Great article from Loudoun Times, I haven’t seen this much detail in their reporting yet. Below is a tiny snippet from the larger article.
Rich Coffman spent over four decades of his life fishing, swimming and eventually living along Goose Creek.
In the mid-90s he moved to a secluded home next to the creek and now watches over the designated State Scenic River every day.
But last year, Coffman says he began to see some changes to the creek shortly after Loudoun Water acquired Goose Creek from the City of Fairfax.
“Beaverdam Reservoir upstream from here has always been used to keep Goose full during the low flow periods in the late summer,” Coffman said. “Up until 2014 they always did. They [City of Fairfax] would drain Beaverdam down to augment the flow for Goose. When Loudoun Water bought … the facility from Fairfax City, they stopped that.”
Last September, Coffman noticed the company had shortened its water intake cycle from 24-hours to 12-hours, which he says caused more water to be taken without any supplementation.
“What the consequence was, was that when the river got below 25 cfs [cubic feet per second.] No water goes over the dam down there at Goose Creek. None,” Coffman said. “So, from the dam … three or four miles downstream to the Potomac, there was no water flow for a period of time whenever there would be intaking.”
Coffman immediately alerted the Goose Creek Scenic River Advisory Committee, then Loudoun Water and its board as well the Board of Supervisors about the issue, but was unable to get any written responses.
“They [Loudoun Water] eventually hauled me up to the facility…and had six or seven people surround a table including Mark Peterson to tell me that everything is fine, they are perfectly within their rights to do that to the river, to cut off the flow of water to the river,” Coffman said.
Coffman says Loudoun Water admitted no wrongdoing.
When he realized he would not be able to get the issue resolved by dealing directly with Loudoun Water, Coffman says he went to the Virginia Department of Environmental Equality and to various environmental watchdog organizations to tell about what he had seen.
What happened last year?
Data provided by Loudoun Water analyzed by the Times-Mirror shows that last September, for over a week, the utility company pumped over 50 percent of the water in the creek.
The average flow in the creek is about 234 million gallons per day, but during the period in question, the daily flow in the creek was below 12 million gallons.
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