to be completed includes re-planting vegetation and restoring a portion of the stream near the W&OD Trail, among other changes, Reston Now previously reported.

Herndon officials didn’t immediately return Reston Now’s requests for comment.

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(Updated at 4 p.m.) A Herndon car wash that discharged green liquid that ended up in Sugarland Run Stream received a formal notice of violation on Friday (May 28) from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, a regional official says.

Flagship Carwash Center of Herndon at 632 Grant Street does have a permit to discharge, according to both a car wash representative and DEQ.

However, the green liquid was being discharged into a storm sewer that goes into Sugarland Run due to a malfunctioning of the car wash’s water reclamation system malfunctioning, says DEQ official Mark Miller, who manages regional enforcement and pollution response for Virginia’s northern region.

Miller says the presence of the discharge in Sugarland Run has been observed multiple times by both DEQ officials and town staff members.

As a result, the business will be notified that it is in violation of its general DEQ permit. The discharge is believed to be a mix of water and car wash detergent, but it is not thought to be harmful to the stream.

“Staff from the town, Fairfax County DPWES, Fairfax County Fire Department, and the Virginia DEQ all performed independent tests on the discharge and did not find any contaminants in the stream that are known to be harmful to the environment,” Town of Herndon spokesperson Anne Curtis told Reston Now by email.

Curtis says DEQ is now in charge of the investigation and is “in contact with the property owner to resolve the illicit discharge.”

This issue was first brought to the public’s attention during a Herndon Town Council work session on May 18. In the work session, Deputy Director of Public Works John Irish noted that town staff were aware of the situation and had recently observed the discharge themselves.

Flagship Carwash Center of Herndon managing member Guy Paolozzi told Reston Now that the business is currently conducting its own investigation to determine why the discharge is green.

Until both the car wash and DEQ complete their investigations, Paolozzi says, the car wash will stop discharging.

Flagship Carwash Center currently has five Virginia locations and 10 locations across the region.

Miller says the notice of violation was drafted and sent out last week. The intent of the notice is to get the problem fixed under a timeline. These types of violations are not uncommon, and they can end with the business fixing the issue without any further consequence.

However, a civil charge (a fine) could be imposed depending on the findings of DEQ’s investigation.

A section of Sugarland Run south from where the discharge has been observed is about to undergo a restoration. The long-running project was first approved in August 2018.

Work includes replanting vegetation, placing in-stream structures, and installing brush mattresses.

Construction and restoration is expected to be completed in early 2022.

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Repairs and rehabilitation is now complete on the 74-year-old Sugarland Run Bridge in Herndon.

Construction began last September on the westbound Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) portion of the bridge, which resulted in several lane closures on weekends and overnights in October. The project was completed last month.

The work included bridge pier and abutment repairs, the building of a new concrete bridge deck, guardrail upgrades, and new curbs and gutters. The total cost of the project was $4.4 million, paid for by a combination of state and federal funds.

Work and repairs were needed to address continued deterioration on the bridge’s underside, broken steel reinforcement strands, and debris clogging the drain pipes. Overall, the condition of the bridge deck and beams prior to the work was considered “poor” and “structurally deficient,” according to the staff report.

This section of Route 7 averages about 59,000 vehicles a day in combined eastbound and westbound travel.

The bridge was widened in 1981 and, again, in 2000.

Initially, VDOT planned to further widen the bridge in this project and extend the acceleration lane from the Fairfax County on-ramp to Dranesville Road, but those elements were cut from the project.

Those additional components would have brought the total cost of the project to about $11 million and were “not completed due to funding constraints,” a Virginia Department of Transportation confirms to Reston Now.

In the end, the project actually was finished ahead of schedule and under budget compared to estimates from June 2019. It was originally scheduled to be completed in the fall 2021 and cost about $6 million.

An effort by Fairfax County and the Town of Herndon to restore Sugarland Run Stream, the body of water that runs under the bridge, is currently in the works.

Set to be completed in early 2022, the long-running project will stabilize eroding stream banks, re-plant vegetation, and install brush mattresses.

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Fairfax County is set to provide the Town of Herndon with $1.2 million over the next two years for the completion of the long-running Sugarland Run (South) Stream Restoration Project.

At its work session tonight (Tuesday), the council is looking to approve an amended funding agreement with the county that will provide the town with additional money for the project.

The original funding agreement dates back to September 2018.

