On December 26, 2023, Fairfax Water filed an application with Fairfax County to request approval of its Poplar Heights Tank Replacement project, pursuant to Virginia Code § 15.2-2232 and Section 8101.3 of the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance. This application will initiate review of the project by Fairfax County staff, a process that will take several months culminating with public hearings before the Planning Commission and ultimately the Board of Supervisors. You may track the status of the County’s review here.
A link to the statement of justification and drawings Fairfax Water submitted with the application can be found here: SE-2232 Submittal SOJ-Plat and under the 'Project Documents' section at the bottom of this page. We will continue to update this information with any revisions to the application documents as well as the schedule, including the dates and times of the public hearings once they are set. Fairfax Water will continue to engage with the community in the months ahead as we proceed through the County review process.
The existing Poplar Heights Tank was constructed by the City of Falls Church in 1952 on a small 0.13-acre site located in the Poplar Heights neighborhood in Fairfax County’s Providence District.
Fairfax Water acquired the City of Falls Church water system in January 2014 and continues to integrate the former City water system with the Fairfax Water system. As part of this effort, Fairfax Water identified the need to replace the Poplar Heights Tank to improve water pressure, enhance water quality, and provide additional water storage required by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).
Why is a new tank needed?
The existing 70-year-old tank is undersized and configured such that only 40% of its total volume can be utilized without system pressures dropping below VDH regulations. This in turn increases the potential for water quality issues. A new tank is needed to provide additional water storage that can be fully utilized to improve water flow and pressure, and enhance system resiliency.
What will the new Poplar Heights Tank look like?
The new tank will be similar in height to the existing tank but larger in diameter to hold an increased volume of water. The water will be stored in an elevated steel bowl atop a concrete pedestal.
What are the benefits of a new tank?
Elevated storage tanks utilize gravity to produce consistent water system pressure and efficiently cycle all the water in the tank to maintain optimal water quality. Customers served by the new Poplar Heights Tank will benefit from improved, more consistent water pressure and strengthened water system reliability. The new tank will also increase the amount of water available for fire-fighting purposes.
Where will the new tank be constructed?
Fairfax Water has acquired additional property near the existing Poplar Heights Tank to accommodate the construction of the new tank after the existing tank has been demolished. The location is already established for water storage, centrally located within the portion of the water system the new tank will serve, and situated on locally high ground that will provide for optimal water pressure to the community.
Fairfax Water is committed to working with the community to share details of the design and construction process. Fairfax Water will prioritize community safety and implement steps to minimize noise and vehicle and pedestrian traffic impacts. In addition to the tank replacement, new transmission water mains will be installed along neighboring streets to connect the new tank to existing water mains in the system. The new water mains will allow for the abandonment of aging water mains in need of replacement, minimizing future water main breaks in the community.
On July 13, 2023, Fairfax Water held a public meeting to discuss project details and address questions from the community. A second public meeting was held on Monday, October 16, 2023 to review additional project details, discuss Fairfax Water’s plan to improve pressures in the Poplar Heights neighborhood, and answer questions from the public.
Recordings of those meeting are available below.
|Public Outreach Meetings
|1st Public Outreach Meeting
|July 13, 2023
|2nd Public Outreach Meeting
|October 16, 2023
What is the projected schedule for constructing the new tank?
|Design & Permitting Completion
|1st Quarter 2025
|2nd Quarter 2025
|1st Quarter 2027
|SE-2232 Submittal SOJ-Plat
|2016 Evaluation of Alternatives for Additional Second High Storage
|Conceptual Construction Staging Plan