Manassas Journal Messenger | Reservoir meeting planned

Because there are so many different agencies regulating what goes on at the Occoquan Reservoir, Delegate Mich?le McQuigg, R-51st District, is hosting an informational meeting on them all.

The meeting is for land owners and citizens concerned about proposed Occoquan Reservoir easement changes and the policy affecting it.

Representatives from the Fairfax County Water Authority, Prince William County, the Virginia departments of Forestry, Conservation and Recreation, and Environmental Quality will make presentations at the meeting.

“It is complex. There are a lot of different layers of regulation,” McQuigg said.

Representatives from the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Department and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission will also be on hand.

The Wednesday meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Woodbridge Senior High School Studio Theater at 3001 Old Bridge Road.

The Fairfax County Water Authority, which serves 1.2 million Northern Virginia customers, owns and operates the Occoquan Reservoir. About 460 Prince William County residents live around the reservoir, which is a source of drinking water.

The water authority has proposed changes to the easement policy that regulates what landowners can do to their property fronting the reservoir.

The proposed policy changes include limiting the size and type of piers and floats, which “shall be constructed to resist submersion and wet conditions.”

If the water authority approves the policy, paths to the reservoir would be limited to 6 feet wide.

Limiting the activity along the reservoir’s shore is consistent with the authority’s goal to start with clean water and maintain quality drinking water, said Jeanne Bailey, public information officer for the water authority.

One of the authority’s biggest concerns is clear-cutting, said Bailey.

“Without that natural vegetation buffer when it rains, all that rain, mud, sediment and whatever else might be on the ground washes into the reservoir,” she said.

The water authority’s water quality committee held a public hearing on July 31 to gather comments on the proposed changes.

It will meet Oct. 23 at 6 p.m., but Bailey said there is no opportunity for public comment on the agenda.

The committee’s next meeting begins the process of considering the public comment collected, she said.

A copy of the proposed shoreline easement policy is available on the water authority’s Web site,

McQuigg said that when she first heard about residents’ concerns with the proposed changes, she made some calls to gather as much information as possible, she said.

“After a few calls I figured out it was hard to summarize,” she said. “It’d be better for everyone to have this information, too.”

Staff writer Lillian Kafka can be reached at (703) 878-8091.

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