Several sanitary sewer projects are currently under way in various parts of the Dranesville District. A sewer line at River Oaks is under construction and a sewer project at Portland Place is in the final stage of design. In addition, sewer projects at Saigon Road and Kenmore Road are in the preliminary design phase.
A three-year project to install a gravity flow sewer connection for the residents of Alps Drive in the Woodside area of McLean was recently completed. The project installed a 1,300-foot linear sewer main under the road to connect 13 families to the Fairfax County sewer system. Residents requested the connection after several homes in the community experienced septic system failure. The $323,000 contract for the project was awarded to Martin and Gass, Inc., and the cost was absorbed by county’s dedicated sewer fund, which is a revolving fund replenished by sewer hook-up fees, and by annual fees paid by customers to the system.
To be approved for a sewer line connection, a project must be located within an Approved Sanitary Service Area of Fairfax County. It must also have existing septic systems that are showing signs of failure based on age, and must have at least 50 percent of the homeowners willing to pay the cost of a sewer hook-up.
According to Dranesville District Supervisor Joan DuBois’ office, Fairfax County has a strong preference for gravity flow systems that do not rely on electrically powered grinder pumps to get household waste into the main pipe. Many areas in McLean and Great Falls are not eligible for sewer connection because they are zoned for low density development, or because their topography makes sewer service impossible.
When new homes are built on septic systems, Fairfax County requires that a new owner be able to demonstrate that they have the land for both the initial septic field, and for an additional replacement field. The county also allows for installation of a number of newer systems that allow for smaller drain fields, but require significantly more maintenance.
Residents with questions about sewer connections and septic systems are encouraged to contact the Fairfax County Health Department’s division of Environmental Health Onsite Sewage and Water section at 703-246-2201, TTY 703-591-6435.