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The Lake Barcroft community has experienced closed beaches and limited lake access four times this year due to sewage spills.

Fairfax County officials have taken steps to address the causes of each of the sanitary sewer overflows and test the water for contaminants, according to Department of Public Works spokeswoman Irene Haske.

The lake, created in the early 1900s as a reservoir by damming Holmes Run, is now privately owned and accessible only to members of the Lake Barcroft Association.

The first sewer overflow occurred during a major storm April 29 near the Holmes Run pumping station, where the county was doing maintenance on a sewer main, Haske said.

While an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 gallons was discharged from the sanitary sewer system, county officials believe most of that was rain water that entered the system.

During another storm on May 15 and 16, about 3,200 gallons was discharged from the sanitary sewer when the pumps failed to turn on. County maintenance crews were quickly able to get the pumps up and running again, Haske said.

Two days later, a different pump station failed, leading to a 3,900 gallon overflow. After that event, a backup communication system was installed at that pump station to ensure that any malfunctions are reported to county maintenance crews.

The most recent overflow was June 17 and also occurred in an area where county crews were doing maintenance. When crews noticed the leak, they shut off the pumps and began to work to correct the problem, but not before an estimated 6,000 gallons of sewage was discharged.

The beaches reopened following the latest spill June 19 after tests found no detectable levels of human bacteria near the beaches. One area of the water did show detectable bacteria levels, although below state limits, and that area remained closed to swimming for a longer period.

kschumitz@fairfaxtimes.com