Public Works and Environmental Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our administrative offices are open to the public by appointment only at this time. Please call or email 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway
Suite 448 Fairfax, VA 22035

Sharon North,
Public Information Officer


Update To Temporary Change to Separate Yard Waste Collection Requirements

October 7, 2021
Due to ongoing labor shortages, you may be experiencing delays in the collection of yard waste. As a temporary measure to address this issue, residents who have small amounts of yard waste should place it in the container with their trash as space allows. Yard waste that does not fit in with trash should be set out separately. Yard waste may not be collected on regular collection days, so…

DPWES Business Areas and Employees Recognized with Certificates and Appointments

August 20, 2021
FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. - It has been a week filled with acknowledgements and recognition for the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES). The Solid Waste Management Program (SWMP) received a letter and certificate from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) approving its acceptance as a Virginia Environmental Excellence Program Sustainability Partner (VEEP SP)…

August is National Water Quality Month

August 20, 2021
Fairfax County, Va. – National Water Quality Month is celebrated annually with regional Northern Virginia partners to acknowledge this is the perfect time to learn how important water is to people world-wide. It is also an opportunity to educate residents, partners and ourselves about the importance of clean, fresh water.

Fairfax County Installing Pipe Liners that Involve No Excavation and Reduce Emissions

August 5, 2021
New sewer pipe liners are being installed in areas of the county since the Wastewater Collection Division (WCD) of the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) has resumed full operations of its Sewer Rehabilitation Program.

Lake Accotink Dredging Public Meetings and Comment Option for Residents

July 27, 2021
Two meetings are planned to gather public input and present the alternative analysis report to residents regarding the Lake Accotink Dredging Project.

Herrington Begins as Department of Public Works and Environmental Services Director

July 21, 2021
Christopher S. Herrington began his appointment as director of the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) on Monday, July 12. He succeeds Randy Bartlett, who retired last month.

Floodplain Management Plan Progress Report 2021 Available

July 19, 2021
The Floodplain Management Plan Progress Report, July 2021 is available to the public and media. The progress report is part of the Northern Virginia Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan and is published annually by the staff of the Stormwater Planning Division, Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Fairfax County.

Friends of Trees / Tree Preservation Awards – Nominations Open July 1, 2021

July 1, 2021
Fairfax County, VA – If you have demonstrated outstanding conservation-based actions in preserving, protecting or planting trees, you may be eligible for an award from the Tree Commission.

Fairfax County Farmers Market Composting Pilot Program Expanding to Several Farmers Markets

June 22, 2021
Fairfax County, Va. – County residents interested in composting food scraps will now have several additional convenient drop-off locations. The Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) and the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) have been working together to get the Farmers Market Composting pilot program expanded.

Community Meetings Original Mt. Vernon High School Renovation

June 22, 2021
Fairfax County, VA - Community meetings are planned for Thursday, June 24, 2021 and Monday, June 28 to provide updates on the Original Mount Vernon High School Renovation and Adaptive Reuse Project.

NACo and BUBBA Awards Presented to the Department of Public works and Environmental Services

June 1, 2021
Fairfax County, Va. – The National Association of Counties (NACo) has presented the Watershed Education and Outreach (WEO) program with the 2021 Achievement Award for its program “ECO Video Series” in the Children and Youth category. WEO employees, in collaboration with Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), developed the group of video-learning materials on stream ecology and water quality. WEO is…

So-Called Flushable Wipes Aren’t Flushable

May 25, 2021
Fairfax County, VA – Protect your pipes – Don’t flush wipes. The wipes being used for cleaning, including the so-called “flushable’ wipes are not flushable. Unlike toilet paper, they do not break down. Put used wipes in the trash.

Early Season Guidance for Draining Swimming Pools

May 12, 2021
Draining swimming pool water incorrectly may harm aquatic life, flood neighboring properties and violate the Stormwater Management Ordinance of the Fairfax County Code. This includes drainage from above ground pools.

Fairfax County Seeks Requests for Expressions of Interest (RFI) at Workhouse Campus

April 14, 2021
The county seeks to explore the lease potential of two vacant and underutilized buildings known as W13 and W15 on the 50-acre Workhouse Campus located at 9514 and 9517 Workhouse Way, Lorton, VA. The two buildings, at 4,500 square feet each, will be renovated and available for tenant fit out in the fall of 2021. The site between the structures will also be improved with dining plazas and native…

Department of Public Works and Environmental Services Installs Flare Crowns to Protect Birds Near I-66 Transfer Station

April 13, 2021
It is normal to see birds searching for food near a solid waste transfer station or landfill.  Unfortunately, some of the critical environmental infrastructure at these facilities can be hazardous for our feathered friends. Landfill gas flares are one such hazard for avian wildlife. To help protect the birds and prevent any injury, DPWES Solid Waste Management Program (SWMP) recently installed two…

Controlling and Managing Invasive Plants

April 7, 2021
Invasive plants are those that are not native to Fairfax County or Northern Virginia. They are brought into the area intentionally or unintentionally. These plants are characterized by unrestrained growth due to a lack of natural enemies such as pests and predators. Methods for controlling and managing invasive plants can be physical, cultural, or chemical.

