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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dominion brings energy to Wakefield Run cleanup in Annandale

By Elizabeth Kirchner

In a mid-April downpour, members of Friends of Accotink Creek and 30 Dominion Power employees filled the parking lot of the Audrey Moore RECenter with trucks, rubber boots, and green reflective vests for a cleanup of Wakefield Run.

As the rain moved east, Philip Latasa, co-founder of the Friends group, reminded the damp volunteers that, in heavily developed regions like Annandale, rain channels heavy metals, nutrients, oil, and litter directly into streams and waterways and scours soil from stream banks, ultimately washing it all into drinking water sources and the Chesapeake Bay. The stream, a tributary of Accotink Creek that runs through Annandale, will undergo a restoration project this summer.

Philip’s inspirational words, most notably: “There’s a large oil heater that needs removal,” heightened the mood. Dan Brellis of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay; Asad Rouhi, an urban conservation engineer with the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District; and Friends of Accotink Creek each led a cleanup group.

Working on the mile-long stream on both sides of the beltway, the volunteers hauled away mattresses, lumber, shower doors, car parts, a toy samurai sword, countless plastic bottles, and that oil heater.

 Through Dominion’s volunteer program, employees participate in an array of community projects, including mentoring young people, repairing state park trails, and reading to children. Several volunteers had participated in stream clean-ups before, and some had come from as far away as the Rappahannock and Shenandoah watersheds.

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