The county’s sewage plant is set for repairs after the Arlington County Board approved a five-year contract at its meeting on Saturday.
The Water Pollution Control Plant’s concrete tanks at 3402 S. Glebe Road, near the Aurora Highlands and Arlington Ridge neighborhoods, are struggling with structural deterioration. They will be repaired with grouting, coating, crack injection, or by other means by an on-call contractor during the five-year contract.
The plant has 60 concrete sewage channels and tanks that help treat the county’s wastewater, and — despite recent upgrades — some of the tanks are over 65 years old.
The contract has a set cost of $1.25 million, with an additional $125,000 set aside as a contingency. In recommending the plan, county staff said scheduling repairs ahead of time rather than doing them on an emergency basis will reduce costs and risk to construction workers.
The County Board approved the contract as part of its consent agenda at its meeting Saturday (July 15).
Wardian Wins Vegas Marathon Dressed Like Elvis — Not only did Arlington’s own marathoning superhero Michael Wardian, 42, win the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon over the weekend, but he did it while dressed like Elvis Presley. Wardian even set a world record for the fastest marathon while dressed like the King, at 2:38:04. [Las Vegas Review-Journal, Competitor]
Fox Rescued from Construction Pit — The Animal Welfare League of Arlington rescued a fox from a large pit at a construction site on Monday. The fox was cold and muddy but uninjured; it was released back to “a quiet patch of trees nearby.” [Facebook]
APS Accused of Poor Communication — Arlington Public Schools is “a great school district,” says Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews, but it has communicated “poorly” regarding the potential for middle schools to move to block scheduling. [Washington Post]
Reminder: Preventing Sewer Backups — Ahead of the holiday season, Arlington County is reminding residents to avoid sending fats, oils and grease down the drain. The “FOG” from cooking and cleaning can clog home sewer lines and lead to catastrophic sewage backups. [Arlington County]
I-395 Issues on Monday — I-395 in the District was briefly blocked by anti-Trump protesters yesterday afternoon, leading to some backups. Later, a multi-vehicle crash near the Route 1 exit in Arlington blocked multiple lanes during the evening rush hour. [Washington Post, Twitter]
Last Day for Airbnb Feedback — Today is the last day to offer online feedback regarding Arlington County’s proposed Airbnb regulations. [Twitter]
Arlington County will split the cost of connecting a group of Lyon Park homeowners to county-owned sewer lines, preventing a potentially costly legal battle.
Eleven homes on the 900 block of N. Daniel and Danville streets are connected to a failing sewer line that runs through their backyards. The line is believed to date back to the 1920s, when the first of the homes in the neighborhood were built.
As we reported in 2013, county workers had been clearing occasional blockages of the line, until the county determined that it did not actually own the line — it was privately constructed and the county had “no rights to operate or maintain this line.”
Facing steep plumbing and excavation costs for connecting to a public sewer line, homeowners threatened legal action. On Tuesday, the County Board settled the matter by voting unanimously to approve a compromise agreement with the homeowners.
Arlington will roughly split the cost of connecting all 11 homes — $253,980 plus a $50,000 contingency — and will advance the other half of the money to seven homeowners who asked for help financing the work. The seven homeowners will repay their share over seven years, at 2 percent interest, via the establishment of a “service district” that will levy a frontage assessment on their property.
Arlington County said the compromise was necessary because the private sewer line was failing and beyond repair, and a major sewage backup in the midst of a protracted legal dispute could have resulted in a significant public health hazard.
” The amount of time required to resolve the disagreement would delay the time when remedial action could be taken, thereby threatening the likelihood of a public health emergency, and would result in costly litigation for all involved,” notes the staff report. “In an effort to prevent further delay, the County and the property owners negotiated an agreement that would promptly address the looming public health concern.”
Cheap Gas in Arlington — Just in time for your Thanksgiving vacation, there are a number of gas stations in Arlington at which you can fill up for less than $2.00 per gallon. At $1.97 per gallon, the BP station at the corner of S. Four Mile Run Drive and Walter Reed Drive, pictured above, isn’t the lowest in the county: that honor belongs to Arlington Auto Service on Columbia Pike, with its $1.87 per gallon gas. [Gas Buddy]
County Warns of Sewer Backup Risk — One thing that could ruin your Thanksgiving feast would be a sewer backup. Arlington County is warning residents that that could happen if they’re not careful about disposing of fats, oils and greases (FOG). The proper ways to dispose of FOG is to empty it into a container, like an empty can, and throw it in the trash — not rinsing it down the drain, where it could cling to and clog pipes. [Arlington County]
Suspicious Package Calls Up Since Paris Attacks — Calls for suspicious packages and suspicious circumstances are up in Arlington since the Paris terror attacks. That’s according to Arlington County Police Chief Jay Farr, who spoke to reporter Pete Williams during a segment on last night’s NBC Nightly News broadcast. The county has set up an online form for reporting possible terrorism-related activity, in addition to receiving such calls via the police non-emergency line: 703-558-2222.
