VB residents blame VDOT transportation project for trash collecting in the lake they live on

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — We got some complaint calls from a Virginia Beach neighborhood. Their property around the lake has been altered by Interstate 264 construction near the Witchduck Road exit. There’s more noise, fewer trees providing a natural noise buffer for loud trucks going by.

Another new development for neighbors is — believe it or not — trash. The residents report there’s a lot of it in the lake.

The trash is a quality-of-life issue for Kevin Collins and his wife, Cindy. The two sat together in their backyard and spoke to 10 On Your Side as several different species of birds flew around.

“We have beautiful scenery, but the amount of trash that comes up, and it comes up over there and funnels down [to our home],” said Kevin Collins.

The Collinses bought their dream home on a plot of land sitting on Kempsville Lake, also known as Kemps Lake. Now, it’s known to the couple as “trash lake.”

They blame VDOT construction.

“It really started after they started cutting down those trees, and we have drainage pipes over there now. They have cut out the trees from the fence line, anything that retained anything at all,” Kevin Collins said.

In a VDOT statement, the department blamed the motoring public, but said VDOT will continue removing trash that collects on the land side of the turbidity curtain floating on the water. 

VDOT spokesperson Jordan-Ashley Walker sent us additional information:

“Regarding reports of debris in Kemps Lake, VDOT met with property owners twice within the last week to review their concerns and look for solutions.   

“By and large, the trash identified during VDOT’s site review appears to be from debris discarded by people or motorists in the area and not directly from construction-related activities. Both the north and south sides of I-264 have stormwater management facilities that ultimately drain into the lake, which means that trash irresponsibly deposited on the highway or surrounding streets can ultimately end up in the lake.” 

The Collinses also think VDOT should put some type of trash filter on the end of the pipe to catch that debris. 

The VDOT statement continued:

“DOT and its project contractor will continue removing trash that collects behind the turbidity curtain (a floating barrier that is used in construction to control silt and sediment) on its side of construction, as well as monitor and remove any debris specific to construction activity.

Kevin Collins says that the curtain does not hold back all the trash.

“Anytime there is heavy rain or anything the trash spills out and runs down and streams into the Elizabeth River,” Kevin Collins said.

It should also be noted Kevin Collins called VDOT to come and pick up one of its traffic barrels found floating in the lake near the Collins’ home, 

“The other day. I had enough. I got on a jet ski and took pictures and sent them to WAVY 10 on Your Side,” he said.  

Collins took a lot of pictures of trash not just near the roadway but deeply embedded into plant life far away from I-264 construction, 

“We are concerned citizens over here and we are making phone calls and we aren’t getting anywhere everyone wants to point fingers at each other,” he said.

We called Drew Lankford with Virginia Beach Public Works, and he understands why people are upset. 

“I came out here. Code enforcement is sending someone out to look at the situation. Also, landscape management is coming out. They are going to take pictures. I am going to take pictures and share them with everybody,” he said.

In the meantime, Kevin Collins keeps his trash net nearby to fish trash out of the lake.

“Like, look what I got this week…this big rusty steel clamp, cans, old bottles a fire extinguisher,” he said.

10 On Your Side will keep you updated on this story.

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