Notes from the October 21, 2014, PDC Meeting

Speaker:   Ms. Danielle Wynne,
Ecologist DPWES,
Stormwater Planning Division

The topic of stormwater and the environmental health of the streams as well as  system improvements  in our Providence District  were discussed at the Providence District Council (PDC) Meeting on Tuesday 10/21/14 at 7:30pm.

The guest speaker was Danielle Wynne, Ecologist at the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES), Stormwater Planning Division.  The section of Fairfax County in which our Providence District resides in currently has a “poor” environmental health rating.

What is stormwater and stormwater management?

Stormwater runoff is water from rain or melting snow that flows over the ground. Land in a natural condition soaks up the water.  In areas with buildings, roads and parking lots, the water flows over these surfaces into storm drains.  Storm drains lead to streams, not to a wastewater treatment facility.  Anything that goes down a storm drain goes directly to the nearest stream.

Stormwater management controls this polluted runoff by sending it through the storm drainage system and then to lakes and streams.   In order to help prevent bank erosion and pollution in our watersheds, engineers and biologists have worked together to develop “Best Management Practices,” also called BMPs, to accommodate stormwater runoff while minimizing environmental impacts. Best Management Practices encompass a wide range of man-made structures, such as stormwater management facilities.

Stormwater management facilities are developed to reduce the amount or quantity of stormwater runoff and provide time for most pollutants to settle in a holding area where they will not be transported to streams. Typical stormwater management facilities used in residential and commercial areas include: dry and wet ponds, rain gardens, trenches, pervious pavement, wetlands and manufactured facilities (which are usually underground baffling systems designed to filter out certain pollutants).

As a resident of Vienna, what can I do to help?

Examples of what you can do include:

1) Simple everyday house-keeping measures, such as picking up after your pets and not littering.

2)  Identify issues/concerns and report them to http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/complaints/

3)  If you are approached by Fairfax County’s DPWES for an easement on your property related to improving stormwater management, please take action to grant the easement and comply.  In some cases, a project affecting 60 houses cannot be started unless all 60 households comply.   (The property still belongs to the residents or HOA, but the easement allows DPWES to work on the improvement project.)

4) Volunteer for a stream cleanup, biological stream monitoring or other event. (http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/stormwater/volunteer.htm)

5) Have a rain barrel in your backyard. A rain barrel is a system that collects and stores rainwater from your roof that would otherwise be lost to runoff and diverted to storm drains and streams.  http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/nvswcd/rainbarrels.htm)

Additional information:

For a list of stormwater improvement projects in Fairfax County refer to: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/stormwater/projects/project_list.htm

For stormwater maintenance and inspectiongo to the Maintenance and Stormwater Management Division:  https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/contact/mailform.aspx?ref=70043 or call 703-877-2800, TTY 711

For additional assistance with private stormwater issues contact the Northern Virginia Soil & Water Conservation District:https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/contact/mailform.aspx?ref=9990 or call 703-324-1460, TTY 711

For more details about information mentioned in this article as well as additional stormwater related information in Fairfax County, refer to:http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/stormwater/

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