Sewage spill fouls Holmes Run

This post was updated at 4:20 p.m. and 5:49 p.m.

The sewage spill into Alexandria’s Holmes Run continued Friday evening as officials said it would be three to four days before before the spill is contained and three to six weeks before the broken pipes are fixed.

The spill, upstream of the Beatley pedestrian bridge near the intersection of Holmes Run Parkway and North Paxton Street, has Alexandria city officials warning residents to stay away especially during the nice weekend weather. Residents should not fish in or have any contact with the waters, including wading or swimming, and children and pets should be kept away from streams in order to avoid contact with untreated sewarge.

It’s unclear how the spill happened, and whether it was a leak or a break. It’s also unknown how much sewage was discharged.

“Unlike a water line, we don’t have a flow meter,” said Bill Skrabak, the city’s director of environmental services. “We don’t know exactly when it started.”

A 30-inch line from Fairfax County runs parallel to a 12-inch line from Alexandria and both head to the Alexandria Sanitation Authority plant. Alexandria city officials originally blamed the spill on Fairfax County, but Fairfax County officials said the spill actually came from the Alexandria sewer line. The Fairfax County pipe took in sewage from the creek, county spokeswoman Merni Fitzgerald said, but the sewage came from the city line.

Crews from both jurisdictions were working to contain the spill.

Patricia Sullivan seeks out news about Alexandria and Arlington County for the Washington Post.

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