Nutley Pond will be going dry for the next several months.
The pond, located off Virginia Center Boulevard and Nutley Street in Vienna, will be drained as a part of a dredging project at the site. The project will address clogged low-flow sluice gates, an unsafe riser area, an excessive sediment deposit and invasive plant species around the pond’s periphery.
Sajan Pokharal, a project manager with the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, said at a virtual meeting on Monday (Dec. 13) that the project will take roughly 10 months, starting in January.
The dredging will remove about 10,000 cubic yards of sediment from the pond. The project will also enhance safety by installing a safety rail, fences, and safety benches, while rehabilitating the pond shoreline to provide an aquatic safety bench and native vegetation.
Susie Foster, the project’s landscape architect, said welded wire mesh can be used, as needed, to protect the plant material from wildlife.
A stabilized turf access point will also be installed at the north end of Baronhurst Drive for future maintenance.
The rehabilitation part of the project will include the installation of six cell floating wetlands, with three each at the north and south ends of the pond.
Pokharal said these will benefit the pond by attracting and sustaining insects, which will, in turn, attract song birds. The floating wetlands material and root systems will also provide surface area for beneficial microbes to pull pollutants from the water.
The dredging and restoration processes can overlap with multiple crews, while plantings will occur in spring, fall, or winter seasons, according to Pokharal.
Pokharal assured that the project will follow Fairfax County noise ordinance guidelines, which will allow for work from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends and federal holidays.
However, he said the work “typically” can end around 3 p.m. and by 5 p.m. at the latest each day.
The trail around the pond will be closed throughout the duration of the project, with temporary fencing to identify its limits. Heavy construction equipment will also remain on site throughout the project.
While there will be trucks coming and going, Pokharal said loading and unloading will happen at a staging area on the existing asphalt access road off of Virginia Center Boulevard. Flaggers will direct trucks in and out of the access road.
The mechanical dredging will start by emptying the pond and allowing crews to establish access and staging areas. Diversion channels will then be established within the lake before the dredging begins.
Pokharal said that process will enable crews to remove more sediment per day, potentially lower the project cost, and make it easier to construct other improvements, such as the proposed safety bench.
He did, however, note that the project will be weather dependent, potentially causing delays. He also warned that there could be an odor from the lake bottom being exposed.
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