Press Club

Sewage Spill Reported in Four Mile Run

Update on 4/6/12 — The advisory for Four Mile Run has been lifted.

Arlington County is reporting a sewage spill near Columbia Pike and S. Dinwiddie Street, next to Four Mile Run.

The spill came from an overflowing sewage pipe and was not the result of construction activity, according to Arlington County Department of Environmental Services (DES) spokeswoman Myllisa Kennedy. Workers from the nearby Arlington Mill Community Center construction site spotted an overflowing manhole cover and helped to contain the spill, Kennedy said.

DES estimates that about 6,000 gallons of sewage spilled from the manhole over the course of an hour. The spill was first spotted at 11:00 a.m. and was largely contained by noon, we’re told.

Officials are advising residents to avoid contact with Four Mile Run from Columbia Pike to the Potomac River until further notice. From an Arlington County press release:

Residents are advised to stay away from the affected waters and to keep their pets away until further notice, to eliminate the risk of exposure to untreated sewage. Residents should not fish in the streams or have any contact with the waters – including wading or swimming – until further notice from the County. The advisory to avoid all contact is considered an extra precaution to allow the effect of the discharge to be diminished by natural flushing of the streams. The recreational areas affected include the following parks adjacent to the streams: Barcroft, Shirlington, Jennie Dean, Allie Freed and Bicentennial Gardens.

The County has posted flyers along the affected areas of Four Mile Run.

It will take about a week for the sewage to work its way out of the stream to the point where the county will declare it safe for humans and pets, Kennedy said. That process would be sped up by any rain the area receives over the next week.

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