(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.
Updates will be provided when the analysis is complete.
— Supervisor James Walkinshaw (@JRWalkinshaw) June 30, 2023
Frequenters of Lake Anne in Reston will notice a change in the waters of the lake.
The lake’s fountain is currently not in operation after a mechanical issue was discovered, according to Reston Association.
Mike Leone, RA’s spokesperson, said that the fountain’s pump and motor burnt out.
“Replacement parts have been ordered and right now we are being told it will be three to four weeks, if not longer, to receive the replacements parts,” Leone wrote in a statement to FFXnow.
The timeline could change depending on supply chain and delivery demands, Leone added.
The fountain was inspired by Jet d’Eau, a 140-meter single geyser fountain on Lake Geneva in Switzerland.
Due to a mechanical failure, the Lake Anne fountain is currently not in operation. Our CSF team is working to resolve the issue and currently estimates a 3–4 week turnaround for parts and installation. #EnjoyReston #Reston #FXVA #LoveVA pic.twitter.com/fVKh9BxyBz
— Reston Association (@RestonOnline) August 23, 2022
Route 7 Traffic Shift Starts Today — “During the daytime hours on Aug. 11 and the overnight hours on Aug. 15, lane closures and temporary detours will be in place along Route 7 while crews continue paving operations at Carpers Farm Way and Colvin Run Road (east) and shift westbound Route 7 traffic to the new Difficult Run bridge.” [VDOT]
Pro-Nazi Social Media Posts Excluded from Reston Murder Trial — “A Virginia judge has ruled that prosecutors cannot tell the jury in an upcoming double-murder trial about the defendant’s social media posts containing praise for Adolf Hitler and support for Nazi book burnings and the neo-Nazi Atomwaffen Division, according to newly unsealed court records.” [The Washington Post]
Foust on Upcoming Retirement — “Deciding to step down in 2023 was not easy, but Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) is ready to try some new challenges…He plans to stay involved on issues he cares about – such as affordable housing, economic development and climate change — and seek part-time consulting opportunities that ‘take advantage of the expertise that I’ve developed over the years.'” [Sun Gazette]
Salt Water Levels Rising in Region — “Once algae-pocked emblems of water pollution during the early 1970s, the Potomac River and the Occoquan Reservoir — the two sources of drinking water used by Fairfax Water to serve more than 2 million customers in Northern Virginia — are now trending in the wrong direction on salt, while the other contaminants have largely been cleaned up.” [The Washington Post]
Lorton Plant Gets Tech to Reduce Emissions — “Covanta, the company that runs the facilities, announced the installation of the pollution-fighting technology in a news release earlier this week, saying it has helped cut nitrogen oxide emissions by nearly 50%…The Fairfax County facility is located at its I-95 waste management complex in Lorton, and is one of the largest waste-to-energy facilities in the nation, according to the county.” [WTOP]
Report Grades Stream From Lake Barcroft — “Holmes Run, which flows through the Annandale area, is not in great condition, according to a report released Aug. 10 by the Audubon Naturalist Society…The report gives Holmes Run a grade of ‘moderately poor’ for climate, a rating of ‘good’ for access to nature, and ‘fair’ ratings for water quality and for biodiversity and habitat.” [Annandale Today]
California Firm Buys Local Defense Office Buildings — “The properties include six buildings at five locations in Fairfax County, Fairfax City and Loudoun County. They’re 96% leased to the likes of Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT), General Dynamics Corp. (NYSE: GD), The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) and Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC).” [Washington Business Journal]
Reston Turns Out for Trucks — “Thank you to all the families that came out for this year’s Totally Trucks event! For the past 22 years, Totally Trucks has delighted kids and adults alike, and this year was no different with more than 1000 people in attendance.” [Reston Association/Twitter]
Local Breweries Win Awards — “Vienna and Merrifield’s Caboose Brewing Company and Sweetwater Tavern scored several awards in the 2022 Virginia Craft Beer Cup, announced by the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild Monday. The Virginia Craft Beer Cup is the largest state competition of its kind in the U.S.” [Patch]
It’s Thursday — Possible drizzle in the morning. High of 85 and low of 73. Sunrise at 6:20 am and sunset at 8:10 pm. [Weather.gov]
Person Hospitalized After Vienna Shooting — “Officers are in the 8400 blk of Wesleyan St in Vienna for a shooting. Prelim info, a man shot a roommate inside the home. Victim taken to hospital w/non-life-threatening inj. Suspect is in custody.” [FCPD/Twitter]
Report: Police Declare Personnel Emergency — “Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis and senior staff declared a personnel emergency Thursday, according to a police source, which means mandatory overtime for police officers as FCPD grapples with an ongoing police officer shortage.” [ABC7]
Affordable Housing Projects Get State Funds — Virginia has awarded more than $27 million in state loans for affordable and special needs housing projects, including two in Fairfax County, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office announced last week. The county’s recipients were the Autumn Willow project near Centreville and the One University project by George Mason University’s Fairfax campus. [Patch]
