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Fairfax Residents Preparing For Summer Floods

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Crews clean up in the aftermath of the flooding that struck Huntington, Va. in the wake of Tropical Storm Lee in August of 2011.
Jonathan Wilson
Crews clean up in the aftermath of the flooding that struck Huntington, Va. in the wake of Tropical Storm Lee in August of 2011.

Everyone in the neighborhood near the Huntington Metro station has a story. Pregnant women rescued by firefighters in rafts. Waste-deep water. Mold. Mildew.

"The water comes from both directions," says Ana Funes, describing what the floods are like. "It comes from the street, the sewers, and it comes from the back. So it's the worst watching it. You see the field get filled with water, and you see fish and stuff coming this way."

Fish. Debris. And ruin. In the last few years, this part of Fairfax County has been hit hard--multiple times. Resident Jeff Hoekstra says last year's devastating flood cost him about $15,000.

"It's easy to pass over the headlines, oh, 200 houses flooded, neighborhoods evacuated, because you don't see it again the next day," he says. "But the reality is I just finished up repairs from the last flood, which happened in September."

Now that summer is approaching, people are concerned that another flood may be on the way, perhaps even more devastating than the last. Alan Ruof says the flooding problem has been created over the last few decades with increasing development along Cameron Run and throughout Fairfax County.

"The things that have caused the flooding for Huntington have been very good for Fairfax County," he says. "They've made sense. They've produced wealth and prosperity. But, boy Huntington has really paid the price, and we need help."

Help may be on the way. This November, voters in Fairfax County will consider a $30 million bond referendum to build a levy along Cameron Run. Ruof says voters should vote yes.

"I guess the first thing we have to say to everyone in Fairfax County is please help us," he says. "We need your help. We need things to change."

Residents here say that help can't come soon enough. And many are already placing the sandbags out for the summer.

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