Frequently Asked Questions
Billing and Customer Service
How do I stop and start my service?
Virginia American Water Company provides us with all of our account information and meter readings. For this reason, all of our account holders must also have an account with them. To start or stop service, you must please first do so with Virginia American Water Company. They can be reached at (800) 452-6863 or (703) 549-7080, Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Or visit Virginia American Water's webpage on turning service on/off.
How can I update my contact information?
If any of your account information (phone number, e-mail address, etc.) changes, please let us know! Contact our billing department directly at (703) 721-3500 (7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday) or firstname.lastname@example.org. For name and/or address changes, please contact Virginia American Water Company.
Can I sign up for electronic and/or paperless billing?
Thanks for asking about paperless billing! AlexRenew strongly believes that having a paperless option is important for a number of reasons, including minimizing negative impacts to our environment. We are happy to offer our customers the ability to opt in to paperless billing offered directly through our website, instead of having to use a third-party vendor. You can sign up for paperless billing and auto payments by visiting alexrenew.myutilityportal.com.
What is the “winter average?”
When it comes to your wastewater service, you should only be charged for your indoor water use and not for warm-weather activities like washing your car or watering your lawn. If you live in a single-family residence, the maximum water use on your AlexRenew bill from March through November is capped. The cap is set at either the average monthly residential use during the previous winter period (December through February) or 4,000 gallons*, whichever is greater.
For instance, if your winter average is 5,000 gallons, when your household uses less than the 5,000 gallon cap, you are billed for your actual use. When you use more than 5,000 gallons, your wastewater treatment charge is capped at 5,000 gallons.
Multi-family dwellings, such as condominiums and apartments, typically have separate metered irrigation services and are not covered by the winter average.
*The 4,000 gallon average was set by AlexRenew based on the calculated average amount of water used by our customers during the winter period. The winter average concept was developed to reflect the average amount of water used indoors by a household and is a validated national process used by many wastewater utilities.
Why do customers have to pay a separate water/wastewater bill?
Most Alexandria citizens receive two separate bills: one from Virginia American Water, which provides clean water to your home, and one from AlexRenew, which cleans your dirty water once it goes down your pipes.
What is the Residential Activation Fee?
The Residential Activation Fee is a one-time, non-refundable fee that covers the cost to initiate service with Alexandria Renew Enterprises. This fee is charged to all new residential accounts.
Why does my AlexRenew bill cost more than my other water bill?
Transforming your dirty water into safe and clean water is a more complex – and, as a result, costlier – process than bringing drinking water into your home. By thoroughly transforming your dirty water, we can ensure our local waterways — the source of much drinking water — are as healthy and safe as possible.
Where can I get more information or ask a question about my wastewater (sewer) bill?
For your AlexRenew wastewater bill, please call us at (703) 721-3500 or submit your question online.
Customers who need help paying their sewer bill with AlexRenew should contact Customer Service at 703-721-3500 (Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).
Who is AlexRenew?
The Alexandria City Council created the Alexandria Sanitation Authority (ASA) in 1952 as the first Authority in Virginia, to build, operate and maintain a new sewage treatment system to serve the City and parts of Fairfax County. ASA officially began operation in 1956. On Earth Day, 2012, ASA became Alexandria Renew Enterprises or AlexRenew. We changed our name because we felt that it better reflected our role reclaiming, recycling, and renewing natural resources from dirty water.
What do we do?
AlexRenew is a team of essential and hardworking water professionals who transform dirty water to clean water by operating an advanced water resource recovery facility that serves more than 300,000 people in Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County. Our team treats 35 million gallons of dirty water each day, working 24/7/365 to provide a valuable public health service to our community, and to protect local waterways from pollution.
Is AlexRenew a for-profit business? Is it a division of the City of Alexandria government?
The answer to both of those questions is no. AlexRenew is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The AlexRenew team works closely with the City of Alexandria to provide a service to the community that is critical to public health. We do not make profits, have shareholders, or pay dividends. Instead, we provide clean and safe water, every hour of every day, at a stable rate, year after year.
Who is responsible for managing the different parts of Alexandria’s water system?
One Water Alexandria is a team of three organizations who manage and support the water system: Virginia American Water, the City of Alexandria and AlexRenew. All three of us play a critical role in providing, transporting, and cleaning our city’s water. Virginia American Water supplies clean water to Alexandria homes and businesses. Once it’s used, the water goes down the drain and enters a sewer system of pipes that is maintained by the City of Alexandria. These pipes connect to AlexRenew’s interceptors, which bring the water to our treatment facilities, where we transform dirty water into clean water to be sent back to our local waterways!
