Beaverdam Creek Reservoir to temporarily reopen June 1
Originally, Loudoun Water had said access to the reservoir would be closed for two years while repairs were made.
However, the first phase of renovations on the property is almost completed, according to Loudoun Water Board Chairman Johnny Rocca, allowing for the reservoir to soon be filled with water.
Access to the property will be restricted again in the fall of 2016, when the next phase of construction is scheduled to start.
“We are pleased with the amount of work out team has accomplished over the past several months on the reservoir,” Rocca said. “We have a much better sense of the integrity of the infrastructure and the character of the reservoir as a whole. While the overall project schedule remains unchanged, this clarity provides us with a window of opportunity for the public to safely enjoy the reservoir and its surroundings.”
For years, Beavercreek Dam Reservoir has been a popular spot for water sports, such as fishing and canoeing.
So when the announcement was made in April 2014 that the property would be closed to the public for two years, Loudoun Water and the county Board of Supervisors found themselves faced with a barrage of complaints from residents who used the facility for recreation.
The access restriction was necessary, officials said, so engineers could upgrade the site to meet Virginia dam safety design and regulatory criteria, as well as address safety and land use management issues.
Loudoun Water purchased the reservoir, along with the Goose Creek Reservoir, Goose Creek Water Treatment Plant and the water transmission pipeline along the W&OD Trail to the Fairfax County line, in January 2014 as part of a $30 million deal with the City of Fairfax.
After the purchase, the full 11 million gallons per day produced by Goose Creek Treatment plant will go to Loudoun customers instead of Fairfax residents.
Loudoun Water has temporarily partnered with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority to re-open the reservoir and manage it for recreation.
Paul Gilbert, executive director of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, said his staff would partner with community volunteers to make sure the property is kept clean.
Loudoun Water and NOVA Parks will develop a separate, permanent agreement for managing the property beyond 2018 when construction is expected to be completed.
The repairs made so far, which cost about $17 million, according to Rocca, included: draining the reservoir; replacing deteriorated gate values in the inlet control tower; detailed topography mapping of the reservoir in its drawn down state to determine damage and how much water it could hold; and geotechnical subsurface explorations.
“We now have a picture of how that looks,” Rocca said.
Rocca estimated the project would cost about $50 million to complete. Planners anticipate the facility will be fully open to the public by 2018.
Officials emphasized the need to keep the reservoir clean as it one day will serve as drinking water for Loudoun County residents.
“This will supply drinking water to Loudoun Water customers,” said Loudoun Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York (R-At Large). “We all have worked and know how precious this asset is for recreation.”
The second phase of construction, according to Rocca, will include rebuilding the reservoir’s spillway to increase its size.
Construction, he said, is also planning for the future, as Loudoun's population continues to boom. With the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, construction will arm the reservoir will infrastructure needed until at least 2050.
In re-opening Beavercreek Dam, officials cautioned residents to take care of the waterway while they use it for recreation.
“The fact is the reservoir is used for the banking of water. It's not used for everyday usage of drinking water,” York said.
“Don't put a thing in that water that you don't want to come out of your spigot,” Rocca added.
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