The Ballston Pond wetland restoration gives Arlington County renewed stormwater management function along with improved water quality and wildlife habitat in an urban setting. This revitalized local gem has received high praise from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for its water quality, habitat and community education benefits.

The Challenge

Retrofit a highly visible stormwater detention pond to support local MS4 program compliance and reduction of floating pollutants, and do it in an aesthetically pleasing way that benefits wildlife and the community.

Our Solution

WSSI worked with Arlington County staff to construct a powerful stormwater-cleaning wetland system with some innovative twists right alongside Interstate 66 in Arlington’s Ballston neighborhood. When Virginia Department of Environmental Quality staff visited the site to assess MS4 goal attainment, two green herons demonstrated their approval by making it the site of their frog lunch. We’re pleased they are making themselves at home!

WSSI was contracted to conduct Construction Management and Construction Inspections for this project. WSSI conducted pre-construction meetings and regular project status meetings, including agendas and minutes. WSSI was responsible for all project coordination between the owner and the contractor including processing submittals, RFIs, change orders and pay applications. We were also responsible for tracking project schedule and coordination with both internal and external project engineers. WSSI was an integral part of trouble shooting discrepancies between existing conditions and project documents.

WSSI provided Construction Inspections for quality assurance with full time oversight to assist with minor field changes and facilitate communication between the on-site field crews and the project owner. WSSI regularly confirmed contract requirements such as subgrade elevations, installation processes and documented progress throughout the duration of the project. WSSI provided daily field reports to update the owner of real time construction status.

The retrofit of this seven-acre facility, designed by others, includes a sediment forebay with articulated concrete blocks that capture sediment before it enters the facility. A Watergoat in the forebay catches floatable trash that washes in, making it easy to remove from Arlington’s watershed. Submerged, emergent, and forested wetlands in the stormwater pond are natural filters for the oils, fertilizers, and other pollutants that are washed into the system. They also provide a variety of habitats for local flora and fauna to call home. Two beaver leveler outfall devices maintain optimal water levels for these designed ecosystems.

An observation platform brings the public into this new wildlife habitat and water quality improvement project. The platform has informational signage, seating, and bike racks to offer welcome the community. Grass pave access at two locations and a composite wood boat ramp support ease in pond maintenance while also reducing potential impervious surface.


Civil + Structural Engineering Media’s 2023 Yearbook of Engineering Achievement, Environmental/Sustainability Category

Arlington County’s MS4 program underwent an audit by the Virginia DEQ. The Ballston wetland was a key inspection stop Tuesday for both the County’s TMDL compliance and floatables requirements. The project received high praise from DEQ for its water quality, habitat and community education benefits. It seems fitting to pass along this high praise to you who have been giving your all to this project for many months now. Thank you so much for all your hard work and dedication to this great project.

Christin Jolicoeur, Senior Watershed Planner, Arlington County, Dept. of Environmental Services

Project Facts
  • Owner
    Arlington County
  • Location
    Arlington County, VA
  • Size
    7.24 acres
  • Jason Beeler, CPESC, CISEC, CESSWI, PWS, ISA Certified Arborist, TRAQ

    Gainesville, VA