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The Covanta Waste-to-Energy facility at the west end of Eisenhower Avenue has recently completed an overhaul that should make it less of a polluter.

The facility serves 400,000 residents and businesses in Alexandria and Arlington, the city said in a release. It incinerates household waste and generates steam for electricity production.

“In this way, Covanta processes and converts more than 350,000 tons of waste into energy,” the release said. “This waste would otherwise end up in landfills.”

But obviously, waste incineration has its own considerably negative environmental impact. The city’s release said new technology at the site has reduced the facility’s nitrogen oxide emissions by  50%:

With installation of its proprietary Low NOx (LN) technology now complete, nitrogen oxide emissions have been reduced by nearly 50%. The effort was part of a multi-year project at the Covanta Alexandria-Arlington Facility. By reducing the waste put in landfills, Covanta Alexandria has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 331,000 tons of carbon dioxide. That’s the same as taking 65,000 passenger vehicles off the road for one year.

The facility generated enough energy to power 15,000 homes year-round and recovers 11,000 tons of metal annually.

“Covanta is proud to manage our services and facilities in a way that prioritizes our communities, our businesses and our planet,” Covanta area asset manager Don Cammarata said in the release. “Today marks an important step in our work with the community to reduce our environmental impact and improve air quality.”

“The installation of this new NOx technology will even further reduce the emissions and improve air quality,” Mayor Justin Wilson said in the release. “This is an important effort to support the City of Alexandria in reaching our Environmental Action Plan 2040 goals.”

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The trash situation is changing in Alexandria, as City leaders are ironing out a new curbside food waste collection pilot.

Mayor Justin Wilson’s proposal for the one-year pilot would see annual residential and commercial refuse collection fees increase from $484 to $500 citywide, or $1.33 a month.

“We’ll see how the pilot goes,” Wilson told ALXnow. “Falls Church uses a vendor and they actually have the vendor charge residents directly who want the collection. It may end up we go with that model instead of providing universal collection. We’ll see how much support there is for this.”

A $315,000 allocation would fund the new curbside food waste collection pilot program, as well as expand the city’s food waste drop-off composting program in spots designated by City Manager Jim Parajon.

If approved by Council as an addition in Parajon’s fiscal year 2023 budget, 600 residents over six months (potentially up to 2,500 over the full year) would be delivered a 5-gallon bucket to fill up with food waste. The trash would be picked up for composting on a designated collection day.

The City anticipates that the pilot program could begin no later than late fall.

Alexandria communications officer Andrea Blackford said that evaluating the feasibility of curbside organics supports the City’s WasteSmart Strategic Plan and Environmental Action Plan.

“Food waste such as fruit and vegetable scraps; expired bread, pasta, rice, grains and cereal; and egg shells and coffee grounds would be collected and processed into nutrient-rich compost, a natural soil amendment,” Blackford said. “This pilot aims to evaluate expansion of composting options in the City.”

City residents currently get weekly yard waste collections that are composted or turned into mulch, in addition to four free food waste composting stations at farmers’ markets on weekends.

If approved, residents should expect to be be notified of the pilot on the City website, social media and eNews.

“Sign up for the pilot program will be first-come, first-served, based on expressions of interest collected through a simple electronic survey,” Blackford said. “In this pilot, we will consider prioritization for customers who may have transportation/access and accessibility/disability barriers to participating in the existing food waste drop-off program at farmers’ markets.”

Wilson said the program reduces trash volume, and that City is exploring new locations for food waste collection spots in Old Town North and the West End.

“Dong so is not only great for the environment, it reduces our trash volume by diverting food waste from our regular trash collection,” he said.

The budget will be adopted on May 4.

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Trash pickup and yard waste collection has been delayed today (Monday) due to staffing shortages and will resume tomorrow, according to the city.

“Trash and yard waste will continue to be collected but collection schedules and efficiency will be impacted,” a city alert states.

The alert says residents should leave their trash and yard waste out if it was not collected on its assigned day so that it can be picked up on the following day. If it still is not collected, residents should submit a ticket online or call Alex 311.

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Trash and recycling collection has been suspended for the rest of the week as the city prepares for potential snow tonight just days after Monday’s snowstorm.

The city has previously said trash collection days would operate a day or two behind schedule, but a press release from the City of Alexandria today noted that the city is dealing with a perfect storm of issues hindering trash-recovery operations.

“Due to staffing shortages caused by COVID-19, safety issues related to the forecasted overnight snow and to prioritize resources to prepare for and respond to the inclement weather, curbside recycling, trash, yard waste and Christmas tree collection will not take place this week,” the city said in the release. “There will be no sliding of routes and days as previously communicated. Collection crews will be mobilized tonight and tomorrow to support and respond to the forecasted snow tomorrow.”

