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City of Falls Church Sues to Prevent Fairfax Water Authority from Poaching on its Customer Base

 
The City of Falls Church went into federal court in Alexandria today (Thurs., Feb. 22) to seek an injunction against what it calls “a declared intent and concerted efforts” by the Fairfax County Water Authority to customers located within the designated boundaries established as Falls Church Water System territory.

The City of Falls Church has operated its own water system since the 1930s under contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operating the Delcarlia water purification and distribution plant in the District of Columbia. The system extends deep into Fairfax County, serving a total of 120,000 customers in areas covering Tysons Corner, McLean, Langley and Merrifield.

The News-Press has learned that since November 2005, Fairfax County has indicated its intent to violate the Falls Church system’s historic boundaries despite a long history of cooperation prior to that time.

In November 2006, the pattern of prior cooperative contact between the two jurisdictions on water service matters was cut off and just last week, a conversation between Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chair Gerry Connolly and Falls Church Mayor Robin Gardner, Connolly “made it abundantly clear,” according to sources, that Fairfax’s Water Authority would begin soliciting prospective new water users in the Falls Church area for its services.

The City of Falls Church raced to federal court today to enjoin the Fairfax Water Authority from engaging in such actions. The federal government has an interest in the matter, the suit asserts, because the Army Corps of Engineers used federal funds to upgrade its system into compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency and has an agreement to pass that debt onto its customers, including the water systems of the District of Columbia, Arlington and Falls Church.

The City’s suit has not yet been officially served on Fairfax County, but that is imminent, the News-Press has learned.