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NARRATIVE: As evidenced by 18 years of NACWA platinum peak performance awards and triple AAA 
bond ratings by all three major financial rating agencies, The Fairfax County Wastewater Management 
Program (WMP) has long been recognized for being a well-managed and complaint wastewater utility.  
Over the past decade, the WMP has been leveraging this foundation of regulatory excellence and sound 
financial management to transform itself into a sustainably based service provider in their community.     

A Culture of Sustainability and Engagement 

The nexus of the Fairfax County WMP culture is its Business Team, which defines the strategic objectives 
of the program, supports all aspects of the program, and models a culture of engagement and 
sustainability.  Team composition aims to bring together leaders, forward thinkers, and perspectives 
from all levels and functional areas of the entire program.  In addition, several business team members 
serve on the boards of other local utilities, allowing them to integrate those perspectives into the 
program.   

Recognizing that its employees are the center of the culture, the Fairfax County WMP has actively 
invested in its employees by offering structured training in technical, managerial, and supervisory areas; 
creating and encouraging opportunities for groups and individuals to independently pursue the strategic 
goals of the organization; and providing  “stretch” opportunities where employees can test and develop 
their skills.  As a result of this investment, over a third of plant positions filled in 2015 were internal 
promotions.  In 2016, the Fairfax County WMP wastewater treatment facility is on track to fill 50% of its 
positions with internal candidates.   

To create and maintain the culture of sustainability, the Fairfax County WMP has invested in several 
activities to assess itself, set goals for the future, and move towards those goals.   These activities have 
included benchmarking with other utilities and agencies, establishing resource consumption and 
greenhouse gas inventories, and supporting Fairfax County in working toward achieving environmental 
goals such at the Cool Counties Initiative, which calls for an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.  
An early example of success from these activities is the installation of a line that allowed the program to 
utilize “trash gas” from a nearby landfill in the wastewater treatment facility’s biosolids stabilization 
process.  This project provide financial benefit, it created a partnership with the community, and 
reduced the facility’s greenhouse emissions by 60% 

Demonstrating the integration of the culture of engagement and sustainability is the Fairfax County’s 
WMP Environmental Management System which has been certified as an Extraordinary Environmental 
Enterprise by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.  Lead by a non-managerial team, the 
EMS program has supported the Fairfax County WMP in achieving many of its environmental and 
sustainability objectives.  This team and its program continue to actively support the Fairfax County 
WMP. 

In addition to the official outreach program described below, the Fairfax County WMP has also 
dedicated time and resources to engage the community and ensure the program understands the 
community’s concerns and needs.  Manifested as meetings and interactions with civic groups, members 
of the Board of Supervisors, and individual citizens, the return on this investment ensures that the 
Fairfax County WMP stays integrated with the community and understands its needs.