|Sediment found in a stream washed downstream from the Inova construction site. [Kris Unger]|
After Kris Unger of Friends ofAccotink Creek (FACC) reported the problem in October, several sediment control measures were installed, and the county’s Site Development and Inspection Division (SDID) said sediment is no longer leaving the construction area.
“I did not observe any sediment deposits outside the limits of disturbance, therefore I do not believe any sediment reached Holmes Run or any stream,” Anthony wrote.
Unger returned to the site in Nov. 16, after the report from SDID, and documented – with photos and video – stormwater flowing from the construction area into a channel and depositing sediment into the stream beyond the limit of the sediment control measures.
The channel “is filled with sediment from the construction area,” Unger states in a Nov. 17 email to Anthony and others, and “much more sediment from the construction area has been washed downstream. As far as I can tell, this site had been failing for months before I reported it. I don’t know how to reconcile these pictures and my observations with the report from SDID.”
“I find it absurd that I am describing how to identify sediment pollution to Fairfax County professionals who have the responsibility to monitor and identify this exact issue,” Unger says. He believes county officials are either “not looking in the right place, they don’t know what it looks like, or they don’t want to find it.”
As a FACC volunteer, Unger has been documenting and reporting on construction-related erosion and sediment control problems for years, including the enormous amounts of erosion and sediment contamination of watersheds during the beltway expansion project, which he says resulted in “significant and ongoing cost to Fairfax County taxpayers.”
“I know what sediment deposits look like, and I know that’s what I’m seeing” at the Inova construction site, he says. “While I remain committed to constructive collaboration, that requires a shared reality. If SDID inspectors can’t find ‘sediment deposits outside the limits of disturbance’ at this site, we have a much more serious problem than just some sediment control issues.”
“The responsible parties apparently didn’t see this problem for months until I reported it,” Unger says. “During that time, I believe that large quantities of sediment were washed off this construction site, into the Holmes Run watershed.”
Unger has suggested a site visit to reconcile the different interpretations of what’s going on at the site, but hasn’t heard back from the county.