Siren test planned for Occoquan Dam

Anyone who lives or works near the Occoquan River may hear an unfamiliar and jarring sound Wednesday: the Occoquan Dam siren.

A test of the siren system installed along the banks of the Occoquan River between Occoquan and Belmont Bay will be held between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Nov. 14. People living and commuting in the area will hear a loud siren.

Fairfax Water is responsible for the test, which is expected to be an annual exercise to test functionality.  

The test will also help residents and tourists become accustomed to the siren and how to react in the event of an emergency at the dam.

In the event of a structural failure at the dam, a loud siren will sound, and residents and visitors will be expected to move to higher elevations to avoid rapidly approaching water.

A map on the related web site marks “inundation regions,” which primarily affect the historic district of Occoquan.

Those on the water at the time of the siren are encouraged to get on land as quickly as possible. The map and instructions can be found at

The Occoquan Dam, known as “The High Dam” was built in the early 1950s to create the Occoquan Reservoir that now holds some 8.3 billion gallons of water.  

In the event of cancellation, the test will be held Nov. 28.

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