The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has proposed building floodwalls and levees to overcome flood risks in Northern Virginia.
The proposed plan includes a floodwall at the Arlington Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) and a levee and floodwall at the community of Belle Haven, the agency said in a June 3 statement.
In the statement, USACE’s Baltimore District, with the non- federal sponsor, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG), say they have published for public review and comment a draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment (EA) “to determine whether the implementation of coastal storm risk management (CSRM) measures would reduce coastal flood risk to critical public and private infrastructure along the west bank of the Potomac River in Northern Virginia.”
The study area encompasses approximately 76 square miles within the Middle Potomac watershed boundary, from Arlington County south to include a portion of Prince William County.
“This study is a result of extensive planning and modeling efforts evaluating coastal storm risk management measures along the Potomac River,” said Baltimore District Commander Col. Estee Pinchasin. “The public release of this report marks a study milestone that the USACE team and our partners at MWCOG have been working towards for several years. We welcome all feedback and are excited to engage with the public as we continue working together to reduce coastal storm risk in Northern Virginia.”
Northern Virginia has been impacted by numerous major tropical and extratropical events, most notably the Chesapeake and Potomac Hurricane of 1933, Hurricane Agnes (1972), Hurricane Fran (1996), Nor’easter (1998), Hurricane Floyd (1999), Hurricane Isabel (2003), Hurricane Irene (2011) and Hurricane Sandy (2012). Hurricane Isabel in 2003 resulted in extreme water levels and caused millions of dollars of damage to residences, businesses and critical infrastructure.
USACE will consider all comments received within the 30-day comment period that ends June 30 in the preparation of the Final Feasibility Report and EA.
USACE and MWCOG will host at least two public meetings during the comment period. The first meeting (in-person) is scheduled for June 14 at Belle View Elementary School, 6701 Fort Hunt Rd, Alexandria, VA, 22307, from 6 – 8 p.m. The second meeting (virtual) is scheduled for June 16 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Virtual public meeting details and additional information will be posted on the aforementioned USACE project website as they become available.
USACE will continue to monitor COVID transmission rates in the local area and will implement changes to the June 14 meeting as necessary to prioritize the health of employees and the public. Masks and social distancing are recommended, regardless of vaccination status.