Argument Leads to Stabbing in Centreville — A 32-year-old woman from Falls Church stabbed another woman in the 5700 block of Ottawa Road last Tuesday (July 26) after they got into a dispute, Fairfax County police say. The woman was arrested and charged with malicious wounding. The victim received treatment for injuries not considered life threatening. [FCPD]
Herndon Education Company Plans Reston Move — “Stride Inc. will start the school year in drastically smaller space in a new building. The Herndon educational-technology company is slashing its local office space by more than 80% — moving out of approximately 129,000 feet of office space in Herndon and into 22,000 square feet in a new office it will officially open this fall in Reston’s Plaza America.” [Washington Business Journal]
Instagram Account Shows Maintenance Issues at McLean HS — “The bio for the account @mclean.rot on Instagram reads, ‘The best single word to define this school is ‘gross.” With 71 posts, the anonymous student owner of @mclean.rot has been posting an unvarnished look at McLean High School since February, detailing for all a need for serious maintenance.” [Fairfax County Times]
Chantilly Park Gets Grant to Monitor Water — “Fairfax Water recently awarded Ellanor C. Lawrence Park Friends a Water Supply and Protection Grant in the amount of $1,437 in support of ECLP’s water quality monitoring program…This grant will provide funding for on-site water quality monitoring to address potential pollution threats from nearby construction projects.” [FCPA]
Kings Park Neighborhood Gets Spotlight — “Aside from the people and neighborhood celebrations, the amenities and surrounding businesses have also compelled residents to stay in the area. Charlotte Hannagan, a resident since 2014 and Kings Park Civic Association vice president of social outreach, noted that there’s so much within walking distance of the neighborhood.” [The Washington Post]
It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 84 and low of 71. Sunrise at 6:11 am and sunset at 8:22 pm. [Weather.gov]
Reston Association is urging residents to avoid using water from Lake Thoreau for irrigation until mid-October.
The guidance comes after Aquatic Environment Consultants treated Hydrilla, an invasive aquatic species, on the water. Conducted monthly and typically around the middle of the month, treatments will continue throughout the summer to maintain low levels of herbicide in the water.
The company was contracted to treat Hydrilla when it became a “nuisance” two years ago, according to Ben Rhoades, RA’s watershed manager.
“There are no use restriction associated with the herbicide, Fluridone, other than irrigation,” Rhoades wrote in a statement to FFXnow.
In 2020, RA encouraged residents to avoid contact with the lake after a major algae bloom took over the surface of the lake. The incident piqued conversations about RA’s maintenance of its lakes and the most appropriate timing of lake treatment to avoid similar issues in the future.
The bloom was later ruled non-toxic.
In an effort to shore up its water and sewer fund, the Town of Herndon is considering increasing water and sewer rates.
If approved, the quarterly service charge for water would increase by nearly 18% or roughly $10.54. For water rates per every 1,000 gallon used, the charge would be more nominal — a little over 3%.
The quarterly service charge would increase by $7.40. Billing schedules are determined based on the size of the meter.
There would be an additional charge of $5.64 per 1,000 gallons for all water used during peak periods — defined as July through November — and greater than the average use in the previous two quarters.
“If this rate increase proposal is not chosen, retained earnings will need to be used to cover the variance,” staff noted.
Councilmember Pradip Dhakal said the town should consider evaluating the industry standard definition of “peak periods.”
“Does it make sense to only apply that for summer uses and remove that for, I would say, the latter three months? Dhakal said at a council meeting on Wednesday (April 6).
The proposal was discussed at an April 5 work session as part of the town’s deliberations on the budget for the next fiscal year.
If approved, all changes would take in effect on or after July 1 of this year.
The town is expected to continue discussion at a work session on April 12. Town manager Bill Ashton expects to examine the issue, including how to define peak periods.
Your drinking water could see some changes — differences that water officials say are harmless.
Fairfax Water started its annual flushing program today (Monday). Instead of its usual practice of disinfecting the supply with chloramine, it will temporarily stop adding ammonia to drinking water in an effort to maintain the system’s quality.
While the U.S. has chlorinated drinking water since the early 20th century, it can create harmful effects called disinfection byproducts, so many utilities have shifted to using chloramines, which are less aggressive over the long term.
Fairfax Water shared some tips to handle the changes in drinking water:
You may notice a chlorine taste and odor in your drinking water while free chlorine is utilized. If you are especially sensitive to the taste and odor of chlorine, try keeping an open container of drinking water in your refrigerator. This will enable the chlorine to dissipate, thus reducing the chlorine taste. Remember – drinking water has a shelf life! Change out the water in your refrigerated container weekly.
The flushing period will last through June 13 for most of Fairfax County. McLean, Merrifield, and nearby areas will have the process end on May 9.
The changes involve Washington Aqueduct customers throughout the region. Water for the area comes from the Occoquan Reservoir and Potomac River.
Photo via Fairfax County