Frequently Asked Questions About AlexRenew

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Frequently Asked Questions About AlexRenew

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About AlexRenew
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Who is AlexRenew
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AlexRenew is the wastewater treatment authority for Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County. The Alexandria Sanitation Authority (ASA) was established in 1952 as the first Authority in Virginia, to build, operate and maintain a new sewage treatment system to serve Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County. ASA officially began operation in 1956. On Earth Day, 2012, ASA became Alexandria Renew Enterprises, and in 2023 it became AlexRenew. 

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What does AlexRenew do?
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AlexRenew is a team of just over 100 essential and hardworking professionals who operate a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant, that processes 35 million gallons of wastewater each day for more than 300,000 customers. Our team works 24/7/365 to provide a valuable public health service to our community, and to protect local waterways from pollution. 

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Where is AlexRenew located?
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1800 Limerick Street in Alexandria is home to our Environmental Center (which houses our administrative offices), and our wastewater treatment plant. Our facilities are near Old Town, just a block south of Eisenhower Avenue, near the Duke Street Whole Foods.

Google Maps Link

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Who is responsible for managing the different parts of Alexandria’s water system?
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Three organizations manage and support the water system in Alexandria: Virginia American Water, the City of Alexandria and AlexRenew. 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 interceptor pipes, which bring the water to our wastewater treatment facility, where we clean it before returning it to our local waterways!

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Why does AlexRenew clean part of Fairfax County’s dirty water?
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Wastewater is transported 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.

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Billing & Customer Service
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How do I stop and start my service?
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Virginia American Water Company provides AlexRenew 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. Contact Virginia American Water at (800) 452-6863, 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.

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How can I update my contact information?
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If any of your account information (phone number, e-mail address, etc.) changes, please let us know! The best way to manage your account is through AlexRenew’s customer payment portal. You can also contact AlexRenew’s billing department directly at 703-721-3500 (7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday) or billing@alexrenew.com. For name and/or address changes, please contact Virginia American Water Company.

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Can I sign up for electronic and/or paperless billing?
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AlexRenew offers customers the ability to choose paperless billing offered directly through our website. Sign up for paperless billing and auto payments by visiting myalexrenew.com.

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What is your “winter average,” and how is it used for your AlexRenew bill?
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Some of the water that you use during summer, from activities like washing your car or watering your lawn, does not flow into the sanitary sewers and is not treated at our wastewater treatment plant. To help ensure you are only billed for the wastewater treated by AlexRenew, your bill uses a winter average. 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) which is called your “winter average” or 4,000 gallons*, whichever is greater. Learn more at https://alexrenew.com/what-is-the-winter-average

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Why do I have two water bills, one for water and one for wastewater?
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Most Alexandria citizens receive two separate bills: One for the clean water that’s delivered to your home by Virginia American Water, and one for the wastewater treatment services provided by AlexRenew.

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Why is my AlexRenew wastewater bill sometimes higher than my drinking water bill?
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Treating wastewater is a more complex and costlier process than bringing drinking water into your home. We also have a responsibility to protect the health of the Potomac River where we discharge wastewater after it’s treated. By treating Alexandria’s wastewater, we can ensure our local waterways are as healthy and safe as possible.

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What is the Residential Activation Fee?
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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.

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Are fees incurred for late payments and returned checks?
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A 10 percent late fee is levied on outstanding balances not paid by the due date. Returned checks and electronic payments not honored by the customer’s bank are subject to a $35.00 fee.

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Where can I get more information or ask a question about my wastewater (sewer) bill?
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For your AlexRenew wastewater bill, please call us at 703-721-3500 or submit your question online.

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Do you have a past-due amount on your AlexRenew bill? AlexRenew offers flexible payment plans through PromisePay to help.
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AlexRenew offers flexible payment plans to our customers with past-due bills through PromisePay. PromisePay will connect directly with customers who are behind in their payments to help those customers reduce past-due bills.   

To set-up a payment plan for your AlexRenew bill, please visit: http://alexrenew.promise-pay.com/ or call 703-844-0505. For more information about our partnership with PromisePay and its work with the Virginia Department of Social on LIHWAP, visit our news page. 

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The Wastewater Treatment Process
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What happens to wastewater after we clean it?
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After AlexRenew treats wastewater, we discharge clean water into Hunting Creek, a south Alexandria tributary that flows into the Potomac River before reaching the Chesapeake Bay.

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What does AlexRenew remove from wastewater?
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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
  • Grit
  • Oils and grease
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Sediment
  • Pathogens

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How does AlexRenew re-use the material that’s removed from dirty water?
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We convert part of the cleaned water into reclaimed water, which helps to operate our equipment. The water treatment process generates excess gas that AlexRenew captures and reuses as energy to help operate our facilities. We also produce biosolids from the solid waste that is left over.

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What is Reclaimed Water?
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Reclaimed water is clean, highly treated wastewater that is a biproduct of the treatment process. While not potable, it can have many other uses. Through its state-of-the-art treatment process, AlexRenew produces reclaimed water that can be used for a variety of purposes, including irrigation, air conditioning, even toilet flushing. 
Using reclaimed water can benefit our environment by reducing the amount of nutrients discharged into the Chesapeake Bay watershed and by reducing stress on our water supplies.

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: cooling towers, make-up water, or boiler feed water
•    Construction activities
•    Industrial uses
•    Reclaimed water cannot be used for drinking, hand washing, or food preparation.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) regulates AlexRenew’s reclaimed water system. These regulations govern system design, water quality, permitting, and water usage. 

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Business Status and Funding
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Is AlexRenew a for-profit business?
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We do not make profits, have shareholders, or pay dividends. AlexRenew works closely with the City of Alexandria to provide a service to the community that is critical to public health. 

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Is AlexRenew a private, for-profit business? Is it a division of the City of Alexandria?
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No, we are neither. AlexRenew is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia - a public entity, independent of the City government both administratively and financially. We do not make profits, have shareholders, or pay dividends. We get our authority to operate through the Virginia Water and Waste Authority Act. 

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Where does AlexRenew get its funding?
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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. We are not part of the City’s budget. 

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Rates and Investing in Infrastructure
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Who sets rates, and how do they determine when and why to increase rates?
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The AlexRenew Board of Directors, a 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: 

1.    Fiscal responsibility to cover our costs of service; 
2.    Transparency and appropriate public notice and input;
3.    Compassion through payment flexibility options;

Diligent planning and projections to avoid drastic increases year after year. Our rates for cleaning Alexandria’s water are comparable with other local water cleaning agencies as well as those across the country.


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How does your investment benefit our community?
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The investments we make in our technology and infrastructure allow us to clean up to 54 million gallons of water every day. Currently, we treat more than 35 million gallons of wastewater each day, and 13 billion gallons of wastewater each year.

The region’s wastewater utilities, including AlexRenew, have played an instrumental role in bringing local water quality to its highest level in several generations. 

•    Less than 50 years ago, the Potomac River was labeled a national disgrace for having one gallon of raw sewage for every six gallons of water. 
•    The Potomac River, Chesapeake Bay and other local waterways are the healthiest they’ve been in years.
•    The regional water community has achieved critical nutrient reduction goals 10 years ahead of schedule.