Arlington, VA

The Ballston Beaver Pond is about to get a makeover, but a little later than originally anticipated.

In January, county officials re-initiated a public discussion on a redesign for the pond. The pond was originally built in 1980 to collect stormwater runoff from I-66. To the surprise of county officials, beavers moved in and made the pond their home. The beavers dammed up the drainage system and were joined in the habitat by muskrat, geese, ducks, heron, egrets, redwing blackbirds, fish, turtles.

The stormwater goals have since been further hampered by invasive vegetation and litter. But after some initial work 5-6 years ago, Arlington now hopes to transform the pond to something beyond its initial concept: it wants to turn the pond into a stormwater management facility and pedestrian-accessible wetlands.

“This pond receives runoff from more than 300 acres of urban and suburban land and represents the most feasible opportunity within Arlington for a larger regional stormwater management facility,” the county said on the project page. “Retrofitting the pond so it provides more water quality treatment helps the County comply with the municipal separate storm sewer system permit and contributes to restoring the Chesapeake Bay.”

Plans for the project include a boardwalk with informative signs and benches along the eastern edge of the pond.

Initial projections for the project had construction starting sometime this winter, but stormwater outreach specialist Lily Whitesell said the project is currently still in the permitting phase with VDOT. Once construction of the project starts, it’s projected to last 9-12 months.

“Once [permitting] is completed, it will go to procurement, likely in early 2020,” Whitesell said. “Then we will likely go to construction in summer or fall 2020.”

The fundamental design of the project remains the same, and Whitesell said the intense storm in July showed the need for expanded capacity at the pond.

There will be some closures during the project. Whitesell said the trail on the east side of the pond will be closed during construction, but the trail adjacent to Fairfax Drive that leads to the Custis Trail will remain open.

When the trail reopens, the wetland will be designed to revive the native wetland plants and habitat, like turtles.

“We anticipate that turtles, a wide variety of migratory birds, pollinators, amphibians, and other valuable wildlife will use the pond,” Whitesell said. “We’ve heard from local birders and other wildlife enthusiasts that they are excited about the new habitat benefits of the project.”

But despite the namesake, the county are not planning to bring beavers back to the park, and in fact will actively do all they can to keep them away.

“Unfortunately, beavers would reshape the land and potentially compromise the water quality and habitat goals of the project and pond safety,” Whitesell said. “Beaver baffles will be installed to discourage beavers from the pond area.”

Photos 2, 3 courtesy Arlington County

0 Comments

Water service in parts of the Westover neighborhood may be interrupted tonight due to emergency water main repairs.

County crews are planning to dig up portions of the road to investigate a leak along the 5800 block of Washington Blvd, near the post office and the intersection with N. McKinley Road.

One eastbound lane of Washington Blvd is expected to be closed starting around 9 p.m. Water service may be turned off for some around midnight, according to Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services.

Photo via Google Maps

0 Comments

Morning Notes

‘Mabel’s Restaurant’ Coming to Arlington Heights — The restaurant coming to the grounds of the Dominion Apartments, at the former Sherwin Williams paint store (3411 5th Street S.), is called “Mabel’s Restaurant.” An outdoor seating area is planned for the restaurant, according to permit filings. [Arlington Economic Development]

Northam Visits Amazon — “In June, we were excited to open our first temporary office space for our Arlington headquarters in Crystal City. Today, we welcomed @GovernorVA to tour our new work space and meet with Amazonians from the Commonwealth.” [Twitter]

Crystal City Conducting Survey — “The area encompassing Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard – Arlington is a dynamic mixed-use urban center and Virginia’s largest walkable downtown… we are embarking on a place branding effort to uncover our neighborhood story and create a striking visual identity.” [Crystal City BID]

History of Heidelberg Bakery — “Heidelberg Bakery is a local landmark in Arlington… In this oral history clip, Carla and Wolfgang Buchler, owners of the Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe, discuss the lack of diversity in breads that Wolfgang found in America when he first came to the U.S. in the 1970’s–and how tastes have changed, partly due to Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe’s delicious treats.” [Arlington Public Library]

Glebe Road Bridge Project — “The Virginia Department of Transportation on Tuesday, Aug. 13 will hold a community forum on its plans to rehabilitate the Route 120 (North Glebe Road) bridge over Pimmit Run to improve safety and extend the bridge’s overall lifespan. The event will be held on from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Williamsburg Middle School, 3600 North Harrison St. in Arlington.” [InsideNova]

‘Drunkard’ Ruling Won’t Be Appealed — “Virginia’s attorney general on Friday said he will not appeal a ruling that struck down a state law allowing police to arrest and jail people designated as ‘habitual drunkards.'” [Associated Press]

Oil in Sink Causes ‘Fatbergs’ — “If you pour used cooking grease down the kitchen sink, you’re not alone — according to a new survey, 44 percent of respondents in the D.C. region pour cooking oil, fat, or grease down the sink at least occasionally. In doing so — rather than dumping it in the trash–you may be contributing to the creation of something truly horrifying — a fatberg.” [DCist]

0 Comments

(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) A pair of apparently unrelated water issues have been plaguing the Cherrydale neighborhood over the past 24 hours.

