Pipe burst leads to sink hole at Belle View


Belle View residents are still looking into a large sink hole that was created Sept. 11, when a sewer-line leak led to another leak in the waterline and a damaged pump station, creating a mess that may take until next Monday to fix.

This has been one of the most difficult tasks I have seen, said Iftekhar Ifty Khan, the director of the wastewater collection division in Fairfax County.

Belle View is affected by the tidal waters of the Potomac, said Khan, which weaken the pipes over time. The undermining by the tidal water is the root cause, said Khan.

The water pipe is not under his divisions purview and was not in the drawings when they came out to fix the sewer on Sept. 11. After they fixed the water leak and rerouted the sewer line around the sinkhole, Khans crew detected the presence of another leak and will run a camera on a line to pinpoint the leak, Khan said.

With the pump station down, water backed up and flooded businesses in the shopping center across the street. At The Italian Deli at Belle View, workers were in the basement the following day, Sept. 12, removing carpet and damaged materials. It got pretty deep; some spots it was up to 3 or 4 inches, said deli owner Ted Arminio. It didnt smell great.

Next door at the Dishes of India, it was much of the same. The water started coming from the back drain, said restaurant owner Naresh Bhatt. This was around 8 p.m. on Sept. 11, and they got all the customers out before workers started removing the bottom of the drywall and moving in the fans to air it out.

The water was under pressure in the pipes when they burst, causing much of the surrounding dirt to wash away, resulting in a sink hole, said Jose E. Diaz, a foreman for Tessa Construction that were contracted by Fairfax County to do the repairs. The workers used several pumps and rerouted the water around the sink hole so the tenants in the surrounding apartments did not lose water for long.