A shot of Cameron Run, taken from a spot a few streets away from Huntington Park. The buildings in the background are at the Eisenhower Avenue Metro station. Image by the author.

On Monday, a crew began clearing trees from the banks of Cameron Run in Alexandria, marking the start of construction for Fairfax County’s new levee. When the levee is finished in 2019, it will protect about 160 homes in the Huntington neighborhood from flooding, which has been a huge issue in the county for more than 30 years.

Image by Google Maps.

Cameron Run is a tributary that runs parallel to Huntington and feeds into the Potomac River a little more than two miles away. After massive flooding in 2006, the Army Corps of Engineers conducted a study and found that sediment had been running from various county construction projects for decades and building up in Cameron Run, preventing water from flowing easily. One of the Corps’ recommended solutions was a levee, which would have cost about $35 million.

The county did not pursue actually building a levee, and Cameron Run flooded again in 2008 and 2011.

This is Huntington Park, and Cameron Run is on the other side of the trees. The park sometimes floods when Cameron Run overflows.  Image by Google Maps.

In 2012, the county voted to add a stormwater bond referendum to the ballot. About 78 percent of residents approved it, dedicating $30 million to build a levee and pumping station for Huntington.

The levee will be 2,800 feet long and will feature an embankment that varies between six and 11 feet high, based on the elevation of the land. One nice extra perk: the county is going to put a trail on top of the levee, adding to what’s already in Huntington Park.

The levee will have a pumping station, which will remove water from the space at Huntington Park on the other side of the tributary (called a pooling area) and put it back into the tributary, The pumping station will be located on the east end, toward Route 1.

Image by Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services.

The project will formally kick off on March 23 with a groundbreaking ceremony, and is scheduled to finish by Spring 2019. Fairfax County will provide a project update to Huntington residents on Thursday, March 9 at the Martha Washington Library.

Joanne Tang is a Northern Virginia native and a graduate student in public administration and policy, focusing on resiliency and emergency response. She lives in Alexandria and enjoys learning about pretty much everything, including the history of pencils.