Consideration of a proposal to eliminate the service has been suspended for now. The department sought public feedback on the recommendation this summer, citing environmental concerns, rising costs and “operational issues,” including staff shortages and collection delays.
Annandale Today first reported last week that DPWES has backed off its plan, citing an email from Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross, who represents most of the approximately 25,000 residents who use the county’s leaf collection services.
DPWES staff maintain that the service may not be worth continuing long-term, but the results of this summer’s online survey convinced them that it’s not the right time to end it.
“Seasonal vacuum leaf service is not necessary to maintain healthy trees, has negative environmental impacts, detracts from the County’s core residential trash collection service, and creates public safety challenges,” DPWES said in a press release. “However, results from an online survey conducted by DPWES indicated most respondents were in favor of keeping the service and many current customers needed more information about alternative leaf management methods.”
An online petition opposing an end to leaf collections has garnered almost 1,500 signatures. In an Oct. 19 update, the petition creator credited Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay and other supervisors who represent the affected residents with halting the proposal.
McKay’s office confirmed to FFXnow that he had directed staff to pause the proposal at a recent meeting with them.
DPWES says it will use the next few years to conduct an outreach campaign focused on informing residents “on more environmentally-beneficial alternatives to manage leaves on-site,” such as mulching and composting. The county also collects yard waste as part of its regular trash services.
The department notes that residents can petition the county to voluntarily withdraw from the service.
This year’s vacuum leaf collection season will start as scheduled in November.
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