Sanitary Infrastructure

The Sanitary Infrastructure Division implements the City’s Sanitary Sewer Master Plan and is responsible for planning level engineering related to sanitary sewer capital projects throughout the City.

Page updated on Oct 7, 2019 at 10:17 AM

The Sanitary Infrastructure Division is responsible for the following:

  • Planning level engineering encompassing over 240 miles of sanitary and combined sewer within the City
  • Development and implementation of the City’s 10-year Sanitary Sewer Capital Improvement Program
  • Coordination with the City’s Department of Project Implementation related to design and construction of sanitary sewer capital projects
  • Coordination with Alexandria Renew Enterprises on the RiverRenew Program for the combined sewer system
  • Review of development and redevelopment plans and in order to ensure adequate sewer capacity to accommodate growth and identify when upgrades to sewer infrastructure are required to serve new development
  • Ensuring that development projects located within the CSS comply with the City’s CSS Management Policy for development/redevelopment

RiverRenew Program for the Combined Sewer System

River ReNew LogoThe City’s combined sewer system dates back to the 1800s and comprises approximately 540 acres located in the Old Town area. During most wet weather events, combined sewage (mixture of wastewater and stormwater runoff) discharges through one of four combined sewer outfalls into receiving waterways. In April 2017, the Virginia General Assembly passed a new law requiring the remediation of these outfalls by July 1, 2025. The City, working with Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew), submitted to a Long Term Control Plan (Plan) to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) in 2018. This Plan calls for the construction of an underground tunnel system to bring combined sewage to the AlexRenew wastewater treatment facility, thus significantly reducing both the number and volume of combined sewer discharges into City waterways. As of July 1, 2018, VDEQ has approved the Plan and the City has transferred ownership of the combined sewer outfalls to AlexRenew. AlexRenew is implementing as part of its RiverRenew Program.

AlexRenew, in cooperation with the National Park Service (NPS), has released an Environmental Assessment (EA) that evaluates the impacts of the RiverRenew project with respect to the environment, cultural resources and community. The EA was available for public review and comment through July 19, 2019. The NPS is in the process of evaluating the comments received and preparing its final Decision Document, anticipated for September 2019.

Read more about the RiverRenew Program.

City Council–AlexRenew Board Combined Sewer Project Workgroup

Joint  webbox 2 sewerIn order to facilitate partnership between the City and AlexRenew and to provide a liaison for input and feedback, on June 26, 2018, City Council passed a resolution to establish the City Council–AlexRenew Board Combined Sewer Project Workgroup. The workgroup includes two members of City Council, appointed by the Mayor, and two members of the AlexRenew Board. The purpose of the workgroup is to review and guide the plans, design, implementation, costs and financing of the CSO construction project with the intent of minimizing community impacts and maximizing community benefits. The next workgroup meeting is anticipated for October/November 2019.     

Read more about the City Council–AlexRenew Board Combined Sewer Project Workgroup.

RiverRenew Stakeholder Advisory Group 

Established through City Council Resolution No. 2850, a 13-member stakeholder advisory group (SAG) was formed to monitor the implementation of the RiverRenew Project. This group is comprised of a diverse group of citizens representing Alexandria neighborhoods, businesses, environmental groups and other stakeholders. The last RiverRenew SAG meeting was held Monday July 29, 2019. The next meeting is anticipated for October/November 2019.

Read more about the RiverRenew Stakeholder Advisory Group. 

Old Town Sewer Assessment and Rehabilitation Program

This project provides for the condition assessment of all sewers in the in the Old Town area (including the combined sewer area) of the City and remediation of structurally deficient sewers and sewer structures. This project will be completed in several phases. The first phase will begin in March 2019 and will consist of physical inspections of all manholes and inlets in the Old Town area. This phase of the project is anticipated to last approximately one year. Temporary no parking signs will be posted in work areas where access to these structures are needed to complete the inspection. 

Read more about the Old Town Sewer Assessment and Rehabilitation Program or contact Erin Bevis-Carver at 703.746.4154.

Citywide Infiltration and Inflow Remediation Program

Over the past two decades, the City has implemented a program to address excessive infiltration and inflow into sanitary sewers throughout the majority of the City. During wet weather, infiltration and inflow can result in sanitary sewers operating over capacity leading to sewer back-ups and release of pollutants into City waterways. sewers box4To date, the City has spent approximately $30M addressing infiltration and inflow by rehabilitating over 60 miles of sanitary sewer and repairing close to 3,200 manholes. The City has recently completed its post-construction flow monitoring program for the Holmes Run Sewershed and is in the process of assessing the level of infiltration and inflow reduced.

Read more about the Infiltration and Inflow Program or contact Suzanne Salva at 703.746.4059 for more information.

Sanitary Sewer Master Plan

 The City has developed a Sanitary Sewer Master Plan (Sewer Plan) to provide the City with a summary of its sanitary sewer assets and existing programs, and future needs corresponding to forecasted growth. The Sewer Plan was approved by Planning Commission and City Council for adoption as a chapter to the
sewers box5
City’s Master Plan in February 2013. The City is currently in the process of updating the plan for approval in Spring 2020 following outreach to residents, businesses and the development community. 

Read more about the Sanitary Sewer Master Plan or contact Erin Bevis-Carver at 703.746.4154 for more information.

Sanitary Sewer Geographical Information System (GIS)

There are over 240 miles of sanitary and combined sewers located within the City. Information about these sewers are available to the public on the City’s GIS Sewer Viewer.
sewers box6The Sewer Viewer displays the sewer network, and includes information such as pipe diameters, flow directions and manholes. 

What Can You Do To Help Protect the Sewer System?

We can all make a difference in helping to protect the sewer system. Sanitary sewer systems and wastewater treatment facilities are designed to collect and treat dirty water that has been used for toilet flushing, bathing and showering, washing clothes and dishes and other normal residential, business and institutional purposes. However, when certain items enter the sanitary sewer system, sewers can become clogged leading to sanitary sewer back-ups and sewer overflows into the environment. Below are some simple actions you can take to help protect the sewer system:Grease buildup in sewer

  • “Can the Grease”. DO NOT dispose of grease and oils into any sink or drain. Instead pour grease into a can, cool the can in the freezer, and then discard in the trash.
  • Wipe grease out of pots and pans with a paper towel prior to washing. Place paper towels in the trash.
  • Minimize use of garbage disposals as many foods are cooked or contain additional oils. Use strainers on sinks to catch food scraps and dispose of in the trash.
  • DO NOT flush non-degradable materials down the toilet. These include items such as so-called “flushable” wipes, paper towels, condoms, and personal hygiene items (tissues, feminine care products, Q-tips, etc).  Instead place these items in the trash.
  • Report any sanitary sewer issues to the City by calling 703.746.HELP (4357). 

Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) Brochure