The city asked that residents hold their trash until collection resumes next week, but for urgent disposals, the city said residents can drop off small amounts of trash free-of-charge at the COVANTA Waste-to-Energy Facility (5301 Eisenhower Ave.) Monday through Friday from 6 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday from 6 a.m.-11:30 a.m. The city noted those hours could change based on weather conditions.

“City crews continue to respond to tree and brush damage due to Monday’s storm,” the release said. “The City has added arborist contractor resources and is adding bulk yard waste collection resources to assist in the collection of tree and brush. City refuse collection customers who need tree and brush collection will be able to submit a request via Alex311. Items must be properly prepared for collection to be picked up by City crews.”

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Morning Notes

Bondsman in Karla Dominguez case charged — “The bail bondsman in the Karla Dominguez murder case has been charged with criminal contempt of court and faces trial in January in the Alexandria Circuit Court.” [Alexandria Times]

Yard waste collection shifts to today — “Yard Waste collection… will be collected Friday, October 8. Please accept our apologies for any inconveniences caused by this temporary suspension.” [Alexandria T&ES]

Old Town Oyster Festival next weekend — “Join Old Town Business Association for this year’s Old Town Oyster Festival October 16th-24th in partnership with the Oyster Recovery Foundation and sponsored by Guinness. Come on out for the Oyster Shucking Competition to kick off a week of Oyster and Guinness specials! The Shucking Competition, set to live music from Driven to Clarity, will take place Vola’s Airstream Patio on Saturday, October 16th 2021 at 10 a.m.” [Visit Alexandria]

IDA showcases update on Potomac Yard HQ construction — “Watch the Eye on IDA video with Dean Graves to get a sneak peek of IDA’s future headquarters.” [IDA]

Local group raises $5,000 for veterans — The Fraternal Order of Eagles 871 hosted a Dining for Charity event with 7 participating Alexandria restaurants and raised $5,000 for Homes for Our Troops. [Zebra]

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This coming Monday, September 6, is Labor Day and a number of city government offices and facilities will be closed.

The biggest event of the three-day weekend will be the day before Labor Day — Sunday, September 5. The annual Old Town Festival of Speed & Style will bring crowds to marvel at classic and beautiful rides along King Street.

City services will shift to a holiday schedule the next day. Trash collection will move to Tuesday, parking enforcement at metered spaces will be lifted, and it will be your last chance to enjoy public pools.

The city has listed the following closures and other changes planned for the week of September 6.

Resource Recovery: Residential refuse and recycling will not be collected September 6. Collection services will be delayed by one day during the week of September 6: Monday’s collection will be on Tuesday; Tuesday’s collection, on Wednesday; Wednesday’s collection, on Thursday; and Thursday’s collection, on Friday. Visit Resource Recovery for more information. The Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Collection Center (3224 Colvin St.) will be closed Monday, September 6.

Animal Shelter: The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (4101 Eisenhower Ave.) will be open weekend hours by appointment on September 6. To make an appointment, visit AlexandriaAnimals.org/Adopt-By-Appointment or call 703.746.4774. For an animal emergency, call 703.746.4444.

Health Facilities: The Alexandria Health Department (4480 King St.), the Flora Krause Casey Health Center (1200 N. Howard St.) and the Teen Wellness Center at Alexandria City High School (3329 King St.) will be closed September 6.

Historic Alexandria: On September 6, the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum (105-107 S. Fairfax St.) will be open regular hours, from 1 to 5 p.m. All other City museums will be closed. For more information, visit alexandriava.gov/Historic and follow Historic Alexandria on social media or call 703.746.4554.

Hotlines: All emergency hotlines operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including the child protective services hotline at 703.746.5800; the domestic violence hotline at 703.746.4911; the emergency services for mental health or substance abuse crisis hotline at 703.746.3401; the adult protective services hotline at 703.746.5778; and the sexual assault hotline at 703.683.7273.

Libraries: All Alexandria Library branches and the Alexandria Law Library (520 King St.) will be closed September 6. Visit the Alexandria Library website for more information.

Parking: On September 6, the Alexandria Police Department will suspend enforcement of parking restrictions at metered spaces, residential permit parking districts and other areas with posted parking time limits. This suspension of enforcement applies only to the restrictions at legal parking spaces and does not permit parking in any location normally prohibited (for example, no-parking zones, loading zones or spaces for persons with disabilities). Temporary no-parking signs will be enforced September 6.

Impound Lot: The City’s Impound Facility (5249 Eisenhower Ave.) will be closed September 6. The Impound Facility is closed every Saturday and Sunday and on all observed City holidays. Fees will continue to accrue on Saturdays and Sundays but not on holidays.

Recreation and Arts Centers: On September 6, the Charles Houston (901 Wythe Street) and Patrick Henry (4653 Taney Ave.) recreation centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 N. Union St.) will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Chinquapin Park Recreation Center & Aquatics Facility (3210 King St.) and all other facilities will be closed. Visit alexandriava.gov/Recreation for more information.

