Alexandria Renew Enterprises – Taking Community Engagement to the Next Level

R3-Alexandria Renew-Plant 1A new multi-purpose athletic field is now open for public use in Alexandria, Virginia.  Although it may not be obvious, this field is very unique – it is built on top of an 18 million gallon nutrient management facility. The nutrient management facility was AlexRenew’s way of investing in technology to make its water product cleaner and to lead the way to a cleaner Chesapeake Bay for the region. Yet, the process is odorless, making it difficult for field users to even imagine what is happening right under their feet.

This project is the first in a larger undertaking by Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew) to better serve its community, make a positive impact, and increase community engagement. The South Carlyle Strategy, now in development for a decade, strives to revive an industrial neighborhood that once served as a landfill through an innovative and successful public-private partnership between AlexRenew, Carlyle Partners, and the City of Alexandria.

In addition to the field, a LEED Platinum certified Environmental Center will be opening in June 2016 to make room for additional water treatment processes and to provide a space for community engagement and public education. The Alexandria Renew Environmental Center will reconnect visitors with their watershed through exhibits on the history of water in the Alexandria area, how water flows from homes to AlexRenew, and the water resource recovery process. It will also feature space for Customer Service functions to improve customer experiences.

AlexRenew will also showcase its high quality bluRenew reclaimed water by using it in a fountain at the main entrance of the Environmental Center, and for irrigation and landscaping purposes in the South Carlyle mixed-use development project.  This public use of reclaimed water will be a great way to show customers about the benefits of reclaimed water use as AlexRenew completes its reclaimed water bulk fill station. All of these projects were designed through the collaboration to best integrate the facilities into the surroundings and meet community needs.

AlexRenew has gone above and beyond to become an agent of positive change in its community, fully embracing the Utility of the Future. Instead of just building a new treatment plant to meet EPA’s nutrient standards, AlexRenew seized the opportunity to rebrand its identity and work with partners to better serve its customers.  Through this innovative partnership, they were able to help transform an industrial neighborhood by expanding recreational greenspace, providing a public education center, and promoting the value of reclaimed water – and this was all possible without impacting rates due to the innovative financial agreements with partners.