Opinion: Commentary: County Announces Plan to Save Lake Accotink

Opinion: Commentary: County Announces Plan to Save Lake Accotink

Two years of advocacy and resident involvement paid off big time when I, Supervisor Jeff McKay, and Park Authority staff announced last week our plan to save Lake Accotink forever. It was a great day for the community. This plan costs less than the original forecast, dredges the lake, provides for regular continued maintenance dredging, and will not require any large trucks to drive through neighborhood streets.

The Park Authority announced two years ago that Lake Accotink was in danger of disappearing absent new dredging. Since then my office and the Park Authority have held multiple community meetings to inform the public and listen to the community’s preferences for the future of the lake. Community input was and remains vital in deciding how to move forward. A community survey initially found an overwhelming majority wanted to save the lake. Thousands of residents signed petitions with the same position. Of the five lake management options presented by the Park Authority, the most popular one called for the installation of a sediment forebay and the full dredging of the lake. Supervisor Jeff McKay and I and the Park Authority held a final community meeting on Sept. 19, 2019 to review the Park Authority’s final recommendations for lake management.

The Park Authority’s recommendation is to do an initial wet dredge of the lake to an average 8-foot depth. Regular dredging on a much smaller scale would continue in future years. The initial dredge would cost a total of $30.5 million to complete and $2.013 million annually to maintain. This is much less than the $50 million we expected last year. The sediment collected in the dredging would be brought by pipe to an unused area of Wakefield Park under the power lines for dewatering. Once it dries, the dirt would be trucked out of the county via the I-495 beltway. No truck would need to use neighborhood roads. The Wakefield dewatering area gives direct access to Braddock Road, and a minimal impact on wetlands in the area. Further study found trucking was the best way to move the final dirt.

The dewatering system recommended by the Park Authority is known as the Geotextile Fabric Dewatering System. This reusable system easily accommodates large volumes of sediment. It reduces dewatering time versus the traditional basin method and does not disturb the ground at the installation site. It will require trucking sediment to a permanent disposal location at the end of the process.

The sediment field is recommended to be placed north of Braddock Road. This location is ideal due to its proximity to the Braddock Road access route. The sites considered south of Braddock Road would cause an increase in construction and trucking activities near residential communities. By building the dewatering site north of Braddock Road the site would have access to on-site dewatering and quick access to I-495 to truck to the final disposal site. Lastly, it would have the least impact to streams and wetlands compared to sites below Braddock Road.

The Board of Supervisors will vote on this proposal on Oct. 29. There is still time to voice your opinions to my office. You can email us at Braddock@FairfaxCounty.gov or call us at 703-425-9300.