The flume and wheel that power grinding operations at Colvin Run Mill are going to be replaced. The Fairfax County Park Authority Board approved a plan at its meeting on May 27, 2020, to remove the deteriorated wooden structures and install a new wheel and flume.
Colvin Run Mill was constructed around 1811 and is the sole surviving example of a 19th century mill in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. It was purchased by the Park Authority in the 1970s, and restoration efforts in the 1980s and in 2014 and 2015 installed the mechanical equipment and features necessary to bring it back to its original automated design. The shaft for the mill wheel was also replaced at that time.
Staff have been operating the mill continuously since the automation was completed, and the mill sells its stoneground cornmeal, flour and grits to the public. However, staff recently observed deterioration in the existing wood wheel that operates the mill and the existing wood flume that carries water to the wheel. An agency team from the Resource Management and Planning and Development Divisions developed a plan for replacing the aging parts.
The plan calls for sourcing and purchasing wood needed to fabricate the new parts, fabrication of the new wheel and flume, removal of the deteriorated elements, and installation of the new wheel and flume. Work on the project is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2020, with completion in the second quarter of 2021. The $382,000 project is being financed by voter-approved Park Bonds.
Staff estimate the new wheel and flume will cut annual maintenance costs by $6,000 per year.
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