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DPWES Proposes Discontinuing Vacuum Leaf Collection Service Following 2023-2024 Season

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Vacuum Leaf Curbside collectionUpdate August 18, 2023 – Fairfax County staff are proposing to permanently discontinue vacuum leaf service after the upcoming winter season and are seeking input from current customers. A final decision will be made by the Board of Supervisors this fall. A public input survey closed August 18.

Approximately 25,000 customers receive vacuum leaf collection service from Fairfax County’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services. During the 2022-2023 season, the program experienced numerous setbacks including collection delays, staffing shortages, a larger volume of leaves than normal, and inclement weather. After assessing the service, County staff propose to discontinue vacuum leaf service when the upcoming season concludes, along with the tax imposed for the service.

DPWES proposes discontinuing vacuum leaf collection service following 2023-2024 season.

The recommendation to permanently stop the service is the result of operational issues negatively impacting the County’s ability to provide reliable vacuum service moving forward, and worries expressed by customers about public safety when leaves are at the curb or street awaiting collection, including:

  • Blocked storm drainages creating flooding concerns.
  • Pedestrian and vehicle conflicts when pedestrians are forced to walk in streets.
  • Fire hazards from vehicles parking on leaves.
  • Slip and fall hazards from walking on slippery leaves.
  • Reduced on-street parking.

The County is facing increased costs to provide vacuum leaf collection. Due to the need for an additional contractor, overtime for County employees and temporary contractors support workers, it is estimated the 2023 season will incur an approximate $900,000 deficit and another predicted $400,000 deficit at the end of fiscal year 2024. The service also conflicts with the County’s adopted sustainability policies to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

Trash collection provided by the County directly is a fee-based service, while vacuum leaf service is funded by a tax based on property value. Since billing for the service takes place in January, residents have already been charged for the 2023-2024 vacuum season, which will take place as scheduled.

For additional information on the vacuum leaf program visit Vacuum Leaf Collection.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant