North Side Salt Tank Interim Structure

Demolition of the old North Side Salt Tank at 25th Street North and Old Dominion Drive
The old salt tank was demolished and removed from the site in January 2019.

The North Side Salt Tank on County property at 25th Street North and Old Dominion Drive is a critical piece of infrastructure that holds salt storage capacity to maintain public safety on our roads during the winter months. A recent structural evaluation determined that the North Side Salt Tank has reached the end of its life and is no longer safe to operate.

Existing salt dome structure on tank
Existing salt dome structure


  • Existing tank was built in 1928 as a water tank at the 25th Street site, the original location of the County water department.
  • The County has used the 25th Street North and Trades Center sites for salt storage and snow loading operations since the 1960s.
    • Collectively both sites provide adequate storage and efficient geographical coverage across the County.
  • The County stores 9500 tons of salt for use in the winter months. Approximately 60 percent of our storage is located on the 25th Street North site.
    • North Side Salt Tank holds 4500 tons + 1500 tons piled under an adjacent tarp.
    • Trades Center in Shirlington holds 3500 tons.

Timeline/Next Steps

The County is pursuing an aggressive schedule to replace the tank, and is exploring rezoning four parcels on the 25th Street North and Old Dominion Drive site to build the temporary structure.

  • July 16, 2018: First of two community walking tours of the 25th St N and Old Dominion Dr site. (Second tour held Aug. 7.)
  • July 18, 2018: County Board approved Request to Advertise (RTA) public hearings for the proposed rezoning; hearings expected to take place in September by the Planning Commission and the County Board.
  • Late July 2018: County staff heard from community that tree preservation and greenspace is important; updated planning to minimize tree loss and amount of area needed to be paved. Preparations begun for ordering temporary salt storage structure. Site geo-technical evaluation begun. Completed removal of salt from beneath industrial-size tarp adjacent to old tank, clearing the way for contractor to construct building pad for temporary storage structure.
  • August 2018: Based on community color preference expressed online and at the Aug. 7 site public walking tour, the interim structure’s canvas covering will be forest green, which won 22 votes online/7 in-person; tan was favored 7/4; white favored 2/2.
  • September 2018: Site preparation/clearing began the week of Labor Day. The complete process involves clearing necessary trees and shrubs, grading, leveling and laying building pad for the temporary structure. A County Urban Forester was on-site to assist with protection measures around trees designated for preservation to maximize their chance of survival. The project Board Report, posted the week of Labor Day, includes a recommendation to rezone a smaller area to P-S (Public Service) than previously contemplated during the request to advertise process. Staff is finalizing the scope of the master planning process for the 7.5-acre site, with the Board to be briefed at its September meeting.
  • At a public hearing, the Planning Commission on Sept. 13 endorsed the staff-recommended rezoning for the interim salt storage site. The panel voted 10-0 to endorse rezoning for Board action on Sept. 22, and voted 9-0 (with one abstention) to report a “2232 finding” that the interim structure is consistent with the County’s Comprehensive Plan. On Sept. 22, the County Board unanimously approved the proposed rezoning of parcels on the Old Dominion Drive site and in separate action unanimously adopted a charge for a master planning of the entire 7.6 acre site.
  • Tree and vegetation removed from new pad area.
  • October 2018: Site excavation followed by backfill of crushed stone completed Oct. 5. Asphalt work completed Oct. 10, to be followed by setting up of foundation blocks. Structure components delivered the week of Oct. 22.
  • November 2018: Steel trusses in place Nov. 1. Temporary structure is completed Nov. 12. Transfer of salt from existing old tank begins Nov. 16, to be followed by deliveries of new inventory from off-site.
  • Three new lights on poles to be installed on Old Dominion Drive along the current site entrances; another light on pole to be installed along 25th Road North, where the existing tank is located; and a light to be installed on the new interim storage structure. The lights are “cobra-head down” style and will be used only when there is activity at the site, such as during a storm operation.
  • January 2019: Old tank demolished and removed from site.

What about the redevelopment of the 26th Street North and Old Dominion Drive site?

On Sept. 22, 2018, the Arlington County Board unanimously adopted a charge for a master planning task force for the entire 7.6 acre site. The County remains committed to a long-term engagement process for the site redevelopment of Old Dominion Drive. The separate, long-term planning process will include a permanent salt storage structure for the site.