Groundbreaking Ceremony for Rain Garden


Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010

June 14, 2005

 

Groundbreaking Ceremony for Rain Garden
at Providence District Office to be Held on June 21

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will conduct a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, June 21, at the Providence District Office. The ceremony celebrates the installation of a demonstration project to filter and retain stormwater before it becomes runoff.

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. in the parking lot of the Providence District Office, 8739 Lee Highway, Fairfax. Providence District Supervisor Linda Q. Smyth; Jimmie D. Jenkins, director of the county’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services; and Sally Ormsby, a member of the board of directors of the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, will deliver remarks.

Reducing the amount of polluted stormwater that reaches county watersheds is a priority for the Board of Supervisors. Its 20-year environmental vision plan, which was adopted last June, encourages the use of practices such as rain gardens and green roofs.

This demonstration project employs a system of integrated practices for stormwater management that includes the installation of a rain garden and permeable pavers with an underlying gravel infiltration bed to retrofit a portion of the currently impervious parking area. In addition, a green roof has been installed on a nearby storage building. This integrated system of practices will be the first of its kind in the county.

Instead of allowing rain to flow directly into the stormwater sewers or streams, pollutants such as gasoline, motor oil and fertilizers will be filtered and a portion of the stormwater retained, allowing it to slowly infiltrate into the ground.

The project is expected to significantly decrease stormwater runoff from the site, as well as reduce pollutants washing into the stormwater sewers and waterways. Baseline measurements are being taken to gauge the current volume of runoff at the site.

This project could set the standard for new commercial and residential construction in the county. County officials will be monitoring this demonstration project, along with others, to gain important knowledge as they move forward with incorporating these evolving practices into the county’s Public Facilities Manual, which guides the design of everything from sewers to sidewalks.

Formally called “Demonstrating Innovation: A Stormwater Retrofit at the Providence Supervisor’s Office,” the project is financed by a $40,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. The Providence District Office, the county’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, and the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District collaborated to implement the project. Additionally, three local businesses donated materials, including the permeable pavers, rain garden plants and innovative erosion and sediment control products.

The increase in impervious surfaces poses the top threat to county streams, according to the vision plan. Impervious surfaces, such as asphalt, rooftops, driveways and parking lots, prevent water from being absorbed into the ground and filtered. As the amount of impervious surfaces increases, the volume of stormwater runoff increases, causing streams to carry a higher volume of water at higher velocities, resulting in erosion within the stream and potential flooding. The increase in impervious surfaces also results in more pollutants reaching waterways. The county is covered by 62 square miles of impervious surfaces — or an area roughly equivalent to Washington, D.C.

For more information about the ceremony, the retrofit or directions, contact Joan Maguire, Providence District Supervisor’s Office at 703-698-4827, TTY 703-207-9407. Directions can also be found on the county’s Web site at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/gov/bos/pd.

FAIRFAX COUNTY IS COMMITTED TO A POLICY OF NONDISCRIMINATION IN ALL COUNTY PROGRAMS, SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES AND WILL PROVIDE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS UPON REQUEST. TO REQUEST SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS, CALL 703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935. PLEASE ALLOW FIVE WORKING DAYS IN ADVANCE OF EVENTS IN ORDER TO MAKE THE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENTS

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