On April 22, 2014, Loudoun Water closed public access to the Beaverdam Creek Reservoir and the surrounding property. The temporary access restriction is necessary as Loudoun Water has the responsibility to assess, understand, and plan key areas of ownership, including safety & security, liability, operational flexibility (required dam upgrades), water quality, and property management. Ultimately, Loudoun Water’s objective is to manage the reservoir as a drinking water resource while also supporting public use and enjoyment.
You are invited to attend an informational community meeting to learn more about Loudoun Water’s vision for Beaverdam Creek Reservoir. Representatives from Loudoun Water will be on hand to describe this future vision and key milestones.
Beaverdam Creek Reservoir Informational Community Meeting
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Stone Hill Middle School
23415 Evergreen Ridge Drive
Ashburn, VA 20148
For more information, contact:
Sue Crosby, Manager of Outreach & Education
Beaverdam Creek Reservoir FAQ
On April 22, 2014 Loudoun Water announced that access to the Beaverdam Creek Reservoir and the surrounding property is temporarily closed to public access. The access restriction is necessary as Loudoun Water begins the renovation process to upgrade the site to meet the Virginia dam safety design and regulatory criteria, as well as to address safety and land use management issues. The assessment, inspection, planning, design, permitting, construction and acceptance activities associated with the renovation are anticipated to be completed by late 2018.
During the renovation process, Loudoun Water plans to embark on a land management planning process, including an extensive stakeholder involvement process. Our objective is to create a plan that, first and foremost, manages the reservoir as a drinking water resource, while supporting an appropriate level of public use and enjoyment after renovations have been completed. Please read the following list of Frequently Asked Questions to learn more.
- Who is Loudoun Water?
Loudoun Water is an independent authority, established through the Commonwealth of Virginia for the sole purpose of providing water and wastewater service to residents of the unincorporated areas of Loudoun County. Loudoun Water has characteristics of both a not-for-profit business and a public agency. The operational management, permitting compliance, and environmental health of our assets, including the Beaverdam Creek Reservoir are responsibilities that we hold for the benefit of our customers.
- Does Loudoun Water receive taxpayer funding from Loudoun County government or the Commonwealth of Virginia?
No. Loudoun Water’s revenue is received from user fees from customers or from availability fees from developers. User fees pay for operating expenses. Availability fees pay for capital improvements. Loudoun Water receives no tax money from either Loudoun County government or the Commonwealth of Virginia.
- Why has Loudoun Water restricted public access to the Beaverdam Creek Reservoir and surrounding land until 2018?
Initially, Loudoun Water did not anticipate making immediate changes to public access at Beaverdam Creek Reservoir. The previous owner, the City of Fairfax, did not restrict public access. However, Loudoun Water quickly realized that because the City did not manage the reservoir and surrounding land as a recreational asset, but rather allowed unmanaged and unchecked public access, change was necessary.
Loudoun Water has three primary objectives guiding our need to restrict access on the reservoir. First, Loudoun Water needs to regain a level of control over appropriately managing the land and water, a process that will engage key stakeholders. Second, Loudoun Water will begin a process to plan for the activities to evaluate the operational systems. This process may necessitate the fluctuation of water levels and evaluation of the dam functionality and safety controls among other items. Third, Loudoun Water will be undertaking significant renovations to bring the dam into compliance with Virginia dam safety and regulatory criteria. It is important to recognize that while construction activities may not be immediately visible, important steps to test the operational systems will be taking place. We may not have the benefit of advanced notice to citizens. To prepare for this significant project, Loudoun Water determined it must immediately restrict all public access to the reservoir and the surrounding land to ensure the safety of the public as well as those working on the renovation.
- If the dam needs repair work, why can’t the other areas of the reservoir still be used?
The water levels may fluctuate during the initial planning stages to assess and inspect the functioning of the dam and pump stations. In addition, the work that is necessary to correct deficiencies at the reservoir will require the water level to be lowered and potentially completely drained for an extended period of time during construction. While construction activities may not be immediately visible, important planning and testing activities will be developed and performed. Activities such as fluctuating water level controls, algae controls, and water quality monitoring could be performed and we are providing the community sufficient notice with this action.
- Why has Loudoun Water chosen to manage Beaverdam Creek Reservoir differently than the City of Fairfax?
During its fifty year ownership, the City of Fairfax did not manage the Beaverdam or Goose Creek Reservoirs as a recreational asset however they also did not actively restrict public access. During this period, Beaverdam suffered from private encroachments and unsafe activities, including gang activity and multiple drownings.
Loudoun Water’s vision is that an appropriate level of public use and enjoyment can and should be attained at the Beaverdam Creek Reservoir, and that will be most effectively gained through a land management planning process that includes key stakeholders. This will serve to protect Beaverdam Creek Reservoir as a drinking water source for Loudoun County while providing an appropriate level of public use of the water and surrounding property.
- Did Loudoun Water consider permanent restrictions and installing barriers to limit access to the water and surrounding property?
Many water authorities and service districts across the country secure their reservoirs with perimeter fencing eliminating all public access. However, Loudoun Water came to the conclusion that was not necessary, nor appropriate for the Beaverdam Creek Reservoir. Our objective is to create a plan that, first and foremost, manages the reservoir as a drinking water resource, while supporting an appropriate level of public use and enjoyment after renovations have been completed.
- Is there an immediate safety problem the public should be concerned about?
No. While the dam and reservoir are in need of renovations and upgrades to abide with the changes in the Virginia dam safety design and regulatory criteria, the renovations and upgrades that are needed do not pose a safety problem from a dam integrity standpoint.
Planned construction efforts will correct deficiencies that include inadequate spillway and conveyance capacity, stability and integrity of the dam embankment (seepage), stability and integrity of the intake tower and the tower access bridge, secure pump station capability as well as other items. Loudoun Water is in the process of selecting an engineering firm to assist it in planning and designing for these significant renovations. The assessment, inspection, planning, design, permitting, construction and acceptance activities associated with the renovation are anticipated to be completed by late 2018.
- Why is the reservoir open to school rowing crews but restricted to other users?
The City of Fairfax, the previous owner of the reservoir, had an agreement in place with Loudoun Rowing Association to utilize the reservoir for rowing crews. When Loudoun Water purchased the reservoir, it agreed to honor the existing agreement with Loudoun Rowing. The agreement with Loudoun Rowing Association was tightened, is for one year, and is subject to termination for construction activities.
- How does Beaverdam Creek Reservoir fit into Loudoun Water’s plans to manage drinking water in Loudoun County?
In 2012, Loudoun Water received permit approval from the Commonwealth of Virginia to move forward with development of the Potomac Water Supply Program. Designed to ensure that Loudoun Water’s customers have a safe, reliable, and sustainable supply of drinking water, Loudoun Water’s innovative approach to water supply management is the culmination of years of planning. The Potomac Water Supply Program includes a water banking network, including the use of retired quarries, as well as the Beaverdam Creek Reservoir.
Loudoun Water is committed to responsibly executing the Potomac Water Supply Program to minimize impacts to the Potomac River and to limit land disturbance. Our innovative approach to increasing water storage capacity—water banking—will give Loudoun Water the flexibility to suspend withdrawals from the Potomac River during periods of drought or water supply emergencies. This flexibility of operation will protect the Potomac River and its delicate ecosystem. With Loudoun Water’s recent acquisition of the City of Fairfax assets, our drinking water program also includes an increased focus towards watershed management activities in Goose Creek and the Potomac River.