Last night, Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services (DES) reported “low water pressure along 4000-4200 Lee Highway, which includes several apartment buildings.”

Tipsters tell ARLnow that water service was out until the early morning hours for residents and some businesses, possibly due to a mistake by the contractor working to replace a 90-year-old water main along nearby N. Taylor Street. Other tipsters reported that some local households had rust-colored water around the time of the outage.

DES spokeswoman Kathryn O’Brien tells ARLnow that crews worked overnight to fix the problem.

Yesterday, we had water pressure issues with a newly connected main that impacted a number of residents in the Cherrydale area. The contractor had completed 1 of 2 connections to a new 12-inch water main as part of planned work in the area. It was expected that the redundancy in the system from one connection would be adequate enough to maintain enough pressure and service to the area. The normal pressure in the area is about 80 psi and the one-way feed dropped the pressure to 50 psi. This error caused the unexpected drop in pressure. The contractor was called back in around 10 p.m. to expedite the second connection which was planned for Tuesday during the day. Water pressure was restored around 5 a.m.

This afternoon, meanwhile, crews responded to another nearby Cherrydale location, at the Five Points Intersection, for a report of a burst pipe.

Water could be seen streaming from underneath the road, forming large puddles on the pavement and prompting a lane closure, but not a complete road closure.

“There is a confirmed valve leak near Lee Highway and N. Quebec Street,” O’Brien said. “This is unrelated to the water issues experience last night and in a different pressure zone. Crews are scheduled to begin the repairs 10 p.m. this evening. Approximately 50 customers may be impacted.”

0 Comments

(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) An intersection in Crystal City is closed as a result of a major water main break in the middle of the intersection.

The break was reported around 1:15 p.m. at the intersection of Crystal Drive, S. Potomac Avenue and 27th Street S.

Traffic camera footage showed water flowing from a gash in the asphalt and first responders setting up “caution” tape around the intersection, which is along a dedicated bus route.

A “significant” sinkhole was forming in the roadway as a result of the break and nearby parking garages were starting to flood, according to scanner traffic. Firefighters established an incident command at the scene due to structural concerns.

As of 2:15 p.m., public works crews were on the scene and the flow of water appears to have been stopped or significantly slowed, but not before water seepage reportedly caused a power surge and outage in the Crystal City area. Several buildings in the area are also reported to be without water service.

0 Comments

It’s another sign of spring, along with the cherry blossoms and the potholes: the annual annual tap water disinfectant switch, which starts today.

From March 25 to May 6, Arlington’s drinking water “may taste slightly different as the regional supply system undergoes its annual spring cleaning,” the county advises.

From last year’s press release on the switch:

Crews at the Washington Aqueduct will begin the temporary disinfectant switch from chloramine to chlorine. The annual switch is part of a routine program to clean and maintain the drinking water systems. The Aqueduct also adds a corrosion control inhibitor during the switch to prevent the potential release of lead in system pipes throughout the region. Extensive research in Arlington has never found any lead service lines or lead pipes inside homes.

During the cleaning, Arlington’s Water, Sewer, Streets Bureau will continually monitor the output for safe chlorine levels as well as conduct system-wide flushing to enhance water quality. Concurrently, staff will also start systematically flushing fire hydrants throughout the County.

Running the cold water tap for about two minutes, using water filters and letting water sit in a container in the refrigerator are generally effective for removing chlorine taste and odor.

While the water is safe to drink, the county notes that it does have potentially serious implications for those using tap water for kidney dialysis machines. Medical providers have been notified of the change in advance, the county says.

0 Comments

Update at 9 a.m. — Water pressure has been restored to the neighborhood, though there are some reports of water pressure being low.

Earlier: A large section of Fairlington has lost its water service.

The outage was first reported around 9:45 p.m. An initial report from Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services said the outage was the result of a water main break.

“Crews have been dispatched,” the agency said. “More information, including estimated completion time, will be available as soon as possible.”

Thousands live in the Fairlington neighborhood, which is divided by I-395 into north and south sections — both of which are without water, according to reports from residents.

