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The Ins And Outs Of Stormwater Management

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Steve Aitcheson with the Department of Public Works is taking a look at one of the pumping stations in Belleview. Aitcheson says the system of flood and sluice gates the county controls here protects Belleview from water that rises 8 feet above sea level. Right now its a 3 feet.

"So right now, the people in this community have about 5 feet more of protection before any water from the Potomac can get back to their houses," he says.

About 100 yards away is a the Belleview floodgate -- you can hear it as it automatically closes. It does that when the water rises to a certain height. Aitcheson says if it wasn't here, even in a moderate storm like this one, you'd notice a difference.

"You would see a lot more water in people's yards," he says.

Thanks to growing environmental concerns in recent decades, controlling stormwater has become expensive for many counties. This year alone, Fairfax will spend $28 million in taxpayer money managing the county's 1,500 miles of stormwater pipes and channels.

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