Treating Our Trees

April 1, 2021
FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va - Now that County residents are getting out and about a bit more, they are likely to see crews from Urban Forest Management Division (UFMD) providing some very specialized services on our trees.

Fairfax County’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services and Health Department Team up to Educate Employees about COVID

March 26, 2021
Fairfax County, Va. – A series of employee forums designed to educate and inform Department of Public Works and Environmental Services employees (DPWES) are being facilitated by DPWES and the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) so workers can make informed decisions ahead of getting vaccinated, or choosing not to, as well as learning about prevention measures and how to access information if…

Cicadas Hatching Late April – Early May

March 23, 2021
The 17-year, periodical cicadas are coming to Fairfax County in early summer. When the soil temperature warms to about 65 degrees Fahrenheit, the newly mature, soil-dwelling cicadas will begin to emerge from their underground homes, leaving an emergence hole about the size of a dime.

County Leaders Approve Elimination of Plastic Bags for Yard Waste

February 26, 2021
Joining several neighboring communities in the D.C. Metro Area that have banned the use of plastic bags for yard waste, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday amended the county’s Solid Waste Management ordinance, which now prohibits the use of plastic bags for set out and collection of yard waste.

Department of Public Works and Environmental Services Leads APWA Awards with Wins in 8 Major Categories

February 9, 2021
The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) has announced the winners of its annual Mid-Atlantic Region awards and Fairfax County’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) is bringing home eight of them, five for Project of the Year and three honorable mentions.

North Named New Section Chief, Info Officer, Public Works

December 31, 2020
Sharon North has accepted the position of Section Chief/Information Officer III with the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services. She previously held the position of Public Information Manager with the City of Richmond, VA, Department of Public Works.

American Public Works Association Re-Accredits Fairfax County Public Works

December 18, 2020
The Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) was notified by the American Public Works Association (APWA) that the Department has achieved reaccreditation as of December 14, 2020.

Keeping Wastewater Equipment Up to Date

December 8, 2020
Fairfax County has sixty-three wastewater pump stations that require collaboration among mechanics, electricians and instrumentation employees to achieve the optimal conveyance of wastewater and to protect wastewater infrastructure. A pump station, in conjunction with gravity sewer pipes, helps move wastewater from homes and businesses to a wastewater treatment plant.

Food Scraps Composting Program to Begin and a Glass Monster Event

November 6, 2020
The Fairfax County Solid Waste Management Program (SWMP) invites the public to two ribbon cutting events to launch a new pilot program that encourages food scraps to be dropped off for composting. The public is also invited to attend an educational event featuring environmental education displays and information including the Glass Monster. The public is invited to attend the following in-person…

Trouble Response Center Always Ready 24/7/365

October 6, 2020
When a toilet or sink backs up into your home or there is sewer water overflowing into your yard or street, you want help fast. The Wastewater Management Trouble Response Center (TRC) is ready to help 24 hours a day – just call the hotline at (703) 323-1211, TTY 711.

Infrastructure Week Quality of Water = Quality of Life

September 17, 2020
Fairfax County’s award-winning Wastewater Management Program is celebrating Infrastructure Week from September 14 - 18, 2020. For more than 50 years, dedicated wastewater program employees have successfully operated, maintained, repaired and restored the wastewater system in the county. Additionally, the system capacity has increased to meet the ongoing growth and long-term needs of residential…

Wastewater Testing Protects Residents and Environment

August 28, 2020
Fairfax County recently conducted intensive testing to develop local discharge limits for various pollutants entering the publicly owned treatment works (the Noman M. Cole, Jr., Pollution Control Plant) that has been in operation since October 1970. The results of this testing are used to limit the introduction of harmful chemicals and substances into the sewer system that may damage the integrity…

Wastewater Program Wins Utility of the Future Award

August 27, 2020
The Fairfax County Wastewater Management Program won the 2020 Utility of the Future award given annually by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA). The recognition is based on the adoption of the seven Utility of the Future principles and the County’s commitment to protect public health by providing sustainable, efficient services.

Orange Striped Oakworm

August 27, 2020
This caterpillar is black and hairless with eight narrow orange or yellow stripes on its back. It is among the caterpillar look-a-likes that are common to Fairfax County, often mistaken for the gypsy moth, and is a native pest that usually does not pose a threat to trees in Fairfax County.

The Fall Webworm in Fairfax County

August 27, 2020
Over the past week we have received an increase in calls to the Urban Forest Management Division from residents who are concerned about large webby tents in tree branches. These webs are caused by fall webworm.

August is Tree Check Month

August 11, 2020
Staff of the Urban Forest Management Division (UFMD) would like residents to keep an eye out for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in their yards and when visiting county or state parks. Looking for ALB could be a fun game to be played with children who have been staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Celebrating 50 Years of Service to Public and Environment

July 29, 2020
The Noman M. Cole Jr. Pollution Control Plant (NCPCP) has been in operation, serving the Fairfax County community for 50 years, an impressive record.

