NEWS ALERT: Board defers Canterbury Woods trash decision

Vote delayed until county presents a plan to improve existing service

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors today deferred a decision on whether to approve petitions from Canterbury Woods and other neighborhoods to ditch their private trash haulers in favor of county-run waste pickup.

The reason for the delay: a severe shortage of commercially licensed drivers that has left bags of yard waste piling up in areas currently served by the county, which handles waste collection for about 10% of households.

The majority of the county is served by private haulers—American Disposal Services and Republic Services—which have also struggled with staffing shortages and missed pickups.

It’s been over a year since 292 of the 517 homes of Canterbury Woods voted to move to county trash collection—surpassing the 55% threshold to trigger a board decision. Since then, it’s been a roller coaster process—initially put on hold because of the pandemic and the driver shortage, then restarted, and now put on hold again.

During a hearing this afternoon, Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw expressed frustration over the “mixed messaging” from the county’s public works department, which had told Braddock Buzz in August it was confident it could provide quality service to Canterbury Woods—but then reversed itself during today’s hearing.

“In terms of providing the service that we would want to provide, no, we cannot do that,” said Christopher Herrington, director of the county’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, in response to questioning from Walkinshaw.

The vote on the trash petitions has been delayed until public works officials can present a plan for improving service for the county’s existing sanitary districts.

“There’s no point in expanding and creating new districts if we can’t handle what we’ve got,” one Herndon resident testified, noting that the county hasn’t picked up his yard waste in over four weeks.

Added Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross: “Adding this many households in January makes no sense. … The service is in a hole, and it needs to stop digging.”