A sewer repair company put a price on dealing with federal and state agency permitting processes and working on high-traffic roadways.
That price tag is just over $2.6 million.
Arlington County is poised to pay that extra sum, conceding that the location of the project in question presents “unique challenges.”
To repair an “essential part” of the county’s sanitary sewer system — dubbed the Spout Run Deep Sewer Line — the selected contractor, AM-Liner East, will have to navigate distinct permitting processes and regulations for the National Park Service and the Virginia Dept. of Transportation.
This pipe carries “a significant amount of flow” from federally protected land, and along Langston Blvd and I-66, with the pipe reaching depths up to 115 feet below ground, according to the county.
After getting permission from NPS to work on protected parkland, the contractor will seek state permission once it hits I-66. It will be working on a narrow median and shoulder of I-66 and multiple travel lanes in both directions on Langston Blvd.
“It is believed that the bidders perceived significantly more risk in these bid items, which County staff consider fair given the unique challenges of this project area,” per the report.
For these reasons, AM-Liner East — the lowest responsible bidder — still exceeded expected project costs of $5.3 million. The Arlington County Board is scheduled to approve a $7.9 million contract, plus a $1.2 million contingency “for change orders or increased quantities,” at its upcoming Saturday meeting.
The proposed project generated what the county described as significant interest from nine contractors specializing in trenchless sewer rehabilitation. Only two bid on the project, however — a testament to its perceived challenges.
“For the work on federal lands and in VDOT right-of-way, the contractor will have to comply with restrictive NPS and VDOT permit requirements, respectively, and perform all restoration as per each agency’s specifications, which differ greatly from each other and from the County’s specifications,” the report said.
Arlington County says it identified this 86-year-old sewer line for repair in 2019 after a video inspection “revealed corrosion of the concrete pipe, indicated by exposed aggregate, exposed reinforcing steel, infiltration at the pipe joints, and small cracks.”
The project is part of the county’s program to rehabilitate critical large sewers, which are part of Arlington’s 465-mile sanitary sewage system. This project will start at Spout Run, north of the N. Courthouse Road cul-de-sac and end at N. Nash Street.
“This intricate network exists to make sure that the wastewater that gets flushed every day from homes and businesses makes its way to the Water Pollution Control Plant where it’s properly cleaned and treated before being recycled back into the environment,” the project webpage says.
For this project, AM-Liner East will use a trenchless technology known as cured-in-place pipe lining, which is seen as a relatively quick way to fix pipes with little or no digging involved.
A flexible liner is inserted into the pipe, inflated and exposed to heat or ultraviolet light to harden it and create a new, smooth surface inside.
To ensure this is done without disrupting existing flow, the contractor will install a temporary bypass. The bypass will be above-ground through residential grass areas along N. Uhle St, the Custis Trail and one lane of Langston Blvd. It will go underground near street crossings, such as at N. Scott, N. Quinn and N. Nash streets.
Your poop could give Arlington County natural gas to power buildings or buses.
The county is developing plans to upgrade its Water Pollution Control Plant, where local sewage goes. One change involves installing technology that can harness the methane emitted when human solid waste is processed, turning it into renewable natural gas, a process some municipalities have already implemented.
The energy could be used to power the wastewater plant, homes and commercial buildings or become an alternate fuel for ART buses. The “sludge” created through this process can also be used as a fertilizer for gardens, forests, farms and lawns. (If you’ve ever used Milorganite brand fertilizer, you’ve used dried sewage sludge from Milwaukee.)
Improvements to the wastewater treatment facility, to the tune of $156 million, are part of a $177 million bond request for utilities upgrades, which also includes improvements the regional Washington Aqueduct system ($15 million) and new gravity transmission mains ($3 million).
Funding for this work would come from a half-billion dollar bond referenda that voters will be considering on Election Day tomorrow (Tuesday). Over $510 million will go toward this work as well as a host of initiatives, upgrades and maintenance projects that Arlington County adopted as part of its 2023-32 Capital Improvement Plan.
Some big-ticket items have already grabbed headlines, like the $136 million requested to build a new Arlington Career Center campus and $2 million to design a proposed Arlington Boathouse on the Potomac River near Rosslyn. But there are dozens of other upgrades proposed for facilities that Arlingtonians of all ages use on a regular, and sometimes daily, basis.