Under the new agreement, the county will provide $201,800 in fiscal year 2021 to complete the design phase of the stream restoration. Then, upon the completion of design, another $1 million would be given to the town in fiscal year 2022 for construction.

The town previously received $200,000 from the county for design work in 2019.

In total, the project is expected to end up costing about $1.4 million — about $200,000 more than initially estimated, according to the Town of Herndon staff report.

The project was first approved almost three years ago, back in August 2018.

Conditions along Sugarland Run Stream’s southern banks and the valley located just north of Wiehle Avenue have been deteriorating for a number of years.

The restoration will stabilize erosion along stream banks which will help prevent flooding. It will also improve stormwater systems and ensure the stream does not exceed its Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load of nutrients, which is part of a regional mandate.

Work to be completed includes re-planting vegetation, placing in-stream structures, and installing brush mattresses.

The project is also set to restore a portion of the stream that flows near the Washington & Old Dominion Trail crossing.

With the town council’s approval tonight, the project could finally move from the design phase to construction after nearly three years.

Herndon Deputy Director of Public Works John Irish told Reston Now in January that the design phase was “approximately 95% completed.”

Once the design is finished and the town receives the additional funds for construction, the town will then advertise for construction bids as soon as this summer.

Construction could be completed within six months of the awarded contractor being given the go-ahead, according to town official comments in January, meaning that, nearly four years after first approvals, the Sugarland Run (South) Stream Restoration Project could be finished in early 2022.

Reston Now has reached out to the Town of Herndon for an updated timeline, but has yet to hear back as of publication.

The restoration project is part of Fairfax County’s full Sugarland Run Watershed Management Plan, which was first adopted in 2010.

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Updated on Feb. 1 to correct information on the project phase and jurisdiction receiving funding

Despite being approved more than two years ago, the construction phase of the restoration of Sugarland Run (South) Stream still hasn’t begun.

The $1.2 million project remains in the design phase, according to the Town of Herndon’s deputy Director of Public Works John Irish, though it’s expected to be completed by May.

The project will improve stormwater systems, stabilize erosion along streambanks, prevent flooding, and ensure the stream meets requirements for Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, first established in 2010. It will do this by planting vegetation, in-stream structure placement, and installing brush mattress.

The conditions along the stream banks and stream valley have been deteriorating in recent years.

The project will also restore a portion of the stream that flows near the Washington & Old Dominion Trail crossing.

The town received $200,000 from Fairfax County for the design work, which includes the geomorphic assessment, surveying, and public outreach meetings.

Irish writes to Reston Now in an email that this phase is “approximately 95% completed.”

In all, the design phase will end up taking up nearly three years. This is due to Herndon being asked by the county to apply for and, then, waiting for a state grant.

A stream condition assessment and negotiation of a fee that met budgetary guidelines also took time, writes Irish.

All in all, design work didn’t start until February 2020.

After designs are completed in May, they will be sent to the county with a request for one million dollars for construction. Once those funds are received, Herndon will advertise for construction bids.

Despite seemingly a long way to go in the process, Irish says construction is still expected to start this summer and completed within six months of the awarded contractor being given the go-ahead.

That means the project could be completed by the end of 2021 or early 2022.

The initial funding agreement did estimate the project could take up to four years, so the project theoretically could still be completed on time if not early.

However, a spokesperson for Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services tells Reston Now that this particular project is “lower priority” as part of their full Sugarland Run Watershed Management Plan, which was first adopted in 2010.

It remains unclear how this assessment will impact the expected providing of one million dollars to the Town of Herndon for construction and completion of Sugarland Run Stream restoration later this year.

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The Virginia Department of Transportation is planning bridge rehabilitation work over Sugarland Run this weekend, causing lane closures on westbound Route 7.

Only one lane on westbound Route 7 will be open from 10 p.m. today (Friday) to 3 a.m. Monday (Oct. 26), according to a statement from VDOT.

The following lanes of westbound Route 7 will be closed Friday night to Monday morning (October 23-26), if weather permits, and drivers are encouraged to take alternate routes:

  • Fairfax County Parkway (Route 286)
  • Dranesville Road (Route 228)

More from VDOT on what to expect on westbound Route 7 is below:

Bridge rehabilitation work over Sugarland Run

HERNDON РThe two left lanes of westbound Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) Fairfax County Parkway (Route 286) and Dranesville Road (Route 228) will be closed (weather permitting) Friday night, Oct. 23 to Monday morning, Oct. 26 for work related to the Route 7 Westbound over Sugarland Run bridge rehabilitation project, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Traffic on westbound Route 7 will be reduced to one lane from 10 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Monday.