Why does AlexRenew clean part of Fairfax County’s dirty water?
We transport dirty water through a system of pipes, taking advantage of gravity to move the water from homes and businesses to our wastewater treatment plant. Due to the topography of the land in this region, our facility sits at a low drainage point. Building a wastewater treatment facility to serve both communities made good engineering and practical sense.
Where is AlexRenew located?
1800 Limerick Street in Alexandria is home to our Environmental Center (which houses our administrative offices), and our water resource recovery facility. Our facilities are near Old Town, just a block south of Eisenhower Avenue, near the Duke Street Whole Foods.
What happens to wastewater after we clean it?
After AlexRenew’s team of water transformers cleans Alexandria’s dirty water, we release the sparkling, odor-free water into Hunting Creek, a south Alexandria tributary that flows into the Potomac River before reaching the Chesapeake Bay.
What does AlexRenew remove from dirty water?
Everything that goes down the drain or is flushed down the toilet makes its way to our treatment plant. Once water arrives at our facility the flows go through several phases of our water cleaning process, which removes or neutralizes:
- Large objects, like branches, trash, and rags
- Oils and grease
Why is it important to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from dirty water before it’s released into our watershed?
Nitrogen and phosphorus fuel the growth of algae blooms in our region’s watershed. Nitrogen nourishes plant life, but it also starves aquatic life of oxygen. Too much nitrogen results in “dead zones,” where nothing can live.
How does AlexRenew re-use the material that’s removed from dirty water?
We convert part of the cleaned water into reclaimed water, which helps to operate our equipment. In 2018, we used 1.5 billion gallons of reclaimed water. In the future, we will provide reclaimed water to qualified industrial customers.
The water treatment process generates excess gas that AlexRenew captures and reuses as energy to help operate our facilities. Last year, the AlexRenew team captured and reused 95 percent of the methane gas we produced while cleaning dirty water.
We also produce biosolids from the solid waste that is left over. In 2018, AlexRenew provided 5,500 tons of biosolids — a safe, natural alternative to chemical fertilizers – to 50 Virginia farms in 18 counties, which they used as soil amendment to enrich the land.
What is reclaimed water?
Reclaimed water is clean, odorless, highly-treated wastewater. While reclaimed water is not potable, it can have many other uses. Through its state-of-the-art treatment process, AlexRenew produces reclaimed water that we can put to good use through a variety of purposes, including irrigation, air conditioning, even toilet flushing!
What are the benefits of using reclaimed water?
Customers who use reclaimed water help our environment by reducing the amount of nutrients discharged into the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In addition, customers using reclaimed water are conserving potable (drinking) water while reducing stress on our water supplies.
How can reclaimed water be used?
Reclaimed water can be used for:
- Irrigating lawns, golf courses, and most landscaping
- Washing cars and other vehicles
- Power washing and street cleaning
- Commercial air conditioning, such as cooling tower make-up water or boiler feed water
- Construction activities
- Industrial uses
Reclaimed water cannot be used for drinking, hand washing, or food preparation.
Who regulates reclaimed water?
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) regulates AlexRenew’s reclaimed water system. These regulations govern system design, water quality, permitting, and water usage.
Do Alexandria citizens pay to clean Fairfax County water?
No. Fairfax County pays AlexRenew for the water treatment services it receives, and contributes to its operating and capital expenses. In 2014, Fairfax County paid about $55 million for operating expenses, improvements and capital projects.
Where does AlexRenew get its funding?
We get most of our funding from our customers, who are the citizens and businesses of the City of Alexandria, part of Fairfax County, and a small part of Arlington County. AlexRenew does not receive funding from the federal government. We are not part of the City’s budget. In FY2018, we received almost $39.36 million from customers for the services we provided.
Is AlexRenew a private company?
No. We are a public entity, independent of the City government both administratively and financially. That means we manage ourselves and must find our own funding. We get our authority, or power to operate, through the Virginia Water and Waste Authority Act.
How often do the rates change?
Rates are set by the AlexRenew Board of Directors. This five-member citizen board calculates rate increases with an eye to sustainability of operations and rate stability for our customers based on a four-point philosophy:
- Fiscal responsibility to cover our costs of service;
- Transparency and appropriate public notice and input;
- Compassion through payment flexibility options;
- Diligent planning and projections to avoid drastic increases year after year.