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The Office of Environmental Quality (OEQ) administers the City's air, water, and noise improvement programs, which help preserve and protect the environment and public health and welfare. More... 

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Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission and Alexandria Renew Enterprises Seek Nominees for 2015 7th Annual Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award

Award Honors Legacy of Distinguished Alexandria Environmental Steward

The Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission and Alexandria Renew Enterprises are seeking nominees for the 2015 7thAnnual Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award to honor and recognize those who demonstrate a commitment to protecting the natural environment and keeping the City green.

The award will be presented on Alexandria Earth Day, to be celebrated at Ben Brenman Park, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 25, 2015. A tree will also be planted in the honor of the recipient of the 2015 Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award. The event will include various educational exhibits, demonstrations, hands-on activities for children, and more, that will emphasize this year’s theme: It’s Your Turn To Lead!

The Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award is named in honor of Ellen Pickering, a former Board member of the Alexandria Sanitation Authority, who was dedicated to preservation and conservation in the City throughout her life. She helped create the Mount Vernon Trail between Alexandria and Washington. Mrs. Pickering was committed to preserving and enhancing the City’s waterfront and urged the adoption of the City’s Open Space Plan and lobbying to preserve Founder’s Park. She also implemented the planting of 1,000 citizen-donated cherry trees during her tenure as Chair of the Alexandria Beautification Commission.

Mrs. Pickering served on a number of City boards and commissions, and was elected to City Council as an independent for one term between 1976 and 1979.

Qualifications: To qualify for the award, nominees – who can be citizens, groups, clubs, organizations or corporations – must be residents of the City of Alexandria. Groups, clubs, organizations, and corporations must operate within the City of Alexandria. The actions of the nominees must have a direct impact on protecting the natural environment and natural resources within the City of Alexandria.

Selection: Selection will be made by a special committee of Alexandria Renew Enterprises, the Environmental Policy Commission, and members of Mrs. Pickering’s family.

Applicable Topics: Subject matter applicable to the award criteria include natural resource preservation, energy conservation, education outreach regarding environmental sustainability, water preservation, water conservation, waste reduction and/or materials reuse/recycling, and promotion of clean air.

Additionally, the City of Alexandria Adopted the Eco-City Charter in 2008 and Phase I of the Environmental Action Plan in 2009. Both documents define the guiding principles of environmental sustainability. See

Submissions must include:

•         The nominee’s name, address, and telephone number, or the key individual to contact if a nominee is not an individual.

•         The name, address, and telephone number of the person nominating the candidate must be included.

•         A brief description (not to exceed one page) of the nominee’s accomplishments and qualifications for the Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award.

•         Nominations should be emailed to, or addressed and mailed or delivered to the Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission at Alexandria City Hall, Office of Environmental Quality, 301 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.

•         Nominations must be received by Friday, March 27, 2015.

City's Top Ten Environmental Achievements for 2014

Every year, the City publishes the top ten environmental highlights that were submitted by City Departments and City-based organizations. The Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, Infrastructure & Environmental Division compiles this list which includes initiatives on transportation, solid waste, stormwater and wastewater management, City parkland and natural areas, green building and energy conservation. to view the full list, please visit the following:

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) to hold public Meeting on NRG's Proposed Corrective Action Plan (CAP) for Remediation at the PRGS Site on February 3, 2015

  • As required by VDEQ, a public meeting will be held by VDEQ and NRG Energy on Tuesday, February 3 to obtain public comments regarding the NRG Energy's CAP recently submitted to VDEQ.  The proposed CAP outlines remediation for two leaking 25,000-gallon heating oil tanks located underground at the PRGS site. Following this meeting, the public can submit comments  to VDEQ by February 13, 2015. 

    Date:   February 3, 2015
    Time:   7- 9 p.m.
    Location:  City Hall, Sister Cities Conference Room #1101

    For more information, please contact Khoa Tran, T&ES Infrastructure and Environmental Quality, 703.746.4076.

  • Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) and Construction General Permits

    In accordance with the new Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) Regulations, effective on July 1, 2014, the City of Alexandria will administer construction general permits for discharges of stormwater from local construction activities. For more information on how to obtain a construction general permit, please see Memo to Industry 08-14, visit the Water Quality Regulations and Permitting webpage or contact the Stormwater and Sanitary Sewer Infrastructure Division at 703-746-4014. 

  • Green Sidewalks - BMP Design Guidelines

    The City published new guidelines on June 12, 2014 to promote the treatment of stormwater runoff from the public right of way. The guidelines are being published to aid the development community during design and construction of stormwater best management practices (BMPs) for treatment of stormwater runoff from new public rights-of-way. The focus of the guidelines is to provide a design that achieves water quality improvements while managing placement and aesthetics of the facilities. For a summary on the guidelines development, regulatory drivers and applicability please see Memo to Industry 03-2014.