Airport Workers Rally for Higher Wages — As hordes of passengers head to Reagan National Airport for holiday travel, airport workers are going on a hunger strike, pushing for a living wage. Tipped workers at the airport, like baggage handlers and wheelchair attendants, make as little as $3.77 an hour. [WUSA 9]
Lopez Named House Minority Whip — Arlington’s Del. Alfonso Lopez has been named the new Minority Whip of the Virginia House of Delegates Democratic Caucus. In a statement, Lopez said we will continue to work for “our vision of a Commonwealth that prioritizes public education, invests in transit and transportation infrastructure, protects our environment, preserves our social safety net, and grows a new Virginia economy to expand opportunity for all Virginians.” [Patch]
Van Doren Running for Reelection — Arlington School Board member Nancy Van Doren has announced that she will be running for reelection in 2016. Van Doren replaced Noah Simon on the School Board after a special election last year. She will be seeking her first full term. [InsideNova]
Glencarlyn Park, Sewer Main Upgrades Approved — The Arlington County Board over the weekend unanimously approved a sewer main construction project for Old Dominion Drive. The Board also approved upgrades to Glencarlyn Park, including a rain garden, plaza and bicycle facilities. [Arlington County]
Arlington’s Per-Pupil Spending Tops Region — Arlington Public Schools spends $19,040 per student, the highest such figure of any Washington suburb. On a per-pupil basis, Arlington spends 24 percent more than Montgomery County schools, 41 percent more than Fairfax County schools and 84 percent more than Prince William County schools. [InsideNova]
Loan Approved for Senior Housing — On Saturday, the Arlington County Board unanimously approved a $1.35 million loan to help keep the Culpepper Gardens I apartment complex affordable. The complex include 204 committed affordable units for seniors. [Arlington County]
No New Westover Middle School? — The Arlington School Board has informally voted to remove the Reed School site in Westover from consideration as a potential location for a new middle school. Many residents have said they would rather see the building used for a neighborhood elementary school. [InsideNova]
Board Updates Green Building Incentives — The Arlington County Board voted 4-1 to require higher sustainability standards for its Green Building Incentive Program, which rewards developers for environmentally-sound building practices. [Arlington County]
Local Reporter Travels to Germany for Streetcar Story — WAMU reporter Michael Lee Pope traveled to Germany to report on the use of streetcars in Berlin, tying his findings back to Arlington’s proposed streetcar project. Streetcars run in formerly Communist-controlled East Berlin, but no longer in West Berlin. One interviewee said people ride East Berlin’s streetcars partially out of a sense of nostalgia and the “special feeling” one gets from riding them. [WAMU]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Wizards Practice Facility in Arlington? — There’s a potential plan for a Washington Wizards basketball practice facility in Arlington, reports NBC4’s Mark Segraves. However, the more likely plan for the practice facility is for it to be built in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis also owns the Washington Capitals, which has a practice facility at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. [NBC Washington]
Arlington Warns of ‘Potential Severe Traffic’ — Arlington County is warning residents about “potential severe traffic” today due to the massive crowds expected for the Concert for Valor on the National Mall, along with Metrorail service changes and numerous road closures in D.C. that are in place for the Veterans Day event.
Cherrydale Abuzz Over Sound Check — The Cherrydale community email listserv was “going crazy with complaints about the sound check” for the Concert for Valor last night, a tipster tells ARLnow.com. We’re told the neighborhood could hear bass and feel vibrations from the sound check. “One person reported that the Arlington County police were getting so many calls they were telling people to call the D.C. police who then told people to call [U.S.] Park Police,” the tipster said.
Cost of Thanksgiving Dips in Va. — Virginia families will save about $5 per person this year on Thanksgiving dinner thanks to lower food prices, according to the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. [InsideNova]
Lyon Park ‘Sewer Justice’ Petition — A group called Arlingtonians for Sewer Justice — which represents 11 Lyon Park households that are being compelled to pay $10,000-20,000 for a new sewer connection because the county says it will no longer maintain a failing, private sewer line behind their homes — has created a new petition. The petition, which has so far gathered 95 supporters, calls for Arlington County to pay for the upkeep of privately owned sewer lines via a bond referendum. [Change.org]
Va. Square Eatery Up for ‘Restaurant of the Year’ — Water & Wall, which opened last year in the Virginia Square area, is a finalist for Eater.com’s D.C. Restaurant of the Year award. [Eater]
Flickr pool photo by Ian Livingston
Arlington is investing in its water management systems to replace aging pipes — some of which are 87 years old — and keep pace with development.
The Board unanimously approved master plans on stormwater and water distribution on Saturday, which aim to maintain a clean water supply and reduce the risk of flooding.
“Arlington is committed to providing safe and reliable drinking water to our residents and ensuring that our community complies with environmental law and remains sustainable,” Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in a statement. “These plans will allow us to meet the demands of projected population growth and help restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.”
About a third of the storm sewer system in the county needs additional capacity to reduce flooding risks, according to the county’s assessment. And a total of 11 miles of aging steel and terra cotta storm sewer pipes — some 87 years old — need to be replaced.
