Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
As ARLnow.com reported last week, severe flooding struck Arlington’s Waverly Hills neighborhood again on May 22.
Garages and basements flooded, and automobiles were inundated or swept away. Many thousands of dollars in damages were suffered.
Two videos capture the severity of this Waverly Hills flooding:
The Manager’s proposed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) reflects a continuing lack of sufficient investment in stormwater management.
Six years ago, in the FY2013-FY2022 CIP, the county included at least three projects designed to mitigate flooding risks in Waverly Hills:
- Spout Run – 18th Street between Utah & Upton scheduled from FY 2013 – FY 2014
- Spout Run – 16th Street & Taylor to 19th Road scheduled from FY 2013 – FY 2016
- Spout Run – 19th Street & Upton to 20th Street scheduled from FY 2016 – FY 2017
The Spout Run – 18th Street project would have constructed approximately 2900 linear feet of 72-inch storm sewer with associated manholes and catch basins between the intersection of 15th Street and Stafford Street and the intersection of 19th Street and Upton Street.
The Spout Run – 16th Street project would have constructed approximately 1700 linear feet of large diameter storm sewer along Taylor Street between 16th Street and 19th Street.
The Spout Run – 19th Street project would have constructed approximately 2000 linear feet of large diameter storm sewer between the intersection of 19th Street and Upton Street and the intersection of 20th Street and 21st Street.
As ARLnow reported, none of these projects has ever been built. When contacted about this by ARLnow.com, a county spokeswoman stated that the county is “still pursuing” those projects, yet noted that “technical challenges and funding remain an issue.”
Arlington County government lacks a comprehensive strategy for effective investment in stormwater management.
An excellent 2017 report, prepared by activist Suzanne Sundburg for the Arlington County Civic Federation (see pp. 4-6), provides important background information regarding Arlington County’s rising flood risks in this era of climate change:
“According to the 2010 Northern Virginia Hazard Mitigation Plan … Update (adopted in 2012), flooding is the single most costly hazard for Arlington County, with FEMA’s HAZUSMH estimating the loss due to flooding alone as more than $3.5 million on an annualized basis.”
A 2015 analysis using Beyond Floods (a flood-risk app) concluded: “Roughly one out of every four U.S. properties subject to flood determination for a loan origination are at risk for flooding even though they lie outside established FEMA floodplains.”
Mark Schwartz was not County Manager when these Waverly Hills stormwater mitigation projects were dropped from the CIP. (Were any from your neighborhood also dropped?)
But since Schwartz became Manager, county government has failed to:
- develop a comprehensive stormwater mitigation strategy
- allocate needed investments to mitigate stormwater flooding
Arlington’s stormwater management webpage contains some high-minded goals, but Arlington sorely lacks an effective comprehensive plan to back them up.
The Manager continues to insist that we can “maintain” our infrastructure in “good repair” with the CIP he has proposed, even as he concurrently acknowledges that our stormwater infrastructure is failing and underfunded.
Arlington should adopt a plan similar to the one in Westchester County’s (NY) Flooding and Land Use 552-page manual, which covers the following topics (among many others):
- flooding causes and their relationship to development
- comprehensive and watershed planning
- successful floodplain management tools
Tour Country Club Hills to discover its lush herbage, mature trees, and the Victorian and frame houses of the area in Neighborhood Spotlight.
A soggy weekend is on tap after an otherwise pretty nice final week of September. Obviously this week’s big story was the devastation in Florida, the huge scale of which…
Share your input on the Arlington Forestry and Natural Resources Plan by October 3.
A proposed bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians between Crystal City and the Southwest Waterfront area of D.C. has received $20 million in federal funding to move forward. When complete, the…
9th Street Chamber Music is back in business for its second season! 9SCM is disrupting the stereotypes of classical music as stuffy, dry, and elite through dynamic yet accessible performances and its one-of-a-kind String Quartet Intensive for young musicians in the DC Metro area.[9th Street Quartet](https://www.9thstreetchambermusic.com/9th-street- quartet)’s first concert is on Sunday, October 16 at 4:00 PM. The group will offer, for the first time, a ‘Playlist Shuffle’ themed concert featuring single movements of string quartet favorites. Tickets for this concert can be found here, and are $20 for adults and FREE for all students under 18.
Rehearsals began Monday, September 27 for the String Quartet Intensive, welcoming 32 new and returning members to the program. These talented musicians in grades 7 through 12 represent over fifteen area schools throughout Northern Virginia, DC and Maryland, and are an integral part of the growing 9SCM community. Their first performance will take place on Monday, November 28 at 7:30 PM.
Now you can have fun with your family and friends when deciding where to eat!
Just hop aboard The Lunch Train and set the destination for: breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or nightlife!
– No app necessary. Simply go to the website if you’d like!
– No account necessary
– Use your current location or a desired location
– Add restaurants you’re interested in, invite your friends, and play the game!
Join us as we explore Vini Franchetti & their two sister vineyards Passopisciaro (Sicily) and Vini Franchetti (Tuscany) for our Sicily/Tuscany Wine Dinner!
Sunday, Oct 9 @ 6pm
Special Guest: This wine dinner we will be hosting the wine maker