Renovations to existing county buildings and the construction of new ones surpass $53 million.
- $13.1 million for various renovations to Arlington’s police headquarters and, for the county’s courts building, technology upgrades, new finishes, a redesigned entrance and a relocated Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts division.
- $12 million to fund the construction and renovation of some floors of 2020 14th Street N. to make room for ACFD Fire Marshal and Battalion Chiefs offices and other public safety staff and functions. It will also see the replacement of the building’s 60-year-old HVAC system.
- $7.5 million to acquire land next to the Serrano Apartments to build a fire station there and improve response times on the west end of Columbia Pike, given the pace of development along the Pike.
Overall, Arlington Public Schools is asking for $165 million. Of that, some $12.24 million would pay for safer school entrances, a measure many school systems nationwide are implementing in the wake of high-profile shootings, and new kitchens to allow more meals to be made in-house.
“Upgraded kitchens will allow students to eat high-quality meals that include more fresh fruits and vegetables that are prepared on-site,” according to APS. “The entrance and security vestibule updates will comply with current safety and security standards while ensuring all visitors check in at the main office.”
Another $16.8 million would pay for a new roof for Escuela Key, the Spanish-language immersion elementary school, HVAC replacement at Hoffman-Boston Elementary School and lighting upgrades across schools.
The Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation is asking for nearly $22.5 million for a dozen projects.
That includes some funding $1.5 million to replace and renovate some stretches of the county’s nearly 40 miles of off-street, multi-purpose trails, 56 pedestrian bridges and 11 low-water fords.
Preschool- and school-aged kids could have new playgrounds at Bailey’s Branch, Monroe and Woodmont parks sometime in 2024 ($2.8 million). Douglas Park will see $2 million in improvements, including a new picnic shelter, pedestrian bridge, stormwater management, invasive species removal and reforestation.
Athletes who play at Kenmore Middle School could have new turf fields ($300,000).
There’s $1.1 million in funding to design new facilities at Short Bridge Park, near the border of the City of Alexandria, as well as $1.8 million to redesign Gateway Park in Rosslyn, which the budget says is “difficult and dangerous to access due to the surrounding high-speed roadways” and is “under-utilized.”
People who live in the Ballston and Virginia Square areas would be able to get in on the ground floor of master planning processes ($1.5 million) next year to upgrade Maury, Herselle Milliken and Gum Ball parks starting as early as 2025.
The second, $4.4 million phase of work on Jennie Dean Park will move forward, including demolishing the existing WETA building, two parking lots and a portion of 27th Street S., installing a lighted basketball court and converting the existing court for tennis use.
The growing pickleball population, sometimes at odds with neighbors, and the dirt trail-less mountain bike enthusiasts could get new facilities through $2 million to convert tennis courts at Walter Reed Community Center for pickleball use, draw pickleball lines on some multi-use courts and fund “design improvements to natural surface trails and mountain biking improvements.”
Lane Closures Near Ballston — Sewer relining work is closing the right-hand lane of portions of Fairfax Drive and Wilson Blvd in the Bluemont neighborhood, near Ballston. [Twitter]
Arlington’s Young Population Drives Trends — “One of the reasons Virginia’s Arlington County is consistently rated highest for health and fitness is because of its young demographic. Take Ballston, for example, where 47.7% of the adult population is between 25 and 44 years old.” [WTOP]
Courthouse Metro Rescue Makes National News — “We would like to thank @ABCWorldNews for broadcasting our rescue of a @wmata rider last Friday. The patient is in stable condition. If you find yourself on the tracks and are unable to exit, roll towards the platform side to the area of refuge.” [Twitter, ABC News]
Fort Myer Gate Temporarily Closed — “Attention DoD ID card holders: @JBMHH’s Old Post Chapel Gate that provides entry onto the base from Arlington National Cemetery will be temporarily closed beginning today through the end of April for construction.” [Twitter, Twitter]
Nearby: Proposed Arlandria Redevelopment — A “D.C. developer filed preliminary plans with Alexandria earlier this month for the project, looking to completely overhaul a Mount Vernon Avenue shopping center near Four Mile Run Park, now called Del Ray North. It’s currently home to a MOM’s Organic Market, but has seen a variety of retail vacancies recently.” [Washington Business Journal]
(Updated on 07/29/19) Arlington County will not be paying for the cost of clean-up from sewage back-ups into people’s homes during the July 8 flash flood emergency.
