October 14, 2022
Dear Neighbor,

My office has received a number of complaints about American Disposal's service. The county is taking steps to address these issues including a consent agreement between the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) and American Disposal Services, Inc. (ADS). This consent agreement was signed by ADS on September 28 and establishes a plan to resolve certain alleged violations of County Code Chapter 109.1. I have broken down the details of this consent agreement below.

Additionally, County staff are exploring ways to add neighborhoods and communities into County administrative control so that our Solid Waste Management Program will directly oversee hauling.

I have also outlined the County noise ordinances and enforcement mechanisms utilized by the Fairfax County Police Department (FCDP) and Department of Code Compliance (DCC).

Lastly, I want to share that the CDC expanded its recommendation for the use of the updated bivalent COVID-19 vaccine boosters for children ages 5-11 years. The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the updated booster from Pfizer-BioNTech for children aged 5-11 years and Moderna for children aged 6-17 years. Both can be given at least two months after completing primary or booster vaccination. The updated boosters target Omicron’s recent subvariants (BA.4 and BA.5) as well as the original virus that causes COVID-19. Parents may check with their pediatricians’ offices or medical providers to see if they are carrying the vaccine. The updated boosters are expected to be available at Health Department Fairfax County Government Center and South County Hyland Center vaccine clinics beginning the week of October 17. Parents are encouraged to make an appointment, however walk-ins are also available. The full announcement can be found here.

Supervisor Dalia Palchik
Addressing Trash Service Issues
Since January 2022, approximately 86% of service-related complaints received by DPWES have come from ADS customers. These complaints include missed collection of refuse, recyclables, and yard waste. In some cases, the complaints have been made by large HOAs and similar neighborhood organizations representing thousands of residents.

To resolve the alleged violations and establish an enforceable plan to address service shortfalls, ADS and DPWES have entered into a Consent Agreement that seeks to remove the economic benefits of non-compliance and sets forth a plan of required actions by ADS. Key provisions of the Consent Agreement include:

  • ADS will pay a $5,000 civil penalty;
  • ADS will execute a defined Recovery Plan that includes (but is not limited to) the following actions:
  • Post job advertisements at a minimum of 50 relevant outlets, including social media, and stage quarterly local job fairs.
  • Offer pre-paid tuition for CDL training (driver shortages are a significant factor in ADS' hiring struggles).
  • Hire additional drivers every week until the service problems are resolved, providing monthly written reports on progress.
  • Increase the starting wage of drivers by at least 20% and collection crews by at least 10%.
  • Retain seven additional customer service personnel.
  • Establish a service quality goal and lead measures/metrics (e.g., number of drivers absent, daily number of misses, average wait time at customer center, on-line satisfaction survey).
  • Establish a defined credit process for residential customers to cover all missed collections, effective January 1, 2023.
  • Provide written daily, weekly, and monthly status reports on misses and reschedules, and attend weekly meetings with DPWES Enforcement personnel to review progress on the Recovery Plan;
  • By December 31, 2022, make the necessary schedule modifications and notifications to customers for all changes in collection frequency. ADS reports that every residential customer will be affected by the schedule modifications and re-routing mentioned above; and
  • By December 31, 2022, maintain personnel and equipment to adequately serve the existing Fairfax County customer base.

Failure to collect properly set-out refuse, yard waste, and recyclables on a weekly basis and/or failure to complete the above changes timely will result in the application of significant, defined financial penalties each day until the overdue items are completed.

If you are experiencing customer service issues with your hauler and they are unresponsive, you may email my office or directly reach out to our Solid Waste Management staff by emailing [email protected] or calling 703-324-5230.
Noise Ordinance
The County’s noise ordinance is to acknowledge that certain noises constitute hazards to public health, welfare, peace and safety, and the quality of life of the residents of Fairfax County. Community members have a right to be ensured of an environment free from sounds jeopardizing these prevalent interests, provided that the restrictions are not inconsistent with either Federal or State law.

The noise ordinance accepts certain noises as allowable, prohibits other noises, and where a particular noise is neither specifically prohibited nor excepted, subjects that noise to maximum decibel levels. The ordinance seeks to qualify sources of sound by time, location, and duration limitations and is summarized on the County’s website by sound, applicable exceptions, and maximum decibel reading levels depending upon the source.

Noise Prohibitions
Under the current noise ordinance, certain noises are prohibited during nighttime hours or within certain distances from a residential dwelling. These include, but are not limited to the use of loudspeakers, outdoor construction, trash collection, use of power lawn equipment, and outdoor
truck loading/unloading. Additionally, “people” noise is prohibited during nighttime hours, including persons, motor vehicles, or instruments that generate audible and discernible sound in any other person’s residential dwelling with the doors and windows closed. Prohibition times vary based on location, i.e., mixed-use areas versus residential areas as these areas are defined in the noise ordinance, and date, i.e., weekdays and Federal holidays.

As it specifically pertains to animal-generated noises (excluding dogs, cats, birds, other pets), these sounds are prohibited between the hours of 10pm and 7am, or between 7am and 10pm when the sound can be heard for more than five consecutive or nonconsecutive minutes in
a ten-minute time period with limited exceptions.

Noise Exceptions
Certain noises are not subject to the ordinance, including but not limited to, motor vehicles traveling on a right-of-way, power equipment used for snow and ice removal, emergency work, heat pumps/air conditioners operating in accordance with manufacturer specifications on single family dwelling lots, and any activity specifically preempted by state or federal law. Certain daytime noises are exempted from the ordinance, including but not limited to, the operation of power lawn equipment, trash collection, activities on recreational grounds (excluding loudspeakers), bells, carillons, and other calls to worship with a frequency limitation.

Noise Ordinance Waivers
The Director of Planning and Development who delegates authority to the Zoning Administrator may waive any provision of the noise ordinance upon determining that a noise does not endanger the public health, safety, or welfare, or that compliance with the noise ordinance
would produce a serious hardship without providing equal or greater benefit to the public. Waivers may be granted for up to one year, with the potential to renew, and appeals can be made to the County Executive within 30 days of a decision.

Noise Ordinance Administration and Enforcement
Noise ordinance violations can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or civil penalty or via injunctive relief sought by the Board of Supervisors. The FCPD may only prosecute noise violations as a misdemeanor, and typically conducts enforcement of the ordinance during those non-business hours where DCC agents would not otherwise be working. Additionally, prosecutions of violations may be pursued before a sworn magistrate predicated upon the sworn complaint of at least two persons who are not members of the same household.

Noise complaints are normally made through the County’s website or by calling The Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC). On the County website, visitors are directed to the Noise Ordinance
Applicability Summary Chart for further guidance on whether noises qualify as a violation and who the responsible County agency is to contact for enforcement.

Identified Issue:
The root cause of community frustration with the noise ordinance is associated with being informed that the noise in question does not violate anything within the Noise Ordinance Applicability Summary Chart so the Police Department isn’t dispatched or when they are
dispatched and an officer arrives or calls the complainant and states “there is nothing we can do about this.” While officers are correct in that the noise may be permissible, nothing stops them from offering to speak to whomever is responsible for the noise to ask them to reduce/eliminate
the noise.
Contact Us
We want to hear from you! Please reach out to us with questions, comments or just to say hello. Please feel free to email us with events you would like to be included in my newsletter.

Office Phone: (703) 560-6946 | Email: [email protected]