See below for Sen. Scott Surovell’s statement on Governor McAuliffe’s decision to sign the Alexandria Combined Sewer Operations bills – SB898/HB2383 – requiring all Alexandria raw sewage discharges to stop in eight years. For more on this story, see Alexandria Raw Sewage Issue Spews Forth Yet Again and State Senator, Former Delegate, Alexandria City Council Members Wage Twitter Battle Over Raw Sewage.
I applaud Governor McAuliffe’s decision to sign SB898/HB2383 today.
DEQ has previously attempted to bring Alexandria into compliance previously over the last decade and the City had threatened litigation. Now they have to fix the problem.
When I started this discussion, the City of Alexandria’s only proposal was to study the Oronoco Bay outfall, discharge 70 million gallons of raw sewage per year, and look into a solution in about 15 years. Now we have a firm deadline.
The Mount Vernon Group Sierra Club and Potomac Riverkeeper Network’s engineering firm reported that the project can be completed one year faster than the current deadline. The City has many competent and creative employees which will diligently work to meet the deadline set by the legislature. Many of us are ready to help find state funding to support the project.
Americans built the Hoover Dam in six years, put a man on the moon in eight years and we built the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel in 43 months. I’m sure Alexandria can built a storage room the size of a high school gym, along with a pipe to connect the storage chamber with a sewage line in eight years. Alexandria is not Central America and Virginians don’t dump raw sewage in our rivers which are enjoyed by everyone.
The existing legislation will allow Alexandria to dump about 1.2 billion gallons or 1,800 olympic sized swimming pools of raw sewage into the Potomac River over the next eight years. I think that’s enough.
Our rivers are community assets and we must all work together to ensure their protection. This legislation shows that clean water is a bipartisan value.