City Announces Updates and Public Meeting on Combined Sewer System Projects

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City of Alexandria Announces Updates and Public Meeting on Combined Sewer System Projects

For Immediate Release: May 19, 2017

The City of Alexandria has dramatically accelerated existing projects to remediate its four combined sewer outfalls, to comply with a new state law requiring completion by 2025. The City’s four combined sewer outfalls already operate under state permits and comply with all federal and state laws, regulations, and permit requirements, including the federal Clean Water Act.

The City will hold a public information meeting on Tuesday, May 30, from 7 to 9 p.m., to share information about how the new project deadline impacts the Combined Sewer System Long Term Control Plan Update submitted to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in December 2016. The meeting, which will include a public question and answer period, will take place at the Lee Center Exhibit Hall (1108 Jefferson St.).

Recent updates include the following:

  • On May 4, the Alexandria City Council adopted operating and capital budgets providing $370.2 million in project funding. Revenue for these projects will come from a 30% increase in the sanitary sewer system capital investment and maintenance fee in FY 2018 (from $1.40 to $1.82 per thousand gallons), with significant increases in sewer-related fees over the next decade. The budgets also include the assumption of $45 million in state aid, like the assistance previously provided to Lynchburg and Richmond to address combined sewer outfalls in those cities.

  • City Manager Mark Jinks has appointed Deputy City Manager Emily Baker to oversee the combined sewer remediation projects and coordinate the activities of the several City departments involved.  Baker, who joined City government in 2000 and has been a resident of Alexandria for 25 years, has previously served as City Engineer, Deputy Director of Transportation and Environmental Services, and Director of Project Implementation.  She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering and is a Licensed Professional Engineer in Virginia and Maryland.

  • The City is partnering with Alexandria Renew Enterprises (the independent public entity that collects and treats wastewater from Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County) to explore how to distribute the remediation work to best leverage project resources. This will enable more work to take place concurrently and provide for more flexible financial options.

  • The City has produced new materials to provide an overview of these projects, including a video, frequently asked questions, and an updated website.  These materials are available at www.alexandriava.gov/CleanWaterways.

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. When too much rain flows into the system, it overflows into local waterways at four outfalls.  Alexandria has one of the earliest combined sewer systems in the country, dating back to the early 1800s. More than 800 cities nationwide have similar systems, including neighboring outfalls that overflow into the Potomac River. The remediation projects require the planning, design, and construction of massive underground storage tanks and tunnels to significantly reduce sewer overflows.

For more information about the combined sewer system remediation projects, visit www.alexandriava.gov/CleanWaterways.

For media inquiries, contact Craig T. Fifer, Director of Communications and Public Information, at craig.fifer@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.3965.

The City of Alexandria is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended. To request a reasonable accommodation, e-mail geralyn.taylor@alexandriava.gov or call 703.746.4084, Virginia Relay 711.

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This news release is available at www.alexandriava.gov/97889.

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