MPHOA Owners and Residents:
On January 20, 2016 Fairfax Water sent a letter to property owners at MPHOA and to residents of several other nearby communities advising of county plans to upgrade the water system in our neighborhood and those other communities – around 18-20 locations in all. The plans and corresponding surveys were completed later in 2016 and the resulting surveys and plans call for the actual construction work to begin in late summer of 2017.
Earlier this year all residents and owners received an e-mail from our property manager (National Realty Partners) advising that this project would be discussed at the March 2017 open Board meeting. At that meeting, a representative from Fairfax Water and a contractor to the County provided a summary of the plan, provided overhead photos and surveyor/landscape plats to show the planned work areas.
At this point in time, we do not have a specific date for the work in the MPHOA property. Note that all work will be in the Common Area and no work is planned on any individual homeowner property.
Two locations in MPHOA will undergo upgrades – essentially the addition of new connections to the primary water main(s) on Kirby Road and Great Falls Street:
- Van Tuyl Place – directly under the upper portion of the asphalt path leading down from the north end of VTP to Kirby Road, linking to an upgraded connection directly across Kirby Road at Foxhall Road. A total of approximately 100 feet on the MPHOA side of Kirby Road.
- Gervais Drive – at the north side of the circle. This new connection will be to another upgrade on Great Falls Street and will run approximately 110 feet under the upper portion of the sidewalk leading down from the circle and will turn left and connect to a new valve at Great Falls Street.
The need for the two new connections in MPHOA arises from two factors:
- The 20-inch water main in Kirby Road is being transitioned to a “transmission main”, on a different (higher) pressure zone than currently employed. Residential growth in our area since the original Kirby water main was installed has driven the need for higher pressure/capacity.
- The existing main connection at Kirby Road and McLean Province circle will be shut off (via closed valve) as a result.
Note that the new connections to a higher pressure main include a pressure reducing valve vault to protect pressures in the existing pipes in our community – and our homes. In addition to increasing water pressure in the primary mains to meet the growth in demand of the wider McLean & Falls Church area, MPHOA residents will benefit from the dual connections: we will no longer be served by a “dead end system” – that is, a single connection to the water main on Kirby, This will ensure the system is looped to two connections for water quality and fire protection, reducing the risk of loss of connectivity from a single connection – water supply will no longer be subject to a single point of failure.
So, what else does this mean for MPHOA residents? First, it will mean some “dislocation” when the work is undertaken. Mainly, the work entails digging up the areas where the new connections will be made from Van Tuyl to Kirby and from Gervais Circle to Great Falls Street. That means the asphalt path will be dug up (and repaved after the pipes have been installed, tested, and covered). Likewise the upper section of the concrete sidewalk leading down from Gervais.
We have been advised that the work will be done during the week – no weekend work. Likewise, the work will be undertaken during normal working hours – no 6:00 AM start time or 8:00 PM closing time.
What else might be affected? The area immediately adjacent to where the digging and repaving will be undertaken. The Board, with legal review, has signed four easements related to this work – a permanent easement at each site where the new pipes will be installed, granting the county any needed future access for maintenance or repair. In addition, a temporary construction/work easement has been signed for each area – allowing the engineering crews to work in the area, giving them space for workers, materials, and equipment. The temporary easements expire upon successful completion and testing of the new connections.
Also impacted will be the asphalt street area at the north end of VTP and the north side of the Circle at Gervais. Part of the project will entail the repaving of those areas by the county’s project contractor.
So, to recap, we get the prospect of improved water service, potential for enhanced safety by eliminating a closed system and replacing it with a dual access continuous looped system, and some minor repaving in areas where the work crews are likely to be working with equipment and material. Is that all? No – in exchange for granting the easements, the county has reimbursed (in advance) MPHOA with more than $7,000 in funds that have gone back into the MPHOA budget/accounts. These funds have not yet been earmarked for any specific purpose or account, but will likely be part of the Board’s 2018 budget development process later this fall.
Fairfax Water has submitted their permit applications to VDOT but as of mid-June, the permits have not yet been issued. This step with VDOT in required, as the bulk of the overall project entails digging up parts of Kirby Road, Great Falls Street, and most likely other main thoroughfares in nearby communities. The construction in MPHOA won't be scheduled or undertaken until the permits are received by Fairfax Water. A phone call to Fairfax Water’s Chief Design Engineer on June 12, 2017 resulted in a best guess of late summer 2017 for this work to begin.