A spokesperson for the County Manager’s office said today (Friday) that the county “sympathizes with proper owners” recovering from the unusually strong storm and “regrets” any damage caused, but “unfortunately, the County is not in a position to accept responsibility for damage to private properties resulting from this storm.”
As the rainstorm dumped water on Arlington two weeks ago, stormwater runoff filled basements in homes and businesses — as did some sewage. The Department of Environmental Services previously told ARLnow that water flooded some sewer pipes, backing up sewage into people’s homes.
The result was raw sewage flowing into basements, and in some cases, potentially washing up to the first floor of homes, as evidenced by the smells still lingering days after the storm in some houses hit hard in Westover.
“Under Virginia law, the County is legally immune from these sorts of claims and using County tax dollars to pay for damages for which the County is immune would constitute an illegal gift to a private individual,” said County Manager’s office spokesman Ben Hampton. “While the County will investigate all reported claims on a case-by-case basis, there is no legal basis for it to accept liability in the vast majority of cases resulting from the July 8 storm.”
One tipster who lives near the Cherrydale and Waverly Hills neighborhoods said his house was flooded after the main sewer line near his house flooded, “leaving us pretty much helpless as the county sewage flooded into our basement.”
When asked how many homes were affected by damaged sewer lines during the sewer line, county spokeswoman Bryna Helfer did not yet know and added that, “our primary focus right now is on pursuing the federal and state assistance.”
Over 1,000 residents and business owners filed post-storm damage claims with the county as part of Arlington’s preparation to request aid from the state or the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Hampton said the county is currently reviewing the the damage assessment from the claims which determines the county’s aid eligibility.
“At this time, we have no reason to believe that homeowners with major damage would not be eligible for aid if it’s approved,” added Helfer.
“The most likely form of aid is from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which provides low-interest loans to disaster victims, including homeowners, renters, and businesses, for repairs or replacement of disaster-damaged buildings and property,” she said. “SBA can also provide capital to businesses. The County is also pursuing aid under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individual Assistance program, which provides financial assistance to individuals and families who have sustained losses due to disasters.”
Prior to the July 8 flooding, damage from clogged county sewers has occasionally damaged homes, including several incidents in the Madison Manor neighborhood, leaving residents on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in clean-up costs.
The full response from the County Manager’s office is below.
The County sympathizes with property owners recovering from the July 8, 2019 storm, which dumped an unprecedented amount of rain in the region and caused significant damage to public infrastructure as well as private property. The County regrets any damage that may have been caused to private property from the County’s public sewer lines being damaged or overwhelmed by this storm. Unfortunately, the County is not in a position to accept responsibility for damage to private properties resulting from this storm. Under Virginia law, the County is legally immune from these sorts of claims and using County tax dollars to pay for damages for which the County is immune would constitute an illegal gift to a private individual. While the County will investigate all reported claims on a case-by-case basis, there is no legal basis for it to accept liability in the vast majority of cases resulting from the July 8 storm. Property owners are encouraged to check with their insurance carriers and to explore the possibility of obtaining flood insurance for their properties. Additional information regarding the July 8 storm is available on the Flood Recovery Center at arlingtonva.us/flood-recovery.
Favola’s Consulting Questioned by Challenger — “Is two-term Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31) a rising star, poised to become chairwoman of a Senate committee if Democrats seize control of the Senate? Or is she an opportunist capitalizing on insider influence for personal gain? That’s a question for voters this June in a primary that pits Favola against challenger Nicole Merlene.” [Arlington Connection]
Video: CCTV Sewer Inspections — Arlington County uses cameras inserted into manholes to inspect its sanitary and storm sewers for cracks and other problems. [YouTube]
Another Arlington Cybersecurity Firm Acquired — “Arlington-based endpoint cybersecurity firm Endgame is being acquired by Netherlands-based search and data management firm Elastic N.V. for $234 million in stock and debt repayment, according to an announcement by the two companies.” [Washington Business Journal]
New Cybersecurity Firm Unveiled — “[Arlington-based] Kfivefour today emerged from stealth and announced the immediate availability of its full spectrum Red Team assessments, training and penetration testing services. Kfivefour is a private sector focused cybersecurity affiliate of Millennium Corporation, a defense contractor and cybersecurity company.” [PR Newswire]
Local Startup Founder Arrested — “[Former Arlington resident] Andrew Powers, the founder and CEO of communications technology firm CommuniClique Inc. — sometimes known as Clique API — has been arrested by the FBI, which has charged him with a felony for what it described as part of ‘a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme.'” [Washington Business Journal]
A sanitary sewer realigning along S. Four Mile Run Drive will close the Four Mile Run Trail on Wednesday (Aug. 15).
