Public Works and Environmental Services

Fairfax County, Virginia



Our office is open 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

703-324-5033 | TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway
Suite 448 Fairfax, VA 22035

James Patteson, Director

Public works and environmental services


The Department of Public Works and Environmental Services builds and maintains safe, reliable infrastructure that improves public health and provides a high quality of life for residents. The department’s four business areas – Solid Waste Management, Capital Facilities, Wastewater Management, and Stormwater Management – work together to create and preserve sustainable communities.

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News Stories

John Palmer

October 17, 2018
The Fairfax County Tree Commission will honor the late John Palmer with a 2018 Friends of Trees award on October 23 for his contributions to enhancing the natural environment. John’s work on stream restorations, stormwater management and community planting projects will benefit the community for many years to come. John was a Landscape Architect in the Stormwater Planning Division, Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, for more than five years. “In addition to being well respected and seen as a go-to person for his extensive knowledge of plants and landscaping,” said Stormwater Planning Director Craig Carinci, “John had an uncanny ability to develop and successfully implement solutions to the amazement and satisfaction of his customers.” Keith Cline, Director, Urban Forest Management Division, nominated John for the award. “It was my privilege to work with John on tree and landscape projects here in the county,” Keith said. “John will be remembered most by his peers, and everyone he came into contact with through his public service, for his humor, smile and friendship. And, John was truly a friend of trees in the county. John helped make our world a better place.” Some of the projects on which John worked are: John worked with the community and homeowners to protect and restore the tree canopy along Dead Run at the McLean Central Park stream restoration project. He was successful in working with property owners to plant trees within their maintained grass lawns adjacent to the stream. His efforts will help protect the stream from future erosion and enhance the water quality and habitat functions of the forested community. John was instrumental in working with the Sisters at the Dominican Retreat in McLean to help acquire a floodplain and storm drainage easement to allow the Dead Run stream restoration project to move forward. The mature forest is protected and the stream corridor restored for the community and future generations to enjoy. John formed many collaborative relationships with nurseries and landscape contractors to improve specifications, design and success of the plants that were installed. He designed and implemented sustainable shoreline restoration plantings for the Pohick Creek restoration projects. John worked directly with the Oakton Library staff and Master Gardeners Club to design and plant the bioretention facility that was installed in collaboration with the library renovation project. John went above and beyond to coordinate with the club, provide tools and used his own time to watch over and water the garden to make sure it would succeed.

Rendering of Liberty

October 9, 2018
On September 26, 2018, Fairfax County and the team of Elm Street Development and The Alexander Company completed the real estate closing on the second phase of the Laurel Hill Adaptive Reuse project. The agreement continues the work that began in late 2015 to redevelop the historic core of the former Lorton Reformatory into a vibrant mixed-use community. Phase 2 work includes the adaptive reuse of the penitentiary and guard quarters, the creation of 74 more townhouse lots, and the improvement of Snowden Ashford Road. The addition of new retail buildings and the intersection connection to White Spruce Way will be constructed as part of Phase 2B. Alexander Company will add six more apartment units to their Liberty Crest Apartments, bringing the total to 171. The county is contributing $4,715,000 for new infrastructure, to include storm sewer, stormwater management, sanitary sewer, water, roads and sidewalks, power, phone and cable, landscaping, street lighting, and signs. The real estate closing conveyed a portion of the property to the developer in fee simple for the construction and development of the for-sale residential lots. The closing also included a long term ground lease of the buildings identified in the Phase 2 redevelopment by the county to the developer for the renovation and the adaptive reuse of these buildings. Finally, the closing triggered the start of Phase 2 construction that includes the public infrastructure scoped and renovations for the adaptive reuse of the buildings. Construction for Phase 2 is scheduled to start in October 2018, with substantial completion projected for December 2019. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the master development agreement for the project on July 29, 2014. The estimated $188 million project is a public-private partnership between Fairfax County, The Alexander Company of Madison, Wisconsin, and McLean-based developer Elm Street Development. The county is contributing $12.8 million toward the share of public infrastructure design and construction, and the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services is overseeing the public infrastructure construction activities. The county extended use of the property to the developers by way of a 99-year ground lease for the historic properties and fee-simple transfer for the areas being developed with new construction. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in May 2017, to mark completion of Phase 1, aka Liberty, which consists of 165 multifamily apartments, 83 new townhomes, 24 new single-family homes, community spaces, a clubhouse, swimming pool, fitness center, and 138,000 square feet of commercial space.   The Liberty Green, the prison’s former baseball field, is already being used for community events, such as yoga sessions, a turkey trot, and the Fall Movie Nights series.

