Aug. 12, 2020
Good day, and welcome to the Fairfax County News to Use podcast. Coming up, learn about Census 2020, Chinese seed packets, an award for the Noman M. Cole Jr. Pollution Control Plant, this year’s Reston Multicultural Festival, and an eviction moratorium from the Governor. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.
Fairfax County households that have not yet filled out their 2020 Census may be visited by census takers over the next few weeks as the U.S. Census Bureau begins enumeration activities nationwide. The county has already received responses from more than 76% of its residents but hopes to be near a 100% response rate before the final Census deadline of Oct. 31. The enumerators will be visiting households that have not yet responded to help collect Census information in a fast, safe and confidential way. Residents in low-response areas may also receive emails asking them to complete the 2020 Census. Census takers can be easily identified by a government ID badge that includes a photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. If you are uncertain and would like to confirm a census taker’s identity, you can call the Census Bureau at 844-330-2020 for more information. All of the enumerators will speak English; many are also bilingual. If the census taker does not speak the household’s language, the resident may request a return visit from a census taker who speaks the language. The census taker will ask you to complete your Census and will make sure your information is provided to the Census Bureau. While you are required by law to participate, the Census Bureau is also required by law to protect your answers. Your responses are used only to produce statistics. The Census Bureau does not disclose any personal information. A respondent’s personal information will never be shared with immigration enforcement agencies, like ICE; law enforcement agencies, like the FBI or police; or be used to determine eligibility for government benefits. The results from any census or survey are reported in statistical format only. If no one is home when the census taker visits, he or she will leave a notice of their visit with information about how to respond online, by phone or by mail. If you respond online or by phone today, a census taker is less likely to have to visit your home to collect your response. Households can still complete the 2020 Census online, by phone at 844-330-2020, or by completing the paper survey received in the mail.
There have been numerous media and anecdotal reports about seed packets turning up in residents’ mailboxes. If you receive an unsolicited package containing seeds that may have Chinese writing on it, please do not plant the seeds in your yard or anywhere else. According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) the types of seeds are unknown and may be an invasive plant species. The Agriculture Department would like to hear from residents who have received these unsolicited seeds and caution residents that “invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops.” Preventing their introduction to Virginia is the most effective method of reducing the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and mitigate those infestations. If you receive a package of seeds as described, call the county’s Urban Forest Management Division at 703-324-1770, or email email@example.com.
The Noman M. Cole Jr. Pollution Control Plant has been in operation, serving the Fairfax County community for 50 years, an impressive record. On Oct. 15, 1970, the county-owned wastewater treatment plant, originally known as the Lower Potomac Pollution Control Plant, went online providing secondary treatment that removed sediments, some nutrients, and oxygen demand with a capacity of 18 million gallons a day. Now, 50 years later, through continual improvements and pollution prevention efforts, the plant is a 67 million gallons a day wastewater treatment plant that uses advanced treatment technologies to reclaim water prior to its discharge into Pohick Creek. The plant is a 300-acre site with more than $500 million in treatment facilities that serves about 500,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the southern half of Fairfax County. The plant successfully operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The plant also has been awarded the National Association of Clean Water Agencies Platinum 21 Peak Performance Award. To learn more about the plant and what it does, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov and search "Noman M. Cole."
Due to public health concerns, Reston Community Center is canceling the 2020 Reston Multicultural Festival scheduled for Sept. 26. The annual event brings thousands of people together to honor the community’s diversity, and the vision that Reston founder Robert E. Simon had for Reston through performing arts, food, visual arts, a naturalization ceremony and much more. RCC will continue its multicultural programming this summer and fall through smaller socially distanced events such as Take a Break Concerts (Thursdays at Lake Anne), Summerbration Fab Fridays (Fridays at Reston Station), Equity Matters movie screenings at the CenterStage, Professional Touring Artist Series performances, and robust performing and visual arts programming on RCC’s YouTube channel. These events will be of much shorter duration and have controlled seating, required safety measures and ongoing monitoring for safety to determine if they proceed or not. visit www.reston community center.com for more information about all RCC events and performances throughout the coming months. Reston Community Center has presented the Reston Multicultural Festival since 2000.
Governor Northam announced a temporary statewide moratorium on eviction proceedings through Sept. 7. This ruling is a critical step in keeping Virginian families in their homes. Fairfax County is also working with local landlords to launch a housing stability pledge for residents who demonstrate a significant financial impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more on the emergency information blog at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/blog. And for help with utility, housing or food assistance, call Fairfax County’s Coordinated Services Planning at 703-222-0880.
Finally, find other county podcasts at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/podcasts. And for 24/7 news and information from and about Fairfax County, listen to Fairfax County Government Radio online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/radio.
That’s all for this News to Use podcast. Thanks for listening. For more information about the topics in this podcast and for news updates, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news. You also may call 703-FAIRFAX, that’s 703-324-7329, weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or email firstname.lastname@example.org. News to Use is produced by the Fairfax County, Va., Government.