Spotted Lantern Fly Webinar for Public and Professionals

July 14, 2020
Fairfax County urban foresters and the Virginia Cooperative Extension invite the public and tree care and landscaping professionals to attend a webinar about the spotted lanternfly on Friday, July 17, 2020 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Destructive Tree Pest Kills Trees

June 23, 2020
The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) is an invasive, exotic insect that most likely arrived in the United States on packing material from Asia. It is one of the most destructive insects known to exist in several areas of the country but not in Fairfax County yet.

Local Sycamore Trees Affected by Anthracnose

June 8, 2020
A fungal disease called anthracnose is attacking local sycamore trees. Residents may see what look to be dead trees in the midst of spring greenery.

Contest to Thank Waste and Recycling Workers Starts June 14

May 28, 2020
In a normal year, collecting trash and recycling is the fifth most dangerous occupation. The men and women who keep our neighborhoods clean operate heavy machinery, work among distracted drivers in busy streets, and haul away our waste in the rain, summer heat, and snow. In 2020, the global pandemic has made their essential jobs even more difficult and dangerous.

At-Home Version of Popular Stream Critter Cube Lab Now Available

May 21, 2020
With school-aged children out of the classroom, Fairfax County ecologists within the Watershed Education and Outreach (WEO) section of the Stormwater Planning Division have had to get creative. In an effort to continue to inspire students to become environmental stewards and connect them to their local watershed, ecologists have converted their award-winning Stream Critter Cub Lab into a free…

Floating Litter Trap Installed in Little Hunting Creek

May 12, 2020
To support efforts to reduce litter in Little Hunting Creek, and as part of the county’s larger efforts to control litter, this creek was selected as the location for a new floating trash trap, pilot program launched by the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services.

Virtual Meeting to Gather Input on Judicial Complex Master Plan (Massey Complex) Slated for May 28

May 1, 2020
The Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services is leading the effort to create a plan for future redevelopment of the Fairfax County Judicial Complex.

Urban Foresters Save Ash Trees in Fairfax County

April 30, 2020
Ash trees are native to Fairfax County and have been planted widely throughout North America. The picturesque ash (Fraxinus sp.) lines streets, beautifies yards, provides food and habitat for pollinators and other wildlife and is glorious to see in the fall.

Composting at Home During COVID-19 Pandemic

April 29, 2020
Fairfax County temporarily eliminated yard waste pickup to protect solid waste employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. “This means residents may have yard waste materials readily available for composting, and with more people having their meals at home, it’s a perfect time to start composting food waste,” McCoy said.

Options for Safe Medication Disposal During COVID-19 Pandemic

April 21, 2020
The Operation Medicine Cabinet Cleanout scheduled for this Saturday, April 25, 2020, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 virus.

Keeping Clean During Covid-19

March 24, 2020
Keeping yourself and your children clean and virus free is extremely important during the Covid-19 pandemic. Fairfax County says no matter where you live – condo, house or apartment – you can avoid a disgusting sewer backup into your home by not flushing wipes down the toilet.

Girl Scouts Jump into Water Event

March 19, 2020
In early March, 70 girl scouts visited the Noman M. Cole, Jr., Pollution Control Plant and learned about water quality and environmental stewardship at the Wonders of Water (WOW) event that is sponsored annually by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) through their Community Engagement Committee (CEC).

Sanitary Sewer Rehab Work Temporarily Scales Back

March 18, 2020
The Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services is temporarily scaling back its sanitary sewer pipe lining program. This work is normally done while residents are at work and school. Suspending work on pipes connected by private laterals in residential areas will reduce disruption to people who are at home to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Urban Wood Utilization

March 18, 2020
In the United States, urban forests have been measured at 28 million acres, not including the many trees in suburban areas and in the rural landscape. Every year, three or four billion board feet worth of urban trees are lost to storms, disease, old age or construction.

Capital Improvement Projects Recognized by Public Works Association

February 19, 2020
Five capital improvement projects managed by the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services have selected to receive recognition in the 2020 American Public Works Association Mid-Atlantic Chapter’s Project of the Year Awards program.

Fairfax County Collected 366.85 Tons of Household Hazardous Waste in 2019

February 11, 2020
Fairfax County safely disposed of 366.85 tons (733,699 pounds) of household hazardous waste (HHW) in 2019, 12.5 percent more than was collected in 2018. More than 48,600 residents participated, dropping off consumer products that are toxic, ignitable, corrosive, and/or reactive. Collecting HHW separately from other municipal waste protects the environment by keeping potentially harmful compounds…

The Hardworking Hackberry Named Urban Tree of the Year

January 30, 2020
The Hackberry tree (Celtis occidentalis), a native of the Mid-Atlantic states, including Northern Virginia, has been named the 2020 Urban Tree of the Year by the Society of Municipal Arborists (SMA).

Purple Can Club Participants Make Glass-to-Glass Recycling Possible

December 19, 2019
Starting in January 2020, North America’s largest glass recycler, Strategic Materials, will begin transporting glass from the county’s glass processing plant in Lorton, Virginia, to one of their recycling facilities.

Partners Recognized for Excellence in Building Design and Construction

December 17, 2019
The 13th Annual Awards of Excellence for Building Design and Construction ceremony was held at the Fairfax County Government Center on December 13, 2019. Awardees were recognized for their commitment to excellence and outstanding customer service to the county. View all award winners.

