SPSA - Southeastern Public Service Authority
About SPSA - History

SPSA's core purpose shall be defined in the Virginia State Code as,
"management of the safe and environmentally sound disposal of regional waste".

Our History

Historically, solid waste in southeastern Virginia had been handled by the individual localities in accordance with local and state regulations. Each city or county either collected and disposed of waste within its borders or transported the collected waste to a neighboring city for disposal. Commercial and industrial waste was collected by private haulers but disposal was restricted to the community in which it was generated. Many of the communities faced the growing challenge of how to handle their waste effectively.

The local communities had already realized a need for a regional water supply system, so in 1973, they created the Southeastern Water Authority of Virginia, pursuant to the Virginia Water and Sewer Authorities Act. This organization never reached operational status as a water authority and in 1976, by agreement of the local municipalities, became the Southeastern Public Service Authority. Its responsibilities were expanded to include the implementation of a regional solid waste disposal system to include a resource recovery operation, featuring a Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) Plant and a Power Plant.

At SPSA's inception, the organization had no staff, no funds and no facilities or equipment. Staff for the regional planning agency, the Southeastern Virginia Planning District Commission, acted as SPSA staff until 1978 when a full time staff was employed. Initial funding was provided by $3,000,000 of bond anticipation notes secured by four local communities.

During 1978 and 1979, design was initiated on the RDF and Power Plants. From 1979 to 1984, 30-year contracts with all eight communities were executed providing for them to deliver 95 percent of their waste to SPSA and to pay the established fees. Also during this period, the Navy, with SPSA's help, obtained a $160 million congressional appropriation to acquire and operate the Power Plant. Additionally, transfer station sites were selected, design completed and construction started. In 1982, a 300 acre landfill site was acquired in a rural section of the city of Suffolk and construction was completed in 1985. In 1985, the Regional Landfill and the Norfolk, Chesapeake, Franklin and Portsmouth Transfer Stations became operational. The Portsmouth Transfer Station was closed in 1987 when the RDF Plant was completed.

During 1986 and 1987, additional transfer stations were opened in Southampton and Isle of Wight and the Oceana Transfer Station was acquired from the city of Virginia Beach. Construction was completed in 1987 on the RDF and Power Plants and operation of the resource recovery system began in 1988. In mid-1990 SPSA assumed operation and maintenance responsibility for the Power Plant.

During the time facilities were being constructed, operating and administrative staff were employed. Heavy equipment for the landfill and transfer stations and transfer vehicles were acquired. Funding was provided by bond issues of $26 million and $107.8 million in 1984 and $20 million in 1985.

In 1995, SPSA adopted a Vision, Mission and Values statement to give the agency a direction and a plan to continue serving the communities of southeastern Virginia into the future.

In late 2008, the economic downturn in the nation had a devastating impact on SPSA. The loss of solid waste and a history of borrowing funds for capital purchases put the organization in the worse monetary position it ever faced.

Through cutbacks in or elimination of programs, reductions in its employee base, the commitment of the 8 communities which make up SPSA to support financial reorganization, working with the various lending institutions to which the organization owed money and the sale of SPSA's largest asset, the Waste to Energy facilities in Portsmouth, for $150 million to pay down debt, SPSA rose from being on the edge of insolvency to an organization with substantial cash reserve and capable of a very bright future.

SPSA's use and support agreements with its 8 member ends on January 24, 2018. This means that SPSA will have no means of generating income after this date. The SPSA Board of Directors in mid 2010 will be developing a long range operating plan to set the course for the organization over these years.

What the organization will be or will not be is a direct result of what the 8 communities, or a portion thereof, determine. SPSA's life after 2018 is in the hands of the communities.

News and Information






  Please remember that SPSA does not  accept cash, checks or money orders as payment at any of its locations. 


Southeastern Public Service Authority (SPSA) | 723 Woodlake Drive, Chesapeake, VA 23320 | Ph: (757) 420-4700 | VISIONEFX