Opinion: Commendations for the Office of Environmental Quality

Opinion: Commendations for the Office of Environmental Quality
(Stock photo)

To the editor:

I am writing to commend the City of Alexandria’s Office of Environmental Quality for its prompt response to a concern I passed along last week.

I was walking my dog in the Chinquapin woods, like I do every weekday just before dawn. On this particular morning, I came across several large pools of sludge that were on one of the main trails running along the stream in the woods. Above the trail, at the bottom of Kingston Avenue, I also noticed a pickup truck, a pile of pipes and a storage tank that had the words “Trenchless Technology” printed on the side.

I called the OEQ and said it appeared someone might be illegally dumping something into the woods. A very nice lady took my call and said they would look into it right away.

The next morning at 6:45 a.m., I bumped into someone from the office while walking my dog in the woods. He told me they had sent someone out shortly after my call and determined subcontractors from a nearby construction project had illegally dumped at least 800 gallons of silt into the woods. The pickup, pipes and storage tank were gone, and a fence had been erected along the trail to keep the sludge from going into the stream. The trail would also be cleaned and restored, all at the expense of the contractor — who, presumably, is being fined.

The Chinquapin woods are one of the hidden jewels of Alexandria and something every city resident should want to preserve and protect. As a taxpayer, it is good to know City Hall shares that goal and that my tax dollars in this regard are being put to good use.

I commend the office for its prompt action and good work.

– Lou Zickar