Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church


Last week’s column generated some interesting feedback, some positive, some very negative.

Regular readers will recall that I discussed a request for information I made of the County Executive about steps, and resources, that may be needed to handle an unexpected influx of unaccompanied children, like those crossing the southern borders of the United States. The request was for information, not an open invitation.

Preparation for crisis, any type of crisis, just makes sense. Being prepared does not condone anything. I don’t condone hurricanes, or crime, or war, but we need to be prepared for those eventualities. It’s far better to be prepared than to be surprised.

The temporary sewer by-pass system along Sleepy Hollow Road should be gone by the end of this month, according to Fairfax County’s Wastewater Collection staff. The above ground pipes are part of a $1.6 million emergency repair of a 2,300 foot section of cast iron force main under Sleepy Hollow Road. A trenchless repair system was used to reduce the need for heavy excavation and maintain two-way traffic on Sleepy Hollow Road. The repairs proceeded without a problem until an unexpected failure of equipment at the pumping station at Dearborn Drive in late April, resulting in a sewer spill into Holmes Run and downstream into Lake Barcroft.

Three much smaller spills occurred later as new equipment was being installed and tested. I hosted a community meeting with Lake Barcroft residents and the Lake Barcroft Watershed Improvement District (which manages the lake and operates the dam) on June 25, at which county staff discussed the results of extensive water quality testing done by the county, as well as final steps in the project, including additional repairs and completion.

Residents at the meeting had suggested that the original engineering of the failed equipment be reviewed by an independent third party, and CH2MHill was engaged to do just that. Their review added a safety recommendation of an additional thrust block on site, which is expected to be installed early next week. Once all of the concrete is poured and cured, the repaired force main will be pressure tested, excavations backfilled, and the by-pass pipes removed.

The newly lined force main is expected to serve the community without incident for many years to come.

Jan Peterson is the featured artist in the Art in the Mason District Governmental Center program this quarter. Jan says she started with watercolors while living in North Carolina, and her style has evolved into abstract paintings using acrylics and mixed media with collage.

Her brightly colored creations may be viewed Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., in my office at 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale.

A quick heads up for Capitol Steps fans: the group will perform their satirical and very funny sketches at Mason District Park on Sunday, July 20. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., but you need to get there early for a parking place and a seat!


 Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov.