Watershed Improvement District

The Dam

Since the 1972 storm, the dam has successfully passed state, county and federal dam safety inspections. These are cyclical with the most demanding inspection occurring every 6 years. The WID uses a prominent dam company to assist in the inspection process. In 2008, the Commonwealth of Virginia came out with new regulations with regard to how much rainfall dams would have to withstand in the event of major storms. The Lake Barcroft Dam was certified as meeting the new requirements.

Controls for the dam have evolved over the years. There are redundant systems to insure the dam will operate if there is a system failure. In 2007-2008, an agreement was reached with the City of Alexandria and Fairfax County to equally fund a completely automatic system to run the dam in case of electrical failure. An emergency propane-driven generator kicks in if power fails and runs the computerized system that controls the gate, which in turn keeps the water level constant. The WID also sends real-time sensor data to emergency command centers at the City and County. An Emergency Action Plan is in existence to carry out procedures in case of a major threat to the lake and dam and downstream businesses and residents.