New Rain Garden to Replace Crumbling Fountain

December 13, 2019
A new rain garden and plaza will replace an obsolete fountain on the Fairfax County Government Center campus.

Fairfax Recycles Day Event Slated for November 15

November 6, 2019
Join employees from Fairfax County’s Solid Waste Management Program at a special recycling celebration at the Fairfax County Government Center on Friday, November 15, 2019. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., staff will hold an event marking Fairfax Recycles Day, a local event held in conjunction with Keep America Beautiful© America Recycles Day.

Wastewater Treatment Building Receives Sustainable Design Certification

November 4, 2019
A new monitoring and control building at Fairfax County’s wastewater treatment plant in Lorton, Va., has achieved the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED© Silver certification, a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement.

What are Invasive Plants?

October 31, 2019
A plant is a plant, right? Unfortunately, not all plants are universally beneficial. You may have heard of kudzu, an invasive known as the “vine that ate the south.” When plants are imported from other parts of the world, either accidentally or on purpose, they have the chance to escape into the natural environment.

County Urban Foresters Help Save Ash Trees at Sky Meadows State Park

October 10, 2019
Urban foresters were invited to participate in National Public Lands Day on Sept 28 to assist the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to identify living ash trees in Sky Meadows State Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains, near Paris, VA.

Wastewater Treatment Project Earns Sustainability Award

October 7, 2019
Replacing the disinfection system improves health and safety, protects freshwater resources, and reduces carbon footprint, chemical storage, and greenhouse gas emissions

Floodplain Management Plan Progress Report Available

October 4, 2019
The Floodplain Management Plan Progress Report 2019 is available to the public and media. The progress report is part of the Northern Virginia Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan and is published annually by the staff of the Stormwater Planning Division, Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Fairfax County.

Hidden Messages Reveal Top Source of Water Pollution

September 26, 2019
On October 8, 2019, at 9 a.m., members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and staff members from the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services will gather in front of the Government Center to unveil hidden messages created to engage residents on stormwater pollution.

Don’t Bring Bugs Back from Fall Leaf-Peeping Trips

August 27, 2019
“Whatever you may collect during your camping or Labor Day trips this fall, make sure it isn’t an invasive insect that can flourish in Fairfax County and kill trees,” said Joan Allen, Chief, Forest Pest Branch, Urban Forest Management Division (UFMD).

Managing Trees in Preservation Areas

August 27, 2019
If you own property that is near a stream, it may be part of a network of preservation areas known as Chesapeake Bay Resource Protection Areas or RPAs.  RPAs have been established around coastal areas and tributaries in Virginia to protect water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.

How to Plant a Tree Booklet Available in Six Languages

August 27, 2019
The Tree Basics booklet has been updated by county urban foresters and members of the Tree Commission and is available to the public in six languages: English; Chinese; Arabic; Korean; Spanish; and Vietnamese and may be downloaded at Fairfax County Tree Basics Booklet.

MS4 Program Wins Awards

August 14, 2019
The Water Environment Federation (WEF) honored Fairfax County through the National Municipal Stormwater and Green Infrastructure Awards Program for the second year in a row.

County Wins 2019 VACo Achievement Award

July 30, 2019
The Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) selected Fairfax County’s Stream Critter Cube Lab for a 2019 Achievement Award in the Best Large County Achievement category. This new lab was created by employees of the Watershed Education and Outreach Section, Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES), for use in Fairfax County Public Schools. The awards recognize excellence in…

County Takes Steps to Mitigate Sewer Odors in Holmes Run Stream Valley

July 26, 2019
For obvious environmental and public health reasons, water used for bathing, laundry, washing dishes, cooking, flushing toilets, and industrial processes cannot be discharged into the environment before being treated. The challenge is to move wastewater safely from homes and businesses through neighborhoods to a treatment plant. This is where nutrients and pathogens are removed, and the water is…

Right Tree, Right Place

July 23, 2019
Trees provide numerous benefits to properties and the environment. Many trees can live for generations which makes the species selection process very important. When planted in an unsuitable location trees may cause problems over time.

New Approach to Outfall Restorations Saves Time and Money, Teaches New Skills

June 26, 2019
After a storm, rushing water scours stream banks and beds, undercuts banks, and aquatic critters and vegetation are buried in the sediment. An outfall is the discharge point where fast-flowing stormwater from parking lots, roads and other hard surfaces leaves the drainage system and enters a stream. The flow washes cigarette butts, beverage bottles and cans, food containers and pet waste and…

Huntington Levee Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Slated for June 15

June 6, 2019
The Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, June 15, 2019, at 10 a.m., to mark the completion of the Huntington Levee. The ceremony will be held in the new pumping station located at Huntington Park. Attendees should use the entrance drive located at the intersection of Arlington Terrace and Mount Vernon Drive.

Balancing Tree Care and Construction in the Urban Forest

June 6, 2019
Construction is a necessary part of creating a livable environment for people in and around cities. Trees provide significant benefits to the environment and enrich neighborhoods and streets. Construction of new homes and other buildings creates a disturbance which can stress, damage or kill trees. Large, mature trees and species with sensitive roots are most susceptible to construction damage.