Between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., the Four Mile Run Trail will be closed between S. Troy St. and S. Joyce St. But the bypass is just the beginning of the sewer repair impact — when construction begins on a fix for the main sewer line in September, the impact will spread to the surrounding roads.
A 2015 inspection of the sanitary sewer pipes in the area found substantial degradation, including roots lodged in sewer joints and small holes in the pipes. The closures on the Four Mile Run Trail are not related to the fixing of the actual pipes, but to install a bypass that will allow work on the damage pipe to occur without interrupting service to the area.
In September, work will begin on replacing a 60-inch section of pipe on S. Glebe Rd. between S Arlington Ridge Road and S. Joyce St. The right eastbound lane of S. Glebe will be closed during this time. Jersey barriers will be erected around the site with at least one lane of travel active in each direction.
The sidewalk on the south side of the affected stretch of S. Glebe Road will be closed during this time as well.
The S Glebe Road pipe replacement is tentatively scheduled to take 24 weeks, finishing in early 2019.
Photos via Arlington County
(Updated at 6 p.m.) The relentless rain soaking Arlington is prompting some serious flooding in the Waverly Hills neighborhood, and now people living there are pressing the county for help.
Tom Reich, a longtime homeowner in the area, told ARLnow that many of his neighbors along the 4000 block of 18th Street N. experienced serious flooding starting two weeks ago, on May 22. He also sent along the above video, showing water reaching high enough to partially submerge some cars parked on 18th Street N. and carry away some recycling bins.
“Many houses had their garages, basements, and cars flooded, sustaining many thousands of dollars in damage,” Reich wrote in an email.
Reich added that similar floods have plagued the neighborhood several times over the years — in 2001, 2003, 2006 and 2013 — and the Waverly Hills Civic Association convened a meeting on May 31 with county officials to address the problem. Reich says many residents urged the county to construct stormwater management improvements, but they didn’t get much in the way of good news on that front.
“The upshot was that the county told us our need is real and acute, but the money is not currently there in the capital budget to execute the projects,” Reich wrote. “Needless to say, the Waverly Hills residents are now in the beginning stage of a campaign to highlight the threat to our homes presented by the county’s failure to act on its own plan.”
Reich points out that a variety of projects designed to manage flooding in the Spout Run watershed, where the neighborhood is located, have gone unfunded in recent years.
The county’s Capital Improvement Plan passed ahead of fiscal year 2013 included funding for four different sewer projects in the area — but Reich says those were never completed and the next CIP, passed by the County Board two years later, includes no mention of them.
County Manager Mark Schwartz’s proposed CIP, which details construction projects running from fiscal year 2019 through 2028, also includes some funding for stormwater management in other parts of the county, but Reich and his neighbors are frustrated that the spending plan doesn’t call for more construction around Waverly Hills.
Staff with the county’s Department of Environmental Services completed preliminary work on the projects Reich referenced after the 2006 flooding, according to county spokeswoman Jennifer Smith. Yet she says that work “identified significant challenges and costs to upgrade the system, as the current system traverses more than a dozen private properties.”
DES spokeswoman Katie O’Brien adding that the county is “still pursuing” those projects, yet noted that “technical challenges and funding remain an issue.”
Schwartz has certainly warned of the county’s fiscal challenges as he’s unveiled this year’s construction plan, thanks to Arlington’s increasing obligations to fund the Metro system and shrinking commercial tax revenues.
However, Smith would caution that “while greater capacity in the storm sewer would alleviate flooding concerns, there is no system which can guarantee elimination of flood risk to flood-prone properties.”