Outdoor Pools: Old Town Pool (1609 Cameron St.) and Warwick Pool (3301 Landover St.) will be open from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. September 6. Visit alexandriav.gov/Aquatics for more information.

Schools: All Alexandria City Public Schools and administrative offices will be closed Friday, September 3 and Monday, September 6.

Courts: On September 6, the Alexandria Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, Alexandria Circuit Court, Alexandria General District Court, Alexandria Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court and Court Service Unit (520 King St.) will be closed.

Department of Motor Vehicles: All Virginia DMV locations in Northern Virginia (including 2681 Mill Rd.) are open by appointment only. Many DMV services are available either online or by visiting dmvNOW.com/appt to schedule an appointment. Walk-in services are not available at this time.

Transit:  On September 6, the Alexandria Transit Company’s fare-free DASH bus service will operate on a Sunday schedule. The free King Street Trolley will operate from King Street Metro to Alexandria City Hall/Market Square, with service every 15 minutes, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Visit dashbus.com for more information.

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Morning Notes

Statewide vaccine town hall tonight — “The Virginia Department of Health will host a live broadcast Town Hall on May 4, from 7 to 8 p.m. The program will feature in-depth discussion about COVID-19 vaccines and offer a forum to ask questions about the vaccines and the next steps in the vaccine roll out. Panelists include Virginia State Health Commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver and State Vaccine Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula, as well as other academic, medical, and public health experts.” [City of Alexandria]

Alexandria Democratic Committee’s City Council candidate debate is at 7 p.m. — “Please join us to watch the ADC City Council Debates!” [Facebook]

In-person Alexandria Jazz Festival on May 29 — “The Alexandria Jazz Festival returns on Saturday, May 29, 4-9pm at Oronoco Bay Park (100 Madison St.). Enjoy a variety of musicians and styles of jazz throughout the day. Admission is free, but space will be limited. ” [Twitter]

‘Dogs Of Del Ray’ mural to be finished on Thursday — “The Del Ray community plans to celebrate the mural’s completion during First Thursday: Dog Days in Del Ray, which takes place on Thursday, May 5, from 6 p.m. to dusk along Mount Vernon Avenue. Participants are encouraged to bring their four-legged friends to the Avenue for a socially distant street festival featuring themed activities, rescue groups, and more.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Sunshine early then becoming cloudy later in the day. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 87F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph… Sunshine early then becoming cloudy later in the day. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 87F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Refuse collector — “A Refuse Collector collects garbage as part of a refuse collection crew. This is routine but heavy manual work which is performed under adverse weather conditions. Refuse Collectors regularly perform their tasks at a rapid pace as compared to most labor class positions. Assignments and work leadership is provided by an Equipment Operator II. Supervision is provided by the Refuse Collection Superintendent.” [Indeed]

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With fall in full swing, the leaves are about to start coming down in droves in Alexandria.

Starting next month, Alexandria’s annual leaf vacuuming and leaf bag collection program will take away piles of leaves left on curbs all around the city. The leaves will be ground into mulch, which is available in the spring and summer.

Residents are asked to recycle leaves by leaving them on the curb to be vacuumed, or in paper bags, which can be picked up for free at City Hall, recreation centers and at the City’s self-serve shed on Business Center Drive.

Please see below for an up-to-date schedule, help determining your collection zone, preparation instructions, and frequently asked questions regarding leaf collection.

“Residents may receive leaf collection status updates by signing up for the free Alexandria eNews service and subscribing to ‘Resource Recovery Updates,’ or by following the Department of Transportation & Environmental Services on FacebookTwitter or Instagram,” according to the city.

Alexandria is divided into five collection zones. Of those four zones, Old Town is divided into four additional sections.

The leaf collection will occur at the following locations:

First Pass Dates:

November 2 – ZONE 2
November 6 – ZONE 3
November 12 – ZONE 4
November 18 – ZONE 1

In Old Town:
November 2 – Section 5A
November 6 – Section 5B
November 12 – Section 5C
November 18 – Section 5D

These are the estimated start dates for leaf collection in each zone; crews will not vacuum every street in the zone on the first date, it will take them several days to complete each pass in each zone.