Awards and Recognitions to Public Works and Environmental Services

May 17, 2019
A first place 2019 Best Habitat Creation Project in the Bay, a BUBBA, from the Chesapeake Stormwater Network, was awarded to Meghan Fellows, CERP, Ecological Restoration Specialist, Stormwater Planning Division, for a reforestation project at Silas Burke Park which was one of five planting sites under this program. A BUBBA award recognizes the best urban Best Management Practices (BMPs) in the…

Massey Building Demolition Set to Begin

May 9, 2019
Structural demolition work on the Massey Building tower, located in the heart of the City of Fairfax, will commence on or about May 21, 2019. (The start date is weather-dependent.) All hazmat materials, including asbestos, will be certified to be removed from the Massey Building before commencement of this demolition phase.

New Podcast, EnviroPod, To Air Monthly

May 9, 2019
The Department of Public Works and Environmental Services has a new public education tool to inform residents about county actions regarding the environment and to help residents learn what they can do to support the county’s environmental vision.

Regional Approach to Glass Recycling Leads to Creation of the Purple Can Club

April 10, 2019
Today, Fairfax County, City of Alexandria, Prince William County, and Arlington County announced a new strategic partnership to recover and recycle glass. In Northern Virginia, glass collected in curbside recycling bins is sent to recycling facilities where it eventually ends up in landfills. During the transportation process to the facility glass is broken and becomes mixed with recycling residue…

George Mason Students See Sustainability Initiatives Firsthand During Tour

April 4, 2019
At the request of George Mason University’s Environmental and Sustainability Studies program, a group of students were provided a classroom presentation and tour of Fairfax County’s I-95 landfill complex in Lorton.

Protecting Your Trees from EAB

April 1, 2019
While the trees are waking up from dormancy in the spring, the tiny emerald ash borer (EAB) beetles are beginning to emerge, primed to create a new generation of tree-killers. Spring is the perfect time, right after the trees have leafed out, to protect any ash trees that are of value while the beetles are out and flying.

Brian Keightley’s County Conversation Interview March 13, 2019

March 14, 2019
Brian Keightley, the new Director of the Urban Forest Management Division (UFMD), Public Works and Environmental Services, is a life-long resident of Fairfax County. “I remember the Gypsy Moth invasion of the 1980s which brought public attention to the need to manage tree pests and to support tree conservation efforts throughout the county,” Keightley said.

Fairfax County Collected 320 Tons of Household Hazardous Waste in 2018

March 13, 2019
Fairfax County safely disposed of 320 tons (641,951 pounds) of household hazardous waste in 2018. This waste consists of consumer products that are toxic, ignitable, corrosive, and/or reactive. Collecting and disposing of HHW separately from other municipal waste protects collection workers and protects the environment by keeping potentially harmful compounds out of landfills.

Enhanced Maintenance Program Revitalizes Aging Commercial Districts

March 12, 2019
Much like someone who tidies up his or her property before putting it on the market, Fairfax County is making an effort to improve the curb appeal in five designated community revitalization districts, or CRDs. These mature commercial areas – Annandale, Bailey’s Crossroads/Seven Corners, McLean, Richmond Highway Corridor, and Springfield – are located in densely populated areas, are accessible by…

John Marshall Library Earns Project of the Year Honors

March 7, 2019
The John Marshall Library renovation and expansion project has been selected to receive the 2019 American Public Works Association Mid-Atlantic Chapter’s Project of the Year Award in the category of “Structures $5 Million, but less than $25 Million.” The project has also been endorsed by the chapter and submitted for consideration in APWA’s national awards program. An awards ceremony will be held…

Chestnut Tree Blight and Restoration

February 28, 2019
Very few people remember mature American chestnut trees, but before the introduction of a disease called chestnut blight, approximately 25 percent of the trees in eastern North American forests were American chestnuts. The trees grew fast and large and produced tons of valuable fruits. They provided food for wildlife, livestock and people and were an important part of the economy, particularly…

TLC (Tree-Loving Care) Using the Tree Fund

February 26, 2019
When viable tree planting sites are identified on county properties, homeowner association common open space or for projects managed by non-profits, Fairfax County’s Tree Preservation and Planting Fund administered by the Urban Forest Management Division (UFMD) can be used to help cover the costs of materials and supplies.

Learning and Earning: Water and Badges

February 21, 2019
On Jan 25, 2019, Boy and Girl Scouts toured Fairfax County’s Noman M. Cole, Jr. Pollution Control Plant, learned how wastewater is cleaned, and earned some badges. The Scouts walked through the tunnels under the treatment plant where they asked questions about how wastewater travels from their homes to the plant. They saw the primary and secondary treatment processes, talked to chemists in the…

Fairfax County Uses Crushed Glass in Construction Project for First Time

February 15, 2019
Sanitary sewer replacement projects rarely make headline news. Digging up, repairing, and replacing aging pipes is just part of wastewater infrastructure’s life cycle. It happens all the time, and usually in places well away from public view. But when a project embraces sustainable practices and the idea of a circular economy and finds a constructive use for a waste product, it is worth…

Haycock Elementary Students Become Citizen Scientists

February 1, 2019
Students investigate the buildup of floatable trash or litter in and around a stream near their school through the Citizen Scientist Floatable Monitoring Program, a watershed education outreach effort by ecologists in the Stormwater Planning Division.

