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The proposed routes for new sewer pipelines in Tysons West (via DPWES)

Tysons is going to need a bigger sewer system.

With the population expected to continue growing over the next few decades, Fairfax County is starting to prepare now for the anticipated influx of residents — and the additional wastewater they will inevitably produce.

Over the past two years, the county’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services has been planning upgrades to the sewer pipelines and pump station that serve the Tysons West neighborhood along Route 7 between Westpark Drive and the Dulles Toll Road.

One of several projects in the works to boost northern Fairfax County’s wastewater capacity, the Tysons Wastewater System Enhancements will replace and relocate an existing pump station, while adding more than 7 miles of new sewer pipeline.

“This project will decrease the risk of wastewater overflows and back-ups during periods of high wastewater flows by diverting flow from existing infrastructure,” DPWES said on the project page.

The department will host a virtual public meeting to discuss its proposal at 7 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday).

According to DPWES spokesperson Sharon North, the Tysons area doesn’t currently have any issues with wastewater overflows or backups, but with the Tysons Comprehensive Plan targeting 100,000 residents by 2050, the current facilities aren’t sufficient to handle that future growth.

DPWES conducted a study that determined wastewater from the northern part of the county should be rerouted to the Noman Cole Pollution Control Plant in Lorton. Read More

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White brine lines are a familiar sight on Fairfax County roads before snowstorms, such as the one that passed through the D.C. area last weekend.

Not too long ago, though, winter weather preparations involved scattering tons of dry salt and sand on streets, sidewalks, and other outdoor surfaces.

The adoption of brine to prevent snow and ice from sticking to pavement is part of a regional effort to limit the use of salt, which is effective — and cheap — as a de-icing material but pollutes the environment and corrodes infrastructure.

“What we’re trying to do is walk that fine line between protecting the natural resources, but at the same time, providing the need for public safety,” said Normand Goulet, a senior environmental planner for the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC).

The Salt Management Strategy

NVRC is overseeing the implementation of a Virginia Salt Management Strategy (SaMS) that the state Department of Environmental Quality released last year as a guide to minimizing the dangers of salt.

In the works since 2018, the strategy was developed by a committee that included Fairfax County staff after a water quality report identified de-icing salt as a primary contributor to excessive levels of chloride in Accotink Creek, affecting wildlife in the 51 square-mile watershed.

According to the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES), one teaspoon of salt can permanently pollute five gallons of water.

The department advises residents to shovel snow early and often, apply salt only where needed, and sweep up extra material for reuse. Viable alternatives to salt include sand, wood ash, and native bird seed.

“One 12oz coffee mug holds enough salt to treat a 20-foot driveway or 10 sidewalk squares,” DPWES said by email.

Why Brine?

The SaMS toolkit encourages local and state government agencies to pay closer attention to the salt they use for anti-icing, which comes before snow to prevent accumulation, and de-icing, which removes snow and ice during or after a storm. Read More

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