Those of us who live in Reston take a lot of crap from our fancier-than-thou neighbors in the super zips around us. That could soon be literal.
County officials are proposing creating a sewage disposal site off Hunter Mill Road on Lake Fairfax Park property. Apparently the current Colvin Run site near "Great" Falls, which receives "deliveries" from that fancypants community and semi-fancypants Oakton, among other places,
was drawing too many complaints from well-heeled NIMBYs is no longer suitable for receiving truckloads of septic tank contents and industrial greases. So, hey -- Reston is open for business!
Confidential Restonian Operative "Mark" provided this reportage from last Thursday's contentious community meeting, which he describes as "a contentious community meeting":
In a contentious community meeting held last Thursday, it came as a surprise to Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Fairfax Wastewater execs that local residents were up in arms about the completed feasibility study that would move a septic receiving facility from a utility road off Colvin Run and Route 7 to the backside of Lake Fairfax Park off Hunter Mill Road. Yes, the septic sewage from Great Falls and Oakton, as well as port-a-potties and grease from restaurants from Northern Fairfax County would no longer be dumped into the existing, 40 year old "open hole in the ground", just inside a floodplain along a community trail which the Colvin Mill residents complained to their Dranesville supervisor John Faust about the odor and noise of beeping trucks backing up. Not In My Back Yard - anymore!Will Reston take any crap? We'll see!
Why the surprise? Despite the lack of timely public notice, sixty residents showed up with questions, concerns and a sh*tload of suspicions that were soon to be proven well founded. A hired consultant Eric Leinhard from Hazen and Sawyer presented his firm's feasibility study on alternative sites judged on access to large pipe and major roads, outside a flood plain, away from public use and more space. Suitable accommodations for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did not make the top 5 list here.
Of course the best site that comes to mind is a public park surrounded by several communities within a stone's throw and directly uphill from a Chesapeake Protection Resource Area floodplain and a one lane bridge with a pedestrian crossing and trail on windy, hilly country road. To show impartial bias, three alternative sites on county land were also considered but unfortunately all of them immediately fell short as they were in flood plains, near public areas and didn't have the space to support a modern, odor controlled facility that provide drive-through amenities for septic haulers. Lake Fairfax Park was the clear stand out prize based on this selectively hypocritical criteria!
Asking residents to hold their questions to the end of his presentation, Leinhard showed pictures to help explain the septic lifecyle and photos illustrate how the new site would be convenient to the 22 trucks that would visit the site daily, some of which may use Hunter Mill already. Selling to the resident's civic nature, it's not just the septic from rich communities, it's port-a-potties found at T-ball games, not realizing our less privileged Reston little leaguers are still whizzing behind trees. If Colvin Run site floods, it's a health issue!. And if it weren't convenient for the haulers, they might be inclined to dump their load "down a manhole." So we need to move the site... anywhere from Great Falls but close to Great Falls and Oakton. How about Reston?
When asked for copies of the presentation, about 12 copies were handed out to the crowd. When the audience began to call out "liar, liar, pants on fire" with contradictory evidence, Cathy Hudgins stood up, walked to center stage to castigate her constituents, how could they interrupt this
shilltechnical expert's sales feasibility presentation? Everyone would be given a chance to speak….except the folks who signed up to speak - the staff apparently lost the sign-up sheet.
While the existing site was considered in the study, it was clear that moving--not modernizing--was the grand plan from the answers given on the Colvin Mill site
For the record, were there ANY EPA or State violations for this site? A forced and awkward "No" came from Wastewater Management.
Could they state the number of times the site was flooded? Uh, No
Could they raise the intake pipe? Cap the intake pipe to contain any flood-inducing leaks?
Could septic be pumped into a closed system? You folks weren't supposed to helping us problem solve here…
Had they considered moving the trail away from the facilities fence? Nope
Regarding the proposed Lake Fairfax site:
1) How could Hunter Mill Road be called a major road when it was windy, hilly, had a one lane bridge and had daily half mile back ups. Imagine idling in traffic behind 22 septic trucks making 44 trips to and from Lake Fairfax. Well it's a 25 mph road... no, I don't know how fast a septic truck can go uphill across a 1 lane bridge from a dead stop. With a little help from the audience, the junior engineer was able to confirm that math but not the vomit inducing stench.
2) You refer to a dated 10 year old traffic plan - did you consider the new private high school being built, new corporate campus on Sunset Hills , and that new Silver Line Metro that's being extended out to Dulles? There' s no data too outdated to use to prove their case
3)Pictures shown cut out or obscured the curvy road, one lane bridge, pedestrian crossing - We might have driven by there once or twice?
4) Signage shows the bridge's weight limit which would not likely carry a full loaded septic truck - No comment.
No mention mentioned to the stream below the bridge that feeds into the Potomac. We're not sure how far it is despite having cars, building and houses to scale on the picture…yes it appears very, very close but again it's totally uphill from the floodplain…what's your point?
Have you considered buying land in a industrial area? Yeah… we were looking at use existing county land, outside of actually fixing the existing facility. Guess they aren't the big wheel outfit like the RA that can buy a lake for $2.5M.
The residents' biggest concern: Was this was already done a deal? They had been burnt before by active community feedback that some strongly felt was overlooked by folks looking to develop and expand Hunter Mill. By input, are you looking for us to agree on the color of the facility walls or approve this fool idea of installing an industrial plant in our park and neighborhood? When pressed for an answer, the Wastewater exec and Hudgins told the residents emphatically that this was just a preliminary study and there was no design planned yet. Yet the presentation next steps shared (and redacted afterwards)? Start preliminary design!
Billy Joel concludes his concerts by sharing "Don't Take Sh&t from anyone." For Lake Fairfax Park residents, it appears that Cathy Hudgins will take Sh*T from Great Falls and Oakton but not from them.
Community feedback is requested to this preliminary design by March 18th to Jonathan.Okafor@fairfaxcounty.gov.
We will keep you informed as this story develops.