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Foust Urges Fairfax County to Take on More Flood Prevention Tactics

One Fairfax County official is urging the county to take more responsibility for stormwater management regardless of its liability.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust represents McLean, Great Falls and Herndon on the Board of Supervisors. After major flash flooding in July, Foust saw severe storm damage throughout McLean — from two severely damaged roads to flooded yards and fields.

“This is the issue de jure out in the communities after July 8, at least in my neck of the woods,” Foust said. “This is what I hear about all the time.”

Randy Bartlett, the director of the county’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, gave a presentation to the Board of Supervisors about flood mitigation activities on Tuesday (Oct. 8).

Some of Bartlett’s proposed policy recommendations included using 100-year storm benchmarks when upsizing pipes, requiring new developments to capture a certain amount of rain and designating overland relief paths on plats.

“I think that these are good recommendations,” Chairman Sharon Bulova said, adding that the county needs to designs for the 100-year storm and consider upsizing at new developments.

Foust agreed with Bulova and said that Bartlett suggested “some good alternatives,” before pushing the county to do more.

Bartlett said that the county will install backflow valves that residents then need to maintain.

“I know we offer constituents options to make investments to limit the ability of our sewer systems to back up into their basements when our sewer systems get overflowed with stormwater,” Foust. “I think that should be our responsibility.”

Foust added that the county either needs to find a way to keep stormwater out of the sewer systems or — if it does — to at least make sure it doesn’t get into constituents’ basements.

Overland relief is causing dangerous situations, Foust said.

“We have to think about getting more of this water into a conveyance system that is not free-flowing in these neighborhoods,” he said.

Aside from the county’s efforts, Foust also said that more state funding is needed.

“We have neighborhoods being literally destroyed when it rains hard,” Foust said.

Photo via @SteveML9022/Twitter, graph via Fairfax County

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