Your View: Where’s the soil test?

Your View: Where’s the soil test?
The Potomac Yard Metro station. (Courtesy Metro)

To the editor:

The Potomac Yard Metro station opened on May 19. But the sordid story of how it came to be sited on wetland, tidal wetland, woodland and national parkland must be told for the record. Please don’t buy the city’s revisionist history that siting the station there was justified because of the positive economic impact.

Other sites, that no one opposed, would have provided the same impact with minimal environmental damage.

Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) sent a letter to the Di- rector of the National Park Service in 2014 pressuring for the current site. NPS caved. I thought national parkland honoring our first president belonged to U.S. citizens, not two Virginia senators?

An Environmental Impact Study was required and done. It’s not a stretch to think the senators’ letter influenced all that came after the sale of the parkland to the city, including federal and state agencies involved in the EIS.

Mayor Justin Wilson incorrectly stated in the April 27 Alexandria Times story “City readies for Metro ribbon-cutting” that I received all of the geotechnical reports that I requested. What I sought was information on the soil instability post-construction. What I received were pre-construction reports.

As I said in the article, “I find it hard to believe there are no post-construction re- ports on the cause of the instability. And, if the information exists, then why has it not been provided?”

In addition to filing a request with the City of Alexandria for geotechnical test- ing done post-construction – which, to be clear, I have not received – I filed another PARP, which is like FOIA, request to WMATA last fall for post-construction geotechnical information and related information, both under the tracks and elsewhere on the whole station footprint. Six months later, WMATA has not provided the requested reports.

I have not concluded, and am not saying, that the soil instability that required remediation last fall is a result of building upon wetlands. But if geotechnical testing reports exist that prove the soil instability is not from the wetlands or the fill, then I’d think it would have been provided by WMATA or the city in a heartbeat.

Either post-construction geotechnical testing has not been done at the site, or WMATA has this testing but has not provided it to the City of Alexandria or the City of Alexandria has this information but has not provided it to me. Since I have not been given the post-construction testing that I requested from both WMATA and the City of Alexandria, one of the above has to be true.

-Hal Hardaway, Williamsburg, Virginia (formerly of Alexandria)