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Planning commission clears way for higher-capacity wastewater facility in Tysons

The next wastewater pump station to serve Tysons West will be able to handle 25 times as much water as its predecessor.

That added capacity will provide critical support for an area expected to add more than 10,000 new residents by the end of this decade, according to Fairfax County staff and the planning commission, which unanimously approved a plan last Wednesday (Oct. 25) to build a new station at 8608 Leesburg Pike.

“The addition to the public infrastructure must be viewed as essential,” Providence District Commissioner Phil Niedzielski-Eichner, who represents most of Tysons, said. “Without it, development in Tysons would end, and the risk of overflows and backups for the broader community will grow.”

Replacing the existing Tysons Dodge Wastewater Pump Station on the same site, the new facility will consist of an 11,200-square-foot pump station and a 2,500-square-foot generator building, county planning and public works staff told the commission.

With four pumps, including one as a backup, and a storage tank that can hold up to 12,000 gallons of diesel fuel to support the generator, the station will have the capacity for 25 million gallons of water per day — a significant boost from the 1 million gallons that the current station can process.

The facility will occupy just 1.5 acres on the 3-acre site, which includes the adjacent parcel at 8608 Leesburg Pike. Tysons Self Storage, the previous occupant, was razed after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors bought the property for $14.1 million in 2021, according to county property records.

The remainder of the site will be left undeveloped for now, but the county intends to utilize it “for another potential public facility for the future,” according to Mohamed Ali with the Department of Planning and Development.

“This project is probably our highest priority [capital] project right now,” Department of Public Works and Environmental Services engineer Tom Grala said. “The reason for its high priority is both capacity related to Tysons development and also the time when that capacity is needed.”

He noted that the facility will be designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions, odors and its visibility from the road, including with an enclosure for the generator and evergreen vegetation along the north and south property line.

“Since there will be other facilities nearby, that’s going to be very important,” Dranesville District Commissioner John Ulfelder said of controlling emissions and noise from the generator. “I think the last thing the county needs is for people to come in and complain about what they’ve installed and what it’s doing to their quality of life.”

Niedzielski-Eichner praised the design from an aesthetic standpoint as “high quality” and “sensitive to the fact that Tysons is an evolving urban center,” but he and Braddock District Commissioner Mary Cortina questioned why the planned facility isn’t able to meet county standards for stormwater retention.

In a report, county planning staff urged DPWES to find “additional opportunities” to increase the 0.37 inches of rainfall that the facility will be able to retain on-site as currently designed to 1 inch, as required.

“I know we need [the pump station], but if DPWES can’t reach the standard in Tysons, it’s a cringe for asking everybody else to do it,” Cortina said.

Grala said the team is trying to “fine-tune its design,” but the property’s high groundwater table limits options for containing stormwater.

The new pump station is part of a larger DPWES initiative to upgrade the wastewater system in Tysons, including by installing new, larger pipes to carry water from individual properties to the station from the station to the county’s Norman J. Cole Pollution Control Plant in Lorton.

The county estimates that it’ll take until summer 2025 to finish designing all elements, and construction isn’t projected to finish until summer 2028.

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