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Fairfax Co. staff propose to permanently get rid of vacuum leaf collection service

A final decision will be made by the Board of Supervisors this fall, and a public input survey is now open through August 18.

FAIRFAX, Va. — Fairfax County staff are proposing to get rid of vacuum leaf service completely after the upcoming winter season and are seeking input from current customers.

A final decision will be made by the Board of Supervisors this fall, and a public input survey is now open through Aug. 18.

County officials claim approximately 25,000 customers receive vacuum leaf collection service from Fairfax County’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services.

During the 2022-23 season, officials say the program experienced a number of setbacks.

This includes collection delays, staffing shortages, a larger volume of leaves than normal, and inclement weather.

After assessing the current service, county staff proposed to discontinue vacuum leaf service when the upcoming season concludes, along with the tax imposed for the service.

The recommendation to permanently stop the service is the result of operational issues negatively impacting the county’s ability to provide reliable vacuum service moving forward, and worries expressed by customers about public safety when leaves are at the curb or street awaiting collection, including:

  • Blocked storm drainages creating flooding concerns.
  • Pedestrian and vehicle conflicts when pedestrians are forced to walk in streets.
  • Fire hazards from vehicles parking on leaves.
  • Slip and fall hazards from walking on slippery leaves.
  • Reduced on-street parking. 

The county is also facing increased costs to provide leaf collection service.

Officials estimate the 2023 season will incur an approximate $900,000 deficit and another predicted $400,000 deficit at the end of fiscal year 2024. 

The service also conflicts with the Fairfax County's adopted sustainability policies to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions.  

 Trash collection provided by the county directly is a fee-based service, while vacuum leaf service is funded by a tax based on property value.

 Since billing for the service takes place in January, residents have already been charged for the 2023-2024 vacuum season, which will take place as scheduled.



The deadly altercation occurred in the 6300 block of Richmond Highway, which is in the Alexandria portion of Fairfax County on Thursday, May 11.

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