The average age of the county’s water mains is 55 years, Water, Sewer and Street Bureau Chief Harry Wang said earlier this year. Between Jan. 8 and Feb. 20 alone, the county had to perform 89 repairs on water mains — and average of 2.1 breaks per day, Wang said.
The approved plan estimates the capital cost per year for stormwater-related projects to increase from $2 million per year to $3.3 million per year, depending on what external regulations require.
Home construction is responsible for a spike in the amount of surfaces like streets, rooftops and sidewalks that can’t absorb runoff, the report said. “Single-family home projects accounted for the majority of pollutant load increases from development activity in the county during the time period studied [from July 2009 to July 2013],” the document said.
Homeowners on the 900 block of N. Daniel and Danville Streets in Lyon Park may have to shell out thousands of dollars to keep their toilets flushing.
A deteriorating, 85-year-old sewage line that runs along the back of residents’ yards was determined, after “extensive research” by county staff, to be privately-owned — built as part of the original development on the block.
Though county workers have in the past cleared the line of blockages, that “cannot continue… because of the extent of deterioration and because the County has no rights to operate or maintain this line,” wrote Dave Hundelt, Arlington County’s Streets Manager, in a letter to a dozen impacted homeowners.
“This line is in failing condition and is beyond repair,” Hundelt wrote. “This is due to the age of the line, its state of deterioration and the physical obstructions that make replacement of this line impractical.”
Residents are being told that they’ll have to construct a lateral connection from their homes to the county-owned sewage lines that run along the street.
Such work typically varies in cost from $5,000 to $10,000, according to Kewin Greenhill, general manager of Ashton Heights-based All Plumbing, Inc. The least expensive option requires a trench to be dug across the homeowners’ front yard. The pricier option can be done less invasively, by use of a pneumatic mole.
If homeowners don’t install a new connection, “the consequences of a failed sewer line would make your home uninhabitable,” Hundelt wrote.
The County is holding a meeting with affected homeowners on Nov. 13 at Key Elementary School. Hundelt promised to arrange follow-up meetings as necessary.
One resident, who did not want to be identified by name, said she felt the county is “abandoning us” by so far not offering to pick up the tab.
“Are we really at the mercy of poor record-keeping on the part of the County after all these years?” she wrote on a neighborhood listsev. “Do we have any rights? Any expectation for financial help, especially those over 70 and on fixed incomes?”
The full letter from Hundelt, after the jump.
Photo via Google Maps
The Arlington County Board approved $3.7 million worth of contracts to reline three sewer mains.
The Board unanimously approved the contracts at its meeting Saturday, funding the renovations to 10,000 linear feet of sewer in three areas: Ballston Pond, at Washington Blvd to Fairfax Drive, S. Eads Street and Army Navy Drive and S. Walter Reed Drive to Shirlington Road.
County staff recommended the new lining to add an estimated 50 years of life to the system, much of which was put in place before 1950s, and to protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
“This is a serious investment in critical infrastructure that we must make on a regular basis,” said County Board Chair Walter Tejada. “Maintaining our system will help to ensure that we can continue to serve Arlington’s growing population while protecting our environment.”
Alexandria and Fairfax County will also contribute funds to the system repairs. From the county press release:
Approximately 60 percent of the County’s sanitary sewer system was placed before the 1950s. As the system ages, pipes begin to corrode and cause sewer backups. The relining process will add another 50+ years to the existing infrastructure.
The contractor, AM-Liner East, Inc. will use the Cured-In-Place-Pipe (CIPP) relining method to rehabilitate this portion of the sewer system. This cost-effective, trenchless technology involves inserting a resin-impregnated felt liner similar to a sock into an existing sanitary sewer main and curing it using hot water or steam. Once complete, the new cured pipe renews the old sewer by providing a smooth channel.
As part of the Potomac Interceptor Project, Arlington County is evaluating and repairing manholes throughout the sewer system. These efforts will reduce the potential for water seeping into the sanitary sewer system, especially during storm events when excess water could overwhelm the water treatment plant and force a discharge of partially-treated sewage into Four Mile Run.
Arlington’s aging sewer lines will be getting some updating in the coming months.
The County Board has awarded a $1.92 million contract to AM-Liner East, Inc., to reline sewer pipes throughout the county. That contract includes work to a main line that runs along Four Mile Run Drive, from Columbia Pike to Walter Reed Drive.
A second contract, worth $360,000, was awarded to AM-Liner East, Inc., to rehabilitate sewer manholes. The work prevents water from seeping into the system and overwhelming the treatment plant, which could force a release of partially treated sewage into Four Mile Run.
The county has 13,000 manholes, and the ones receiving first attention are located in Crystal City. Evaluations and repairs on others will follow.
Arlington’s sewer system is made up of 465 miles of mains. Each year, the county’s Capital Improvement Program funds rehabilitation on about 1.5 percent of the system, which typically covers seven miles of pipe.
Campbell Elementary School (737 South Carlin Springs Road) is closed today due to a sewage backup in the area, school administrators said this morning.
“Because of the backup there are no bathroom facilities for students to use,” administrators wrote in an email to parents.