    Green Sidewalks BMP Design Guidelines

  • Stream Maintenance Project – Holmes Run & Cameron Run

    The Department of Transportation & Environmental Services (T&ES) will be conducting routine stream maintenance work in Holmes Run and Cameron Run starting in early April 2014. Generally, the work will consist of removal of all woody vegetation from bottom third of the stream banks. Clearing of all invasive species will occur for the rest of the stream bank. Healthy trees at the top of stream banks will not be removed.  Some trees at the top of the bank will be limbed up where low limbs are near to walking/bike trails. The work will be performed by The Care of Trees, under the supervision of their ISA Certified Arborists.

    For more information or questions regarding this work, please visit the Stream Maintenance Project webpage or contact the Office of Environmental Quality at 703.746.4065.

  • The City Received Five-Year Renewal of Its Combined Sewer System Permit

    The City of Alexandria has received a 5 year renewal of its permit to operate Combined Sewer System.  In 2011, the City applied to Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) for its Virginia Pollution Discharge Elimination Permit, which regulates discharges from the City’s Combined Sewer System (CSS).  The City’s Combined Sewer System, a legacy infrastructure built in 19th and early 20th century, is a combination of storm and sanitary sewer systems serving approximately 540 acres in Old Town.  

    As part of the City’s Eco-City Alexandria initiative, and in coordination with VDEQ, this new permit ensures regulatory requirements are met and the environment is protected.  Under the permit negotiated by the City with VDEQ, the City will be updating its Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) over the next three years, and implementing several additional projects to improve water quality in Hunting Creek, Potomac River, and Chesapeake Bay.  The LTCP to be developed will identify the strategy, projects, schedule, additional infrastructure investments and long-term impacts on the community and will be implemented no later than 2035.  In addition to developing the LTCP, the permit also requires the City to implement several important construction projects within the five year permit cycle.  These projects are needed to improve the system and to continue to reduce the impacts.

    The City plans to start planning and implementation of several new and expanded initiatives required under the new CSS permit, including the following: 
  • Update the LTCP within three years from the issuance of the permit. 
  • Construction projects to improve sewer system performance, and improve water quality.
  • Develop and implement green infrastructure pilot projects within the CSS.
  • Continue implementing CSS Area Reduction Plan that requires developers to separate sewers in the CSS as redevelopment occurs.


Check This Out!

  • City Recognizes Closure of GenOn Potomac River Generating Station
    For decades, the GenOn Potomac River Generating Station was one of the largest sources of air pollutants in Northern Virginia. The closure of this facility today was a culmination of outreach and civic engagement from residents and local officials for more than 10 years. Closing down this coal-fired power plant is consistent with the City’s Eco-City Alexandria’s Environmental Action Plan, which focuses on environmental sustainability and long-range environmental planning efforts. For more information, visit

  • Visit the Virtual Green Building Resource Center                                                                                                         
    The Green Building Resource Center (GBRC) is one of the City's latest Eco-City Alexandria initiatives, offering citizens and business owners information on how to reduce energy and water consumption and operating costs by offering practical solutions to design, build and maintain their spaces in an eco-friendly manner. We welcome all citizens to visit the site periodically for new technical articles, event updates, and local case studies at
  • Take the Eco-City Challenge to learn ways to: 
    • Reduce your carbon footprint
    • Reduce air, water, and solid waste pollution
    • Reduce resource consumption
    • Reduce water and energy costs
    • Improve your indoor environment
    • Improve your health and the health of the environment
      Eco-City Challenge button2 
  • Awards and Accomplishments 

  • More News & Events 



Air Quality 


Watershed Management 


Noise Control 


Mirant Potomac River Generating Station 


Contaminated Lands 


Other Programs and Projects 



OEQ performs the following tasks in an effort to achieve the environmental goals established in the City Council's Strategic Plan (Adopted 2004, Revised 2006 & 2010) which states that "Alexandria respects, protects and enhances the health of its citizens and the quality of its natural environment."

  • Monitors air and water quality.
  • Investigates pollution complaints.
  • Reviews development plans with regard to water quality impacts.
  • Ensures compliance with the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act.
  • Issues noise variance permits.
  • Inspects stormwater management facilities.
  • Supports open space preservation.
  • Participates in stormwater management and watershed planning and restoration initiatives.
  • Responds to citizen questions and concerns and provides information to the public on how to protect and improve the environment.

Additionally, OEQ advises and works with other City agencies and divisions on matters that impact the environment, and provides staff support to the City’s Environmental Policy Commission, which studies and makes recommendations on various projects and program initiatives that may have environmental impacts. The Commission meets on a monthly basis.