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JUST IN: Lake Accotink closed due to potential sewage contamination

Lake Accotink Park paddle boats (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) Lake Accotink is off limits entering the Fourth of July holiday weekend after an upstream sewage spill potentially contaminated the water.

Fairfax County has shut down all activities on the North Springfield lake, including fishing and boating, while the water is tested for bacteria.

The closure took immediate effect and will remain in place “until further notice,” the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) said in a news release:

The Fairfax County Wastewater Management Program has identified a sewage spill upstream of Lake Accotink. Out of an abundance of caution, immediate closure of lake activities is recommended for activities involving contact with the lake, such as swimming and fishing, as the water may be contaminated. The closure is in effect until further notice.

Bacterial testing of the water is underway, and results are expected within 24 hours. Updates will be provided when the analysis is complete.

Precautionary signage is being placed near the area of the spill.

According to DPWES, the sewage spill came from “a blockage in a pipe carrying untreated sewage to a treatment plant.”

“As soon as the spill was detected, staff cleaned up any untreated sewage identified,” DPWES spokesperson Sharon North said, noting that the cleanup was completed by 12:30 p.m. “Follow-up testing is done in waterways to determine if downstream contamination occurred and to confirm when surface waters recover from spills.”

The closure comes as the community grapples with long-term threats to Lake Accotink Park, one of the county’s most popular recreational destinations. A task force charged with determining whether to maintain the lake through dredging, convert it into a wetland or develop a hybrid option met for the first time on Monday (June 26).

The park’s playground is also out of commission while the Fairfax County Park Authority installs new equipment, replacing a facility that was deemed unsafe.

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