Drivers can expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes.

The $4.4 million Route 7 Westbound over Sugarland Run bridge rehabilitation project includes a new concrete bridge deck, bridge pier and abutment repairs, guardrail upgrades, and new curb and gutter in the area of the bridge. The project is financed with state and federal State of Good Repair funds used for bridges and is expected to be complete in spring 2021. Read more.

Photo via Virginia Department of Transportation

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Fairfax County has officially completed improvements to a trail at Sugarland Run Stream Valley Park in Herndon.

Last week, local and county officials held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of improvements and trail maintenance.

The $400,000 project aimed to address general wear and tear, as well as trail damage due to severe flooding.

More than 12,000 linear feet of trail was milled and repaired. New culverts and riprap were also installed.

Photo via Fairfax County Government/website

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Road salt may have a hand in the recent spikes of chloride concentrations in Reston streams, along with a slew of environmental issues.

Doug Britt, a member of the Reston Association’s¬†Environmental Advisory Committee,¬†recently examined¬†environmental harm caused by de-icing agents including sodium chloride and dove into results from monitoring Difficult Run and Sugarland Run with fellow Restonians.

Britt wrote that measurements of the chloride concentrations at the two sites were taken before this year’s first storm and then again after road salting for the first two snowstorms. He found that the chloride concentrations at both sites increased fourfold from the first measurement, which he said was within the normal range for North American streams.

The monitoring efforts were a part of a larger program initiated by the Izaak Walton League of America to encourage “citizen scientists” to examine local streams before and after road salting.

Britt, a Virginia Master Naturalist member, wrote that higher chloride concentrations in lakes and ponds can halt the bottom and top waters from mixing, which then leads to less oxygen in deeper areas. Too much chloride can reach toxic levels for aquatic life.

“Although there are a number of alternative de-icing agents available, sodium chloride as a brine solution appears to have the least negative environmental impact when considering the full life cycle of its production and application,” the report says. “Sodium chloride, nevertheless, can generate a host of environmental problems.”

Britt’s report analyzed several of those impacts, which included:

  • water quality
  • soil
  • pets
  • wildlife
  • roadside vegetation
  • infrastructure

Britt says that these environmental concerns aren’t unique to Reston.

“Chloride concentrations in Fairfax County surface waters have steadily increased for the past 25 years, consistent with the use of de-icing agents,” Britt wrote.

Britt ended his report on information about the next step: action.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is currently developing a Salt Management Strategy planning process aimed at keeping chloride levels below the amount that starts to ruin the water, the report says.

The department also had had in a 2018 report included suggested options to optimize de-icing agents and the way they are applied to reduce environmental impacts, Britt wrote.

“Meanwhile, as individuals and business owners we should be cognizant of the potential environmental impacts associated with the application of de-icing agents,” Britt wrote, adding that it is important to balance public safety with environmental damage.

Photo via Reston Association

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The Fairfax County Department of Transportation is seeking public comment on the widening of the westbound Route 7 bridge over Sugarland Run on Oct. 23 (Tuesday) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Dranesville Elementary School (1515 Powells Tavern Place).

The bridge, which was built in 1947, will be widened and repaired and a new concrete bridge deck will be installed. Additionally, the acceleration lane from the Fairfax County on-ramp to Dranesville Road will be extended.

Upgrades to guardrails and the curb and gutter in the area of the bridge are also planned.

Construction is anticipated to begin in 2021 and the project will cost roughly $11.1 million, including $1.2 million for engineering, $655,000 for right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation and $9.2 million for construction.

Photo via VDOT

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The Town of Herndon Council will is seeking $1.2 million in county dollars to design and complete the stream restoration of Sugarland Run South.

The project is expected to cost $1.2 million. Under the agreement between the town and the county, the county would pay the town a percentage of stormwater service district fees collected from Herndon residents. Those funds could be used to help fund the project.

Restoring the stream is necessary in order to meet requirements to improve conditions in the Chesapeake Bay. Currently, conditions along the stream banks and stream valley are deteriorating.

Stable channels will be created in order to protect the stream’s geology and limit channel erosion. The council will consider the agreement at a meeting tonight (August 14) at 7 p.m.

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