Urban Soil Health

January 28, 2019
The soil is an often forgotten part of the ecosystem but is extremely important, especially for trees. Components of soil are minerals (sand, silt and clay), air, water and carbon (organic matter). Healthy soils are also teeming with life, most of which is microscopic (fungi, bacteria and nematodes). For example, many tree species rely on soil fungi called mycorrhizae which help them take up water…

Public Works Projects Build Resiliency Along Backlick Run

January 24, 2019
2018 was Northern Virginia’s wettest year on record since 1889, and was a soggy reminder that Fairfax County is susceptible to more frequent heavy rainstorms. With more than 800 miles of streams in Fairfax County, residents living near these waterways endured flooding and witnessed the resulting erosion of public and private property.

LED Bulbs Accepted at Fairfax County Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites

January 11, 2019
Light-emitting diode bulbs are not accepted in curbside recycling bins; however, Fairfax County residents may bring LEDs to the county’s two household hazardous waste drop-off areas for recycling. The drop-off areas are located at the I-66 transfer station in Fairfax and the I-95 landfill complex in Lorton. LEDs are accepted free of charge.

Invasive Insects Kill Hemlock Trees

January 7, 2019
In the 1950’s a particularly nasty invasive insect called the hemlock wooly adelgid (HWA) arrived in the U.S. on infested ornamental hemlock trees. This insect feeds on the sap of hemlock trees (Tsuga sp.). The American species (Eastern and Carolina hemlocks) have no defense against this invasive pest and will eventually die. Hemlocks are slow growing and very long lived trees and have been nearly…

Collaborative Wastewater Project Delivers Relief to Piney Run Residents

December 21, 2018

Piney Run Drive is a quiet, wooded cul-de-sac in the Alexandria area of southern Fairfax County, Va., located off Old Telegraph Road, just north of Fort Belvoir. The road is lined with lush ferns and tangles of vines, and some yards are enclosed with wooden split-rail fences. The canopy of mature trees forms a tunnel over the narrow asphalt road, providing cooling shade during hot…

Ecologist Discusses Stream Restoration at Water Monitoring Conference

December 14, 2018
On Friday, December 7, ecologist Chris Ruck, Stormwater Planning Division, presented at the Maryland Water Monitoring Council Conference in Linthicum, Maryland. The theme of the conference was "Science, Stewardship and Citizen Involvement – Working Together for Clean Water." Attendees included water quality monitoring experts, stream restoration professionals, non-profits, educators, and students.

Circular Economy Explored on Landfill Complex Tour

December 11, 2018

On Friday, November 16, a group from The World Resources Institute’s Washington, D.C. office toured the I-95 landfill complex in Lorton, Va. Environmental compliance specialist Erin Abrahams led the tour, which focused on the general operations of the solid…

Original Mount Vernon High School Receives $50K Donation for Playground Equipment

December 10, 2018

On Friday, November 30, 2018, the National Association of Counties Foundation for the Improvement of Public Services and the U.S. Communities Foundation presented a check to Fairfax County in the amount of $50,000. The money is designated for future playground equipment to be built when the Original Mount Vernon High School site is renovated.

A master development…

Brian Keightley Appointed New Urban Forestry Director

December 6, 2018

Brian Keightley is the new Urban Forest Management Division Director, Department of Public Works and Environmental Services. Former and soon-to-retire division director Keith Cline and Keightley are working together for a smooth transition.

“Brian is an outstanding addition to the Urban Forest Management Division and to Fairfax County leadership,” Cline said. “I look forward to…

Holiday Tips for a Waste-free Party

December 5, 2018

It is that time of year again! Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone and now it is time to spread some holiday cheer in the form of work parties, family gatherings, and the promise of a happy New Year! And while consumerism typically reigns during the holidays, there are some great strategies for reducing waste you can apply when planning your next…

Freshwater Ecologist Presents to 600 Elementary School Students

December 5, 2018

On Friday, November 30, 2018, freshwater ecologist Danielle Wynne spoke to more than 600 students at two assemblies at Rose Hill Elementary School in Alexandria. Wynne,wholeads theWatershed Education and Outreach section within the Stormwater Planning Division of Fairfax County's Department of Public Works and Environmental Services,introduced the students to what it means to be…

Urban Forester Helps Students Plant Native Trees

November 27, 2018

Students, teachers, urban foresters and other volunteers planted10 native trees at Mantua Elementary School in early November. “I found it magical to have ten, tall, beautiful, native trees in the play yard at the end of the day where before there had been none,” said Michele Sullivan, fifth grade teacher, Fairfax County Public Schools. “As a teacher, it was fun to watch the kids…

Living Trees Extend Holiday Cheer Year-Round

November 27, 2018

This holiday season, consider decorating your home with a living tree that you can later plant in your yard to enjoy for many years to come. Simply leave the tree’s roots balled or covered in burlap, and place the tree in a container. Before moving the tree inside, allow the tree to adjust to cooler temperatures by storing it in an unheated garage or shed for a few days. Do this again when it’s…

Adult Students Tour Trash and Recycling Facilities

November 21, 2018

In late October, approximately 20 adults from George Mason University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute toured Fairfax County’s trash and recycling processing facilities at the I-66 transfer station in Fairfax and the I-95 landfill complex in Lorton. OLLI is an educational and social organization of more than 1,200 retirees living in the area.

