The engineers at Fairfax County’s stormwater planning division haven’t forgotten the people of Belle View and New Alexandria. Don Lacquement, an engineer with the stormwater planning division, said that they have been working with the Army Corp of Engineers, which has been contracted to study the current stormwater management setup and present an initial plan for changes. The study is expected to be completed by the end of September.
Craig Thomas, Army Corp of Engineers project manager for the floodplain study, said that they started the study in spring of this year. Prior to that, he said that they had spent time talking with Fairfax County to understand what they hoped to get out of the project.
“We’re hoping to have a finished product and planning level report by the end of September,” Thomas said.
He emphasized that it would be a planning level report only; no design or construction. It will be up to the county to follow up.
Thomas said that because of the tributary over by Belle Haven Country Club, that there are many different scenarios. All of those "worst case" scenarios will be worked through and they will provide "back of the envelope" recommendations. There are many things that can be done to alleviate flooding conditions, including flood walls, gates and pump houses. (See sidebar for explanation on current setup.) Thomas hopes that this new study will lead to further analysis.
“The purpose is to identify the true risk,” Thomas said. “The floodplain information that we have is very outdated.”
Thomas, who has done many studies, has been pleased with their relationship he’s had with Fairfax County, and said, “The county has been great to work with; they understand the situation and the residents' concerns.”
DEB SELL-PUGH, president of New Alexandria Citizens’ Association, is also pleased and said, “Don [Lacquement] has been wonderful, he has pushed for new survey and studies from the county and the Army Corp of Engineers, all the while keeping the New Alexandria residents up to date on the progress. It's obvious that Don truly cares about the community as he works brilliantly to ensure everyone is well informed. He has come to our association meetings, scheduled meetings with us to tour the pump stations, look for drainage problems and has taken a lead role in ensuring that the information he has gets to the people who need it most. The pump station open house was his idea and we are glad to have the opportunity to speak directly with county staff. Don's supervisors and managers are also to be commended for supporting his efforts; everyone from the stormwater engineers to the director has been involved.”
Belle View resident Stephen Snell is pleased that the study is being undertaken and is eagerly looking forward to the results. In the meantime, he has released a Flood Emergency Preparedness Manual written especially for Belle View residents. The 11-page manual is divided into three sections: * Actions you can take at the beginning of the hurricane season in preparation of any possible flooding,
* What to do if a hurricane is approaching and there is a credible threat of flooding,
* And what to do if a flood is predicted and an evacuation issued.
In addition it has a section, based on the author’s experience, as to what one can expect to see and experience when flooding occurs. The manual has links and information on the NOAA weather radio and RiverWatch.
Snell said a flood emergency preparedness manual was supposed to be one of the deliverables of a flood emergency committee appointed by the Belle View condo board. He became frustrated when this year’s hurricane season began with predictions of a particularly bad season, and the committee had produced no manual. Snell said that he was thoroughly disgusted, so he simply sat down, got to work, and produced the 11-page manual which he released at the Belle View Annual Meeting.
This free manual may be obtained by simply requesting it via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is also in the member’s section of www.belleviewcondominium.com.