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Board Approves Water Main, Fire Station Projects — “The Arlington County Board today approved contracts for two capital improvement projects, one to bring Fire Station 8 into the 21st century, and the other to replace a 90-year old water main with a larger pipe that will better serve the Cherrydale and Waverly Hills neighborhoods.” [Arlington County]

‘Say Yes to the Dress’ Star in Arlington — “TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta’s Monte Durham will be on campus next Tuesday, January 29th from 7:30-8:30 at Ballston Center. Durham will announce the Portfolio In Motion fashion show Designer of the Year.” [Twitter]

Snow, Cold on the Way — “A powerful arctic cold front is set to blast through the Washington region Tuesday evening. It could have disruptive effects, with rain quickly changing to snow during the evening commute and then rapidly freezing over roads.” [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter]

New Publishing Schedule this Week — Readers may notice some regular ARLnow features publishing at different times and/or days this week. For instance, this Morning Notes post is publishing at 7:30 a.m., while an opinion column that usually publishes on Thursdays is scheduled for this afternoon. We are trying out a new schedule this week — let us know what you think.

Photo courtesy Jim Harvard

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Emergency Water Main Repairs — Work is scheduled from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. today to repair a 20-inch water transmission main along 7th Road S. from S. Florida Street to S. Dinwiddie Street and Columbia Pike. Upwards of 200 customers are expected to lose their water service during the work. [Twitter]

Stamos Picks Up Challenger — Parisa Tafti, a “lifelong public defender and innocence protection attorney with a more than 18-year record of defending the indigent and speaking for the innocent,” has announced that she will be running against Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos in her bid for reelection to the top prosecutor job. [Blue Virginia]

Kanninen Calls for Kaepernick — Arlington School Board member Barbara Kanninen is among those calling on social media for the Redskins to “#BringColintoWashington” amid a rash of season-ending injuries at the quarterback position. [Twitter]

Fisette Launches Consulting Firm — Former Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette has started a consulting firm to “advise business, nonprofits and local governments throughout the Washington region” with former Montgomery County Council member Roger Berliner. [Bethesda Beat, Maryland Matters]

Office Rent Expected to Rise in Crystal City — “Crystal City is at risk of losing its status as the low-cost alternative for nonprofits and others on the hunt for office space in Northern Virginia as Amazon.com Inc. rolls out its headquarters plans… Colliers projects rental rates in Crystal City could jump by 17 percent in five years and by 37 percent in a decade.” [Washington Business Journal]

Amazon Effect on Residential Real Estate — “Any immediate impact on the local housing market is expected to be muted… Long & Foster predicts the Amazon effect will add an additional 3 percent to appreciation the Washington area would otherwise experience.” [WTOP]

Harper Leaving Rosslyn? — Possibly outgoing Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper “has chosen not to renew his lease at his penthouse condo in the Rosslyn neighborhood of Arlington, VA, according to a source.” [Real House Life of Arlington]

0 Comments

Morning Notes

More Water Infrastructure Repairs — Work to replace a collapsed 18-inch stormwater pipe on Arlington Ridge Road is expected to continue through the weekend, prompting detours on Arlington Ridge between 23rd Street S. and S. Glebe Road. Also today, crews from the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services are working to fix a broken water main, affecting 50-100 water customers, on the 1600 block of N. Jackson Street in Lyon Village. [Twitter, Twitter]

History of the Namesake of Hall’s Hill — The historically African-American neighborhood of Hall’s Hill in Arlington is named after an “infamous” 19th century slaveowner named Basil Hall who once shot a slave in a fit of “bravado.” In 1866 his land was sold to form the neighborhood. Hall had a sister, a downtown brothel keeper named Mary Ann, whose land in Arlington later became Marymount University. [Falls Church News-Press]

Local Kids Pen Hamilton Book — Just in time for Hamilton, the wildly popular musical, to arrive at the Kennedy Center, two Arlington kids (and their dad) have self-published a 50-page book “about the Washington-area sites related to Alexander Hamilton, his wife Eliza, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and other Founding Fathers.” [Amazon]

Photo courtesy John Sonderman

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Water Disinfectant Switch — With the annual pipe spring cleaning complete, the Washington Aqueduct will be switching back to chloramine as its water disinfectant after today. [ARLnow]

Car-B-Que on the Pike — A car caught fire on Columbia Pike between S. Oakland and Quincy streets Friday night. The road was closed while firefighters extinguished the blaze. [Twitter, Twitter]

Auction Item Prompts Mini Controversy — Ethical concerns were raised over the weekend by an item donated by State Sen. Barbara Favola (D) to an auction at the annual Fairfax Democrats dinner. The winning bidder was promised an official introduction on the state Senate floor. Favola responded by saying she was “horrified” and that she “never approved this auction item.” [Twitter, Twitter, Blue Virginia]

Choun Profiled By VOA — Democratic Arlington County Board candidate Chanda Choun had his campaign highlighted by the Voice of America. [Voice Of America]

Nearby: Wonder Woman and J-D Highway — Two items of note in Alexandria: first, Wonder Woman 2 is set to film some scenes at the Landmark Mall. Also, Alexandria is replacing signs marking Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1) with its new name in the city: Richmond Highway. [Washington Business Journal, WTOP]

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list