The tour began with an explanation of…

Volunteers Install Nearly 700 Native Plants

November 16, 2018

A pollinator meadow planting event was held at the Alban Road vehicle maintenance facility in Springfield on Saturday, November 10. More than 30 volunteers from the Department of Vehicle Services (DVS), George Mason University’s Engineers for International Development program, and Friends of Accotink Creek helped install native plants.

"Thank you to our partners in DVS,…

New Department of Public Works and Environmental Services Director Announced

October 30, 2018

At its meeting on Tuesday, October 30, 2018, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors appointed Randy Bartlett to lead the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services. A national search was conducted to fill the position held since 2009 by retiring director James Patteson. Bartlett has served as deputy director of DPWES since December 2005, overseeing the Stormwater and Wastewater…

Two Public Works Employees Recognized for Environmental Excellence

October 18, 2018

At a ceremony scheduled for the evening of Tuesday, October 23, 2018, two employees from the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services will receive Fairfax County Environmental Excellence Awards. The Fairfax County Environmental Quality Advisory Council…

John Palmer Wins Friends of Trees Award

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,…

Phase 2 of Laurel Hill Adaptive Reuse Project Set to Begin

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…

Smart Cities Pilot Project Tests Recycled Materials For Use In Road Repairs

October 4, 2018

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…

Fairfax County MS4 Program Receives Gold and Silver Level Awards

October 2, 2018

The MS4 Program has been awarded a Gold Level in Program Management and a Silver Level in Innovation by the not-for-profit Water Environment Federation (WEF) of Alexandria, VA, in the National Municipal Stormwater and Green Infrastructure Awards Program. These levels were selected based on rigorous review and discussion among the WEF work team and provides a comparative bench-marking level…

Fairfax Connector Reston-Herndon Bus Operations Facility Renovations

September 6, 2018

The project to renovate the Fairfax Connector Reston-Herndon Bus Operating Facility, located at 268 Spring Street, Herndon, Va., was substantially completed on July 27, 2018. The $12,633,300 project was undertaken to improve the efficiency of the facility where 80 Fairfax Connector buses are maintained and repaired. To allow operations to continue uninterrupted, the building was renovated…

Fairfax County Public Safety Headquarters Achieves LEED Gold

July 16, 2018

On June 28, 2018, the Fairfax County Public Safety Headquarters located at 12099 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Va., achieved LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Certified buildings are resource efficient and less expensive to heat, cool, and maintain. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)…

Polluted Runoff is a Leading Cause of Water Pollution

June 26, 2018

In Fairfax County and other areas of the country, polluted stormwater runoff is a leading cause of water pollution. The county drainage system is designed to convey stormwater, rain and snowmelt, from the land to lakes, rivers, streams and ponds. Stormwater is not conveyed to a water treatment plant.

Stormwater from streets, yards and parking lots may carry chemicals, bacteria and…

Fairfax County Celebrates Sixth Annual National Garbage Man Day

June 4, 2018

Fairfax County’s Solid Waste Management Program is celebrating the sixth annual National Garbage Man Day during the week of June 17 to 24. Trash collection is hard, physical work and it’s…

Public Works Week Picnic Targets Zero Waste

May 30, 2018

At its annual Public Works Week picnic on May 23, 2018, Fairfax County’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services collected 120 pounds of compostable materials, or about one-third of the event’s overall waste. The other…

Fairfax County Wastewater Treatment Plant Achieves 100 Percent Permit Compliance for Twentieth Consecutive Year

May 25, 2018

Fairfax County’s wastewater treatment plant achieved perfect compliance with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit in 2017. This marks the 20th consecutive year the Noman M. Cole, Jr. Pollution Control Plant in Lorton, Va., has earned the Platinum Peak Performance Award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.

NACWA’s Peak Performance…

Students and Teachers See Wastewater Treatment Benefits on Chesapeake Bay Foundation Boat Trip

May 11, 2018

During the week of April 16, forty-two high school students, 60 elementary school students, and 25 middle school teachers boarded the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's research workboat, the Bea Hayman Clark, for an educational experience they won't soon forget.

Throughout the day, students discussed watersheds, performed water quality testing, conducted plankton studies, and trawled for…

Fairfax County Earns National Achievement Award for “Revitalize, Restore, Replant”

May 10, 2018

Fairfax County, Virginia, has been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.

NACo recognized “...

South County HS Marketing Students Pitch Big Ideas in Buzz Tank

May 9, 2018

The I-95 landfill complex is sitting on a goldmine, liquid gold, that is, as in pure honey. At least that’s the case South County High School students in Ms. Kellen Scott’s marketing class are making.

The complex has ...

