Fairfax County Breaks Ground on Huntington Levee
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Fairfax County Breaks Ground on Huntington Levee

$30 million project will protect community from flooding.

For the more than 160 homes in the FEMA-designated floodplain at risk for future flooding, March 23 represented a turning point: the groundbreaking of a $30 million levee and pumping station project designed to protect the community from Potomac River tidal surges and flash flooding from Cameron Run Watershed.

For the more than 160 homes in the FEMA-designated floodplain at risk for future flooding, March 23 represented a turning point: the groundbreaking of a $30 million levee and pumping station project designed to protect the community from Potomac River tidal surges and flash flooding from Cameron Run Watershed. Image courtesy of Fairfax County

Since 2002, there have been several significant flooding incidents in the Huntington area of Alexandria, with damage caused to vehicles and property.

2006 sticks out in the mind of James Patteson, director of Fairfax County Public Works and Environmental Services.

“There were a lot of people coming together in that horrible event,” Patteson said. Out of the flooding, he continued, it showed “the resiliency and patience of the community.”

For the more than 160 homes in the FEMA-designated floodplain at risk for future flooding, March 23 represented a turning point: the groundbreaking of a $30 million levee and pumping station project designed to protect the community from Potomac River tidal surges and flash flooding from Cameron Run Watershed.

The project is being funded from a stormwater bond that Fairfax County voters approved in 2012.

Board of Supervisors chairman Sharon Bulova called it “a big deal,” that the investment “says a lot about Fairfax County.”

All residents, Bulova said at the groundbreaking, “can understand the fear and uncertainty that comes from flooding.”

Bulova said the new levee, which when completed in two years will stretch for 2,800 feet and stand nearly seven feet tall, should protect against most storms.

A concrete I-wall will run along the top of the earthen embankment, which will support an eight-foot-wide asphalt trail.

Supervisor Dan Storck (D-Mount Vernon) said the project “gives us a sense of permanence… this area hasn’t had in a long time.”

Storck’s predecessor Gerry Hyland was in office during the 2006 flooding, and saw that first responders were able to help pump out residents’ basements.

Hyland called seeing the Huntington levee come to fruition one of his best experiences. He said a flooding impact study from the 1980s that fallen by the wayside was pulled back out during his tenure and brought before the board. Supervisor Jeff McKay (D-Lee) said it was Hyland’s tenacity and persistence when confronting challenges to the levee project that brought them all to the groundbreaking.

“To see the levee completed,” Hyland said, means “never getting a call, in the middle of the night, about housing in the area, flooding in the streets.”

McKay also praised the local first responders, members of the Penn Daw Fire & Rescue Station 11, “The Pride of the Highway,” for their service.

But improving infrastructure, he said, is a big part of “preventing the 9-1-1 call.”

“No one in Fairfax County should live under the risk of flooding,” McKay said. “We need to do the right thing and protect these communities.”

Excavation for the pumping station wet well is expected to begin in April, according to Fairfax County staff.

More Information

For additional information, here are contact details:

• General questions about the project, call 703-324-5800, TTY 711, or send email to HuntingtonLevee@f....

• To report construction-related concerns during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.), call 703-324-5800, TTY 711. For after-hours concerns related to construction activities contact the Project Engineer at 571-344-4615.

• For rising water that threatens safety, call 9-1-1. To report storm flooding during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.), call 703-877-2800, TTY 711.

• For after-hours storm flooding emergencies that are not life threatening, call 703-323-1211, TTY 703-239-8498, and state that you are reporting a storm sewer emergency.

• For sanitary sewer flooding, call 703-323-1211, TTY 703-239-8498.

• Report suspicious activities to the public safety non-emergency line at 703-691-2131, TTY 703-204-2264.

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Construction is underway on a 2,800 foot-long levee in Huntington; it’s expected to take two years to complete.

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Local leaders and first responders officially break ground on Fairfax County’s $30 million Huntington levee project March 23.