City receives draft permit to fill Potomac Yard Metro wetlands

City receives draft permit to fill Potomac Yard Metro wetlands
A rendering of the Potomac Yard Metro Station design that council approved on Saturday. (Rendering/WMATA)

By Cody Mello-Klein |

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality issued a draft water protection permit to the City of Alexandria on June 14 that would allow for wetlands at the proposed Potomac Yard Metro site to be filled.

According to the drafted permit, the new Metro station project would permanently impact 0.92 acres of inland forested wetland – or palustrine forested wetland – and 0.64 acres of lichen and moss-filled wetland – or palustrine emergent wetland. The project would also temporarily affect 1.10 acres of palustrine forested wetland and 0.91 acres of palustrine emergent wetland. Overall the project would impact 3.57 acres of wetland, according to the permit.

The draft permit and Code of Virginia require that Alexandria compensate for the environmental impact and ensure there is no net loss of wetland space.

According to the draft permit, the city would compensate for the project’s permanent impact by purchasing 4.96 wetland credits from the VDEQ. The city would also have to compensate for the project’s temporary impact to the environment by purchasing 1.10 wetland credits.

Under Virginia law, the city would use the given number of credits by creating, restoring, enhancing or preserving wetland or preserving or restoring wetland buffers. Each action equates to a specific credit value, according to Virginia’s compensatory mitigation policies.

The public can submit comments and questions during a public comments period that started June 14 and runs until July 31. After the public comments period, the State Water Control Board will vote on the drafted permit.

Comments and questions can be sent to Wynn Prusaczyk, in VDEQ’s northern regional office, at 703-583-3871 or

VDEQ will also hold a public information session and public hearing on July 16 at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively at the Oswald Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron St.