For Immediate Release: April 21, 2017
The City of Alexandria has been notified that the Governor has signed House Bill 2383 and Senate Bill 898, which require Alexandria to remediate its four combined sewer outfalls by July 1, 2025.
“We appreciate the Governor’s earlier efforts to substitute a more reasonable deadline, and we remain fully committed to getting all four outfalls in Alexandria done, and to getting them done right,” said Mayor Allison Silberberg. “While we are moving full steam ahead, we are very concerned that this legislation requires a deadline engineers have indicated is not feasible.”
The legislation does not apply to other localities in Virginia with combined sewer outfalls, and will require the City to plan, design, and construct massive underground storage tanks and tunnels in less than half the time other communities have been given. The City’s four combined sewer outfalls already operate under state permits and comply with all federal and state laws, regulations, and permit requirements, including the federal Clean Water Act.
The General Assembly rejected amendments recommended by the Governor, which would have changed the required deadline to 2027 and given the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality the authority to grant six-month extensions up to 2030 to address circumstances beyond the City’s control.
The capital budget proposed by City Manager Mark B. Jinks in February includes $386 million in spending over the next 10 years, to be funded primarily by projected increases in City sewer fees of more than 500% by 2027. These fees are paid by residential, commercial, and nonprofit customers. The budget includes the assumption of $54 million in state aid, like the assistance previously provided to Lynchburg and Richmond to address combined sewer outfalls in those cities.
While 95 percent of Alexandria is served by separate sewer systems for stormwater and sewage, the remaining 5 percent is served by a combined sewer system. When too much rain flows into the system, it overflows into local waterways at four outfalls. Alexandria has one of the earliest combined sewer systems in the country, dating back to the early 1800s. More than 800 cities nationwide have a similar system, including neighboring outfalls that overflow into the Potomac River.
For media inquiries, please contact Craig T. Fifer, Director of Communications and Public Information, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.746.3965