Prince William County government’s Public Works’ Solid Waste Division received the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Gold Medal Award for its Sustainability Program. The awards, which were given during the 24th Annual Environment Virginia Symposium in Lexington, Va. last week, recognize the significant contributions of environmental and conservation leaders in two categories - sustainability and land conservation. Award winners were chosen based on several criteria, including environmental benefit, stakeholder involvement, public outreach, transferability and innovativeness.
The County’s Sustainability Program is a broad program that encompasses cutting edge initiatives in recycling, water quality, storm water protection, erosion control, air quality, alternative energy, material reuse and habitat development. As a part of its outreach efforts, facilities have been opened to citizens, school groups, bird watchers, business groups and professional organizations. The Solid Waste Division credits the program’s success to management support, a strong working relationship with regulatory agencies, and importantly, community stakeholder involvement and pride. Examples of the positive outcomes of the division’s efforts are the 2012 “Audubon at Home” wildlife sanctuary designation at the landfill and the prolonged life expectancy of the landfill to 2065 through citizen education and expanded recycling and composting opportunities.
Tom Smith, chief of the County’s Solid Waste Division, said, “Prince William County recognizes the importance of protecting the health, safety, and environment of the community we serve. I’m very proud of what the County has accomplished with regards to environmental sustainability.”
The Solid Waste Division has had an Environmental Management System since 2003. It operates the only active landfill in the state that has been accepted into the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program at the E4 level, the highest level of the program.