Crushed glass is visible in this repaired section of road

October 4, 2018
Crushed glass is visible in this repaired section of road. Recent wet weather is a reminder of the destructive power of water and the associated costs of road maintenance and repairs. Water infiltrates voids between traditional stone road bases beneath asphalt surfaces, compromising the substructure and creating potholes. A new pilot project at Fairfax County’s I-95 landfill complex is testing the viability of using a mix of recycled materials to construct and repair failing roads as part of the county’s overall push to deploy Smart Cities technologies. The county has partnered with the Virginia Department of Transportation to test Matrix Materials’ proprietary blending and construction technique. The project will study the mix’s durability and performance throughout the life cycle of the road. The Virginia Transportation Research Council, a partnership between VDOT and the University of Virginia, will conduct material performance tests. If the pilot project is successful, the technique could be adopted for transportation projects statewide in the future. This pilot follows a Smart Cities Readiness Workshop held this spring in partnership with the Smart Cities Council. The event was designed to help the county advance its smart cities efforts that are a direct outgrowth of the county’s strategic plan to grow and diversify its economy.  “This pilot is just one of many projects that Fairfax County is undertaking in our effort to become a ‘smart community,’” said Robert Stalzer, deputy county executive. “We are working to incorporate innovative new technologies into other infrastructure, like smart streetlights, smart roads and autonomous and connected vehicles.” Matrix Materials has successfully constructed roads, railways, airport aprons, and bike paths in Australia, using repurposed waste aggregates and other solid wastes from the construction, municipal, chemical, utility and mining industries. The company’s patented process includes materials selection, blending, and construction techniques to build roadbeds with enhanced structural strength. The pilot project is replacing an approximately 200-yard length of failing roadway at the landfill complex. The road, which was scheduled for repair, is an ideal location to test new materials because the road is on county-owned property and on-site groundwater monitoring and controls are already in place, and the road is traversed daily by heavy dump trucks, excavators, and loaders. Old asphalt is removed before a mix of recycled materials is used to repair the road. Two material blends are being tested:  a 40/60 mix of ash and crushed glass, and a 25/75 mix of ash and recycled concrete. Staff from the Solid Waste Management Program are installing the road mix with guidance from Matrix Materials. Approximately 400-500 tons of recycled material are being used to fill 2,000 square yards of roadway. The goal of the project is to: reduce the use of natural resources; reduce material, construction, maintenance, and landfill disposal costs; reduce the facility’s carbon footprint; and to explore more environmentally sustainable transportation construction options.  "The Matrix Materials design philosophy resonates well with VDOT's goal to optimize performance and cost-effectiveness, while minimizing consumption of traditional raw materials,” said Kevin McGhee, associate director of research – pavements, Virginia Transportation Research Council. “Through the pilot project with Fairfax County we look forward to exploring how these concepts may use a variety of traditional waste materials to produce high-performing pavements in an environmentally friendly manner." Feedstock material is readily available at the I-95 landfill complex. The facility stopped accepting municipal solid waste in 1995, and now only disposes of ash generated from the adjacent waste-to-energy plant and ash from the combustion of solids at the county’s wastewater treatment plant. The glass-crushing machine can process 20 tons per hour, creating fine and coarse grades of construction material. Along with ash, the landfill complex has a growing stockpile of crushed glass available for paving, construction, and landscaping applications. Glass is recovered from two drop-off centers and selected private sector sources and processed on-site in a machine capable of crushing 20 tons of glass per hour. Providing the location for the pilot project aligns with the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services’ sustainability goals, as well as the county’s Smart Cities initiative to advance ongoing efforts to use innovative technology, data, and analytics to improve services. “The Board of Supervisors knows that our region’s continued economic success requires a strong commitment to growing our innovation ecosystem so that we attract and retain the workforce and industries of the 21st century,” said Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust who chairs Fairfax County’s Economic Advisory Commission. “This pilot is an example of how the county can and will work with creative partners to support development and commercialization of new products and technologies.”

Featured Video

“Planning for Success: How Collaboration and Community Engagement Yield High-Value Projects in Fairfax County”
Fairfax County’s Stormwater Management Program was featured by the Municipal Online Stormwater Training Center. MOST provides free tools for enhancing stormwater programs around the Chesapeake Bay region.

Capital Projects Summary Report

Quarterly status reports for each supervisory district