Environmental Stewardship Takes Root at Elementary School Tree Planting Event

April 30, 2018

Fairfax County’s Urban Forest Management Division continued its tree planting program last week in partnership with Fairfax County Public Schools. UFMD staff Linda Barfield and Hugh Whitehead and Mark Moseley, STEAM Resource Teacher and Get2Green Advisor at Dogwood Elementary School, were…

New Fairfax County Wastewater Management Report Available

April 4, 2018

Fairfax County’s Wastewater Management Program has published a new report titled “Sustaining the Environment and Protecting Public Health.” The publication explains the program’s efforts to protect, restore, and…

Fairfax County Earns Tree City USA Designation for 35th Consecutive Year

March 19, 2018

Fairfax County has earned the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA designation for the 35th consecutive year. Each year since its inception in 1976, thousands of urban foresters across the country submit applications to be considered to receive this cherished designation. The accomplishment will be celebrated during a brief ceremony at the county’s Earth Day event, Springfest Fairfax, on…

Urban Foresters Protect Hemlock Trees Against Invasive Insect

March 16, 2018

Urban foresters have been out surveying and treating trees at Hemlock Overlook, near the Occoquan River in the southern part of the county, and in Scott's Run which is in the northeastern area of the county. Hemlock trees are more common in the Appalachian Mountains, but there is a small population of naturally occurring hemlocks in Fairfax County.

"In the 1950s a particularly nasty…

Fairfax County Infrastructure Projects Win Project of the Year Honors

March 9, 2018

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) will recognize six Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services projects during an awards ceremony at the chapter’s 60th Annual Conference and Equipment Show on May 1-4, in Fredericksburg, Va. The annual awards celebrate the best infrastructure projects constructed in Virginia, Maryland, and…

Fairfax County's Pool of Certified Construction Managers Deepens

March 6, 2018

Fairfax County has matured from a rural community to a suburban bedroom community to a highly desirable place to live and work, with its own thriving economy. As the county urbanizes, development projects and transportation improvements have become more complicated. Fortunately, Fairfax County has 21 Certified Construction Managers (CCMs) on staff to navigate through regulations, engage the…

Ecologist Provides Hands-on Learning at Elementary School STEAM Event

February 23, 2018

Every kids knows what a butterfly is, but what on earth is a caddisfly? Belle View Elementary School students found out at the school’s annual STEAM night on Tuesday, Feb. 20. (STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.)

Danielle Wynne, an ecologist in the Stormwater…

Michael Schindler Wins President's Volunteer Service Award

February 20, 2018

Michael Schindler, engineering tech II, Wastewater Design and Construction, Capital Facilities, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, was recently awarded the U.S. President's Volunteer Service Award for his 318.5 volunteer hours in 2017.

The President's Award encourages citizens to "live a life of service through presidential gratitude and national…

For the Love of Trees

February 12, 2018

Urban forester Hugh Whitehead says it is important to provide adequate space for trees in urban development projects, a concept known as urban greening.

"Potential benefits of urban greening include improved mental and physical health; improved air quality, stormwater management, water quality, and public safety; strengthened economics, and improved social well-being," Hugh said.…

Stormwater and Wastewater Employees Judge High School Science Fair

January 31, 2018

Three scientists from the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services served as judges at Chantilly High School’s annual science fair on Wednesday, January 24, 2018. The staff members were invited to participate by biology teacher Michele…

Stormwater Status Report Available

January 24, 2018
The Fairfax County 2017 Stormwater Status Report highlights the accomplishments of the stormwater management program from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 and includes:

Awards Program Recognizes Excellence in Building Design and Construction

January 23, 2018
The 11th Annual Awards of Excellence for Building Design and Construction ceremony was held at the Fairfax County Government Center on December 15, 2017. The winners have been instrumental in delivering capital projects that improve safety, transportation, and overall quality of life for Fairfax County residents. The awards recognize the winners’ commitment to excellence and outstanding customer…

County Chesapeake Bay Action Plan Approved

August 29, 2017
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) reviewed and approved Fairfax County’s Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) action plan on August 15, 2017. Receiving approval from DEQ for the TMDL action plan represents a giant step forward in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay,” said James Patteson P.E., Director, Department of Public Works and Environmental Services. “I’m very…

Solid Waste Management Program Wins National Safety Award

July 7, 2017

Fairfax County's Solid Waste Management Program has won the 2017 SWANA Safety Award for Biggest Improvement in the category of Collection and Transfer. This national award from the Solid Waste Association of North America recognizes the county's commitment to ensuring its solid waste employees make it home safely every night. The award will be presented during a ceremony on Sept. 27 at the…

Urban Foresters Battle Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Tree Pest

June 20, 2017

The exotic, invasive emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is an extremely challenging insect to manage. Its larvae burrow under the bark of ash trees (Fraxinus sp.) which slowly cut off the source of water and food that the tree needs to survive and is almost always fatal to North American ash species. The EAB larvae are well-protected under the bark of the tree, so it is not feasible to…

Renovated Pohick Regional Library Achieves LEED Gold

May 15, 2017

On May 9, 2017, the Pohick Regional Library (6450 Sydenstricker Road, Burke, Va.) achieved LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) projects are scored based on points earned in sustainable design categories. Certified buildings are resource efficient and less expensive to heat, cool, and maintain, and Fairfax County now…

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