Riverside Pipeline Completed

Riverside Pipeline Completed

Water service from Fairfax Water began June 7.

As of June 7, the water coming into homes in Riverside Manor is courtesy of Fairfax Water.

After months of challenges, public discontent and litigation, the Riverside Manor pipeline began servicing the 53 homes there on June 7, said Jeannie Bailey, a spokeswoman for Fairfax Water.

"We sent letters to the homeowners in that area to let them know when we were turning the pipes on, and I'm only aware of one complaint we've received," Bailey said. "A tanker truck filled up at a hydrant and that stirred the water up a bit, but that happens in a regular system."

The waterline had been the focus of at least two lawsuits filed by residents of Great Falls, initially trying to stop the completion of the line. Prior to the water line, the homes at Riverside Manor had received water from three wells, owned by Fairfax Water.

Now that the wells are no longer being used, the question becomes what will happen to them.

"It will be a board decision to determine what will happen to the wells," Bailey said. The issue was not on the agenda for the meeting on Thursday, July 7, but "I'm sure they're coming up with recommendations," she said.

The wells will most likely be sealed or otherwise closed off in some manner in accordance with Virginia code, Bailey said.

As president of the Great Falls Citizens Association, David Olin was not aware that the water service in Riverside Manor had switched over.

"I know that the issues behind the lawsuits and the water line are still prevalent in people's minds," Olin said. He was not sure if the lawsuits were still working their way through the court system or if any further legal action would be pursued now that the line has been completed.

"The lawsuits are still ongoing," said Amelia Clark, a representative from Citizens Against the Pipeline, a group of residents from Great Falls that have organized and raised money over the past few months with the initial aim to prevent the pipeline from being completed.

THEIR FOCUS WILL now be shifted to trying to protect the rest of Great Falls from unwanted waterlines, she said.

"The fear from back in the beginning was that the water lines will continue to grow," Clark said. "Our hope in all of this wasn't necessarily to stop the pipeline — we knew we probably wouldn't — but to stop it from proceeding throughout Great Falls. The fear is that it will grow from community to community."

Clark said a friend of hers recently received a letter from Fairfax Water stating that a three-pipe extension will be installed on Georgetown Pike from between Seneca Road and Sherlin Lane.

"The letter says the pipes are being installed to stop a gap in an existing system," Clark said. "They're using the same work crew that just finished at Riverside — Casper Colossimo and Sons. They're putting in another connection further down on Georgetown Pike and installing two hydrants," she said.

What this means for future lawsuits or water projects is uncertain, she said, but the community support for Citizens Against the Pipeline and its lawsuit remains.

"There has been great pull from everyone in the community because of that fear of what's happening now" on Georgetown Pike, she said.