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A facet of sustainability is the interconnectedness of everything within a system.  While this adds a level 
of complexity to addressing problems, it also means that every problem offers a multitude of 
opportunities to use this inter-connectedness to amplify efforts and results.  When improving its 
resiliency against the impacts of climate change, the Fairfax County WMP took advantage of these 
amplification opportunities to address more than one area.  Recently, a new back-up generator system 
was installed to strengthen the wastewater treatment facility’s electrical resiliency.  The new generators 
meet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 4 air emissions, which are more stringent than the 
facility’s air permit requires but will result in less NOx emissions.  Another example is measures taken to 
minimize the likelihood and impact of flooding of the facility by a nearby creek.  The Fairfax County 
WMP was able to team up with Stormwater Management Division to not only address the flooding 
concerns.  The partnership not only provided a more sustainable solution, but also strengthened a 
relationship for when the next opportunity comes along.   

Community Partnership and Engagement 

To ensure it maintains the balance of sustainability and to develop opportunities for it, the Fairfax 
County WMP has established a strong community presence by developing strong partnerships with the 
regional school system, nearby utilities, governments at the local, state, and federal level, local 
universities, community groups, and other partners in the world of sustainability and water.  Highlights 
of this include the participation in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments regional 
marketing campaigns addressing the disposal of grease and medications; a decades long partnership 
with George Mason University to monitor and document the restoration of the health of the Pohick 
Creek and Gunston Cove (tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay); and participation in the Chesapeake Bay 
Foundation’s Grasses of the Masses program. 

At a local level, the Fairfax County WMP has established partnerships with local civic groups to help 
them address community issues.  Efforts have included establishing a local baseball park, providing land 
for a trail that is part of the National Park Service’s Potomac Heritage Trail, sponsoring a little league 
team, helping with science fair projects, and participating in stream cleanups and environmental fairs.  

 Of particular importance is the Fairfax County WMP’s partnership with the local school system.  Building 
upon a well-established Sewer Science program that has touched over 17,000 high school students, the 
program is being expanded into the middle and elementary school programs.  Coming full circle from 
this partnership, the Fairfax County WMP has been able to provide temporary “trial” positions to a few 
high school graduates that provides an opportunity for them to establish skills and experience to allow 
them to compete for permanent positions within the Fairfax County WMP.  The success of this test 
program has result in more serious and robust discussions about establishing a larger, and perhaps, 
wider program that would include other Fairfax County agencies. 

Water Reuse 

A highly visible sustainability contribution of the Fairfax County WMP has been the establishment of one 
of Virginia’s first direct non potable water reuse systems.  Originally conceived as part of the program to 
comply with nutrient removal regulations, this reuse water system used alternative design-build 
procurement to leverage funding opportunities and used established partnerships with the county Park 
Authority and Solid Waste agency to acquire easement in order to provide reclaimed water to a golf 
course, ball fields and a cooling tower.  This reuse water system provides over 400 million gallons of