Water Equity Clearinghouse

Alexandria Renew Enterprises

Alexandria, VA

Since its beginnings in 1952, Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew) has taken deliberate and focused action to restore water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River through effective wastewater treatment. As the Alexandria and Fairfax water resource recovery public utility, AlexRenew has cleaned and returned 13.2 billion gallons of water to the Potomac, often in cleaner conditions than the river itself. Thanks to the dedicated stewardship of this organization, the Potomac River received its best health score yet in 2016. In addition, the wastewater sector met its nutrient pollution goal protecting the Chesapeake Bay 10 years ahead of schedule.

Now the organization is working towards its 2040 Vision to help citizens establish personal connections with waterways through swimming and fishing, support a healthy and resilient local economy through stable rates and maximizing resource recovery, and create an informed citizen base that actively takes steps to personal and organizational water stewardship.

AlexRenew also impacts sectors outside wastewater, such as agriculture. Through the treatment process, about 6,000 tons of nutrient rich, ecofriendly biosolids are distributed to farms in 15 counties of Virginia as a way to move away from chemical fertilizers.

The organization is also able to have a positive impact on the energy sector through optimizing and upgrading treatment processes. In 2016, over 150 million cubic feet of methane gas were produced by the treatment process and captured to heat buildings and fuel generators. All in all, AlexRenew was able to reduce purchased energy by 32 investment - a win for the atmosphere, the organization, and its customers.

Efforts to Advance Water Equity

In order to make these landmark changes, AlexRenew required investment, innovation, and a commitment to its community. Much of this came from partnerships with other organizations interested in clean water for all. For example, in order to provide payment assistance for lower-income customers, AlexRenew partnered with United Way to launch the H2O (Help 2 Others) Fund, which gives temporary assistance to those struggling to pay wastewater bills.

AlexRenew also partners with the Urban Alliance’s High School Internship Program to mentor students, prepare them for professional environments, and provide formal job training for the water sector. In addition, AlexRenew provides Department of Labor approved apprentice training programs for operators, mechanics, and electricians. Creating a regenerating workforce will ensure that the wastewater sector continues to thrive alongside a supported and stable group of employees.

Geographic Scale:
Type of Organization:
Vulnerable Populations Served:
Lower-income Communities
Approach to Advancing Water Equity:
Capacity Building/Education
Direct Service