The Commonwealth of Virginia plans to provide $25 million toward the “RiverRenew” project to remediate Alexandria’s combined sewer system. The General Assembly adopted the allocation as part of the state budget amendments for Fiscal Year 2020, which will be sent to the Governor for signature next month.
The budget appropriation will authorize $25 million for the Virginia Resources Authority and the State Water Control Board to make a grant to the city to pay a portion of the capital costs of the remediation effort.
During 2018, the city transferred ownership of Alexandria’s four combined sewer outfalls to AlexRenew, Alexandria’s independent wastewater authority. The city will continue to work with AlexRenew to incorporate state funding in compliance with the 2017 state law requiring that work on the outfalls be completed by July 1, 2025. The project is expected to cost between $370 million and $555 million, and will be primarily funded through increased sewer fees paid by Alexandria residents and businesses.
While 95 percent of Alexandria is served by separate sewer systems for stormwater and sewage, the remaining 5 percent is served by a combined sewer system, dating back to the early 1800s. When too much rain flows into the combined collection system, it overflows into local waterways at four permitted outfalls. Remediation projects require the planning, design, and construction of massive infrastructure projects to significantly reduce sewer overflows.
These projects include construction of a tunnel and other improvements that would transport sewage and stormwater flows from all four combined sewer outfalls to AlexRenew’s Water Resources Recovery Facility. Combined sewer flows would be fully treated at the facility until it reaches capacity, at which point the excess flow would receive initial treatment and disinfection and the remaining flows would be stored until they can be treated. Combined sewer overflows into local waterways would be reduced and occur a few times a year during extreme storm events when flows exceed the combined capacity of the entire system.
For more, visit alexandriava.gov/CleanWaterways.