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Organization - Environmental Services OSEM Arlington Chamber of Commerce Member

Organization Details:

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Environmental Services OSEM
Last updated on April 3, 2014

DES provides many services that residents enjoy every day, such as trash collection, recycling, providing drinking water, wastewater treatment, road and sewer maintenance, transportation planning, traffic lights, bike/walk trails, sidewalks, and much more.

The Environmental Planning Office of DES oversees the County's watershed management program, stormwater program, and green building programs. Our goal is to protect and restore local streams, which also helps protect the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. Volunteers help us in many ways, such as by collecting data on water quality and helping educate other residents about preventing pollution.

Streams are an important recreational resource in Arlington as well as a part of the County’s natural heritage. Arlington’s stream valley parks such as Glencarlyn, Barcroft, Bluemont, Lubber Run, Long Branch, and Potomac Overlook are among the County’s most attractive natural resources and most used recreational areas. In addition, the County spans the Piedmont/Coastal Plain transition zone known as the ‘fall line’—characterized by geological features such as rocky outcrops and waterfalls. Metropolitan areas such as Washington and Baltimore are located where they are in part because of the fall line’s historical significance as the limit of upstream navigation.

However, development in Arlington has significantly impacted the nearly 30 miles of perennial streams in the County. More than half of the County's original stream network has been replaced by a dense network of underground storm sewers. During storms, these storm sewers convey a large volume of runoff and pollutants to streams at high velocities, causing streambank erosion, water quality problems, and habitat degradation.

Today, Arlington County is a highly urbanized jurisdiction, with 30-40 percent of the County covered by impervious surfaces such as streets, parking lots, and buildings that do not allow rain to soak into the soil. In general, stream degradation begins when imperviousness exceeds 10 percent. Urban development and runoff are among the leading causes of water pollution in the U.S., and more than 20 percent of US streams and rivers are impaired because of urban runoff and its effects on water quality and stream habitat. This is one of the key environmental challenges facing Arlington County and its citizens today.

Contact person: Jen McDonnell, Program Coordinator, (703) 228-3042, (email)


 2100 Clarendon Blvd., 7th Floor, Ste 705
Arlington, VA 22201
This location is handicap accessible
(See a map)

Web Site:


 Directions to Courthouse Plaza are available at:
  Nearest Metro/Subway Stop: Courthouse Metro Station,
  Walk distance (in minutes): 1
Last updated on April 3, 2014

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2100 Washington Blvd
3rd Floor
Arlington, Virginia 22204
Tel: 703-228-1760
TTY: 703-228-1398
Fax: 703-228-1013

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