Video via YouTube
The County Board is set to approve a construction contract that would install the final “missing link” of sidewalk along Old Dominion Drive.
Sidewalk installation would run along the eastbound side of Old Dominion Drive, between N. Thomas Street and Fire Station No. 3. The fire station is approximately 440 feet from Military Road.
Proposed sidewalk enhancements include “ADA curb ramps, crosswalks, and provisions for future streetlights.”
This is the last section of sidewalk installed on Old Dominion Drive east of 37th Street N. County documents note that the project has been coordinated with the nearby Stratford School Project.
Tree removal along Old Dominion Road began earlier this year in anticipation of sidewalk construction.
The County Manager’s office has recommended approving the $789,324 contract to the Capitol Heights, Md.-based Sagres Construction Corporation.
UPDATE: The sewage line leak into Donaldson Run was stopped overnight with a bypass installation. Pipe repairs continue. Photo shows the remote location of the leak, adjacent to Zachary Taylor Park. pic.twitter.com/OcLdVOcjCz
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) November 14, 2017
Workers from the county’s Department of Environmental Services stopped a sewage leak into the Donaldson Run stream overnight.
According to a tweet from DES, crews installed a bypass overnight into a sewage pipe, which broke due to its age, damage from tree roots and the recent cold temperatures.
Repairs to the pipe, which is in a remote location next to Zachary Taylor Park (2900 Military Road), are ongoing.
A DES spokesman said that the remote location made the leak hard to find, but that staff had been aware since last weekend.
“[S]taff did log the leak report over the weekend and the search began soon thereafter,” the spokesman said. “It just took a while for crews to find the leak because of the remote location — which you can see on the tweet photo.”
The spokesman reiterated that the “discharge that entered Donaldson Run will be diminished by natural flushing of the stream over time.”
A broken sewer pipe caused a sewage leak into the Donaldson Run stream, affecting the water in two parks in Arlington County.
A spokesman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services said a resident reported discharge of sewage into the stream in Zachary Taylor Park (2900 Military Road) this morning.
On further inspection, the spokesman said, DES crews found that a sewage pipe had broken due to its age, damage from tree roots and the recent cold temperatures. Crews plan to repair it tomorrow (Tuesday), the spokesman added.
Those in the area should avoid contact with the water in the stream in Zachary Taylor Park downstream from N. Upshur Street, and also in the nearby Potomac Overlook Regional Park (2845 Marcey Road).
“The discharge that entered Donaldson Run will be diminished by natural flushing of the stream over time,” the spokesman said.
Both parks will remain open to the public.
Image via Google Maps
Lost Dog Reunited With Owner — A dog that disappeared under mysterious circumstances is back at home this morning, her owner says, after the man who picked her up as she was wandering around North Arlington saw a sign with the dog’s photo and dialed the phone number on it. [Facebook]
County Lauded for Digital Prowess — Arlington has been named one of the “top 5 counties for digital government” by StateTech magazine. The county was lauded for “embracing open data and transparency” in decision making and citizen outreach. [StateTech]
Sewer Work At Westover Park — There will be some impacts along the Custis Trail starting today as a multi-day emergency sewer repair project gets underway at Westover Park. [Twitter, Twitter]
Death at Belvedere Condos — A man reportedly jumped to his death at the Belvedere Condominiums near Rosslyn on Friday. The complex’s pool and pool deck were closed Friday as police investigated the incident.
Priest Who Admitted KKK Past Still Venerated Confederacy — A priest in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington might not have been totally forthcoming when he admitted and renounced his KKK activity as a young man. Even after becoming a priest, in the early 2000s, Rev. William Aitcheson “was a ‘fervent advocate of the Confederacy’ who would joke about ‘Saint Robert E. Lee’ in homilies at the church,” one former student of his recalled. [Washington Post, Washington Post]
Nearby: Two Men Jump From Aqueduct Bridge — One man is dead and another in grave condition after both jumped from the Aqueduct Bridge in Georgetown, near the Key Bridge, into the Potomac River. A friend of the men said they were hanging out on the bridge when one decided to jump, then the other jumped in to save him. Boats and and a helicopter were used as part of the subsequent rescue operation. [NBC Washington]