  • Remove stones, litter, branches or other debris. These items can damage our equipment and hurt workers
  • Avoid placing leaves in front of storm drains or on water meter covers
  • Move parked cars off leaf piles
  • Do not rake leaves into alleys or service roads

Maps via City of Alexandria

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Morning Notes

Beyer says Trump ‘Unleashed’ the Coronavirus — “Vice Chair @RepDonBeyer during today’s hearing: ‘Donald Trump holds the vast power of the U.S. Presidency–but he has refused to use it. He has not contained the coronavirus, but has unleashed it. As a result, many more lives will be lost.'” [Twitter]

Police to Conduct Traffic Enforcement Campaign for Drivers at Crosswalks — “APD is committed to protecting vulnerable road users by raising awareness about pedestrian and bike safety. The Traffic Safety is preparing to conduct multiple traffic enforcement operations which intend to address unsafe pedestrian and driving behavior in, and around, City of Alexandria crosswalks.” [Facebook]

Mystery of WWII Uniform Solved in 24 Hours on Nextdoor — “On Sept. 13, 2020, Colonel Royal Gervais’s uniform — after residing in an attic through 14 years of tenants and 22 years of my mom’s ownership, then in our closet for 34 years — was returned in person to members of his family as they shared photos and memories of the Colonel with us.” [Alexandria Living]

Sur La Table To Close At End Of September in Old Town — “Sur La Table, a high-end kitchenware store that also hosts cooking classes, will close its Alexandria location at the end of September.” [Patch]

7 On Your Side Uncovers Trash Issues with Alexandria Recycling Drop-off Center — “The video was taken by Advocates for Clean and Clear Waterways. The fence belongs to the Virginia Department of Transpiration and is torn apart and rolled back.   At the bottom of the fence, there’s a homeless camp. 7 On Your Side cameras found the same issues.” [WJLA]

Tickets Available for Senior Services of Alexandria Virtual Oktoberfest Celebration — “Oktoberfest is coming Oct. 15 and for the first time it will be virtual! Join SSA for a fun evening featuring Port City beers, delicious German food and a virtual beer tasting and tour of the brewery. This annual event supports Meals on Wheels, Groceries to Go, and the Friendly Visitor Program!” [Facebook]

Outdoor ‘Black Panther’ Outdoor Viewing Party in Carlyle this Weekend — “Join us this Saturday for a night to remember Chadwick Boseman – Wear your tribute costume, bring your tribute figurine and enjoy our showing of Black Panther.” [Facebook]

ALIVE! Distributing Food This Weekend — “ALIVE! will distribute food at two drive-through sites on Saturday, September 26, 8:30-10:30 a.m., in the parking lots of Cora Kelly (3600 Commonwealth Ave.) and John Adams (5651 Rayburn Ave.) Elementary Schools. These distributions include bags of shelf stable groceries, chicken and eggs, while supplies last. To observe no-contact food distribution, residents are encouraged to drive through and remain in their cars. Walks-ups are permitted but should maintain 6 feet of physical distance, wear a face mask, and bring carts or reusable bags to carry food home.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Sunny skies (during the day). High 81F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.Partly cloudy during the evening followed by cloudy skies overnight. Low around 60F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Food Program Coordinator at ALIVE! — “ALIVE! is searching for a full-time, temporary Food Program Coordinator through at least December 31, 2020. Hours are non-traditional and require evenings and weekends. Health care and leave benefits available for full-time staff. Two part-time hires may job share this position.” [Facebook]

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Morning Notes

(Updated 8/7) Upcoming Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend Canceled — “The coronavirus has canceled one of Alexandria’s most beloved traditions this winter.” [Alexandria Living]

Beyer Blames Trump for Coronavirus Response Failures — “The White House is simultaneously blaming state governments for Trump’s failed pandemic response and blocking federal assistance to support state and local governments.” [Twitter]

Fire Department: Use Flashlight, Not Candle if Power Goes Out — “Tropical Storm #Isaias is expected to bring heavy rain and wind gusts that may cause power outages. If you experience an outage, use a flashlight for emergency lighting instead of candles to prevent a possible fire. Be prepared. Be informed. Be ready.” [Twitter]

City Suspends Trash and Recycling Today — “Due to expected impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias, the City of Alexandria has suspended its curbside trash and recycling collection for Tuesday, August 4.” [Zebra]

Ebbin Pledges to Fight for Marijuana Legalization in 2021 — “In 2020, six years of hard work paid off in major reform to our criminal justice system by decriminalizing possession of marijuana. In 2021, I’m ready to do the hard work to legalize cannabis in Virginia the right way.” [Facebook]

Silver Diner to Open August 12 — “The 6,500-square foot restaurant is part of West Alex, a new $185 million mixed-use community at the corner of King and North Beauregard streets, anchored by an in-the-works Harris Teeter grocery store and Array, a 278-unit apartment building.” [Alexandria Living]

New Farmers Market in Carlyle Starts Friday — “The Carlyle Vitality Initiative is hosting a new Farmer’s Market at John Carlyle Square Park, starting on August 7th! We can’t wait to see you this weekend!” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Thunderstorms. Potential for heavy rainfall. Low 71F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 100%.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Activities and Volunteer Coordinator — “At Sunrise, our Activities & Volunteer Coordinator is responsible for leading the day to day activities and programs for a Sunrise Senior Living community.” [Indeed]

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