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Our Story

Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future

Our Beginnings

Back in the day, solid waste in southeastern Virginia was handled completely by individual communities. Each city or county would either collect and dispose of waste within their borders or haul the waste to a neighboring city for disposal. Commercial and industrial waste was collected by private haulers but the city or county still had to handle disposal locally. Many of the communities found themselves facing a growing challenge of how to manage their waste in a way that was efficient and effective, while still keeping costs low for tax payers

In 1976, these local communities came together to create a solution that would remove the burden of each community having to face their waste management challenges alone. Reimagined from a previous effort to form a regional water supply system, the Southeastern Public Service Authority was created to implement a regional solid waste disposal system, including a resource recovery operation featuring a Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) Plant and a Power Plant.

In SPSA’s early days we had no staff, no funds, no facilities, and no equipment. The Southeastern Virginia Planning District Commission acted as SPSA staff until 1978 when, through the efforts of four local communities, funding was secured to support the hiring of full-time employees. With dedicated staff and a budget for design and construction, SPSA was able to hit the ground running and begin working in earnest.


Our Growth

In less than a decade, SPSA was able to entirely transform the way that Southeastern Virginia was managing their solid waste. All eight communities came on board with 30-year agreements to allow them to deliver 95% of their waste to SPSA for a fair price. The RDF and Power Plants were designed and completed, and with SPSA’s help, the Navy received $160 million in congressional funding to acquire and operate the Power Plant. Transfer station sites were selected, designed, and constructed and land that would become the Regional Landfill in Suffolk was acquired and made viable for use.

And all during that time facilities were being designed and constructed and communities were having their needs met in a new way, we were hiring more staff, securing equipment for the landfill and transfer stations, and growing our fleet of transfer vehicles through funding provided by bonds.

As the years went by, SPSA became fully established as a partner southeastern Virginia could trust to deliver dependable service to meet their waste management needs.


  • 1973 Southeastern Water Authority of Virginia established
  • 1976 Southeastern Public Service Authority established
  • 1978 Funding for full-time staff and operations
  • 1979-1984 30-year contracts with all eight communities were executed. SPSA to process 95% of waste
  • 1982 308 acre landfill site acquired in Suffolk, VA
  • 1985 The Regional Landfill and the Norfolk, Chesapeake, Franklin, and Portsmouth Transfer Stations became operational
  • 1987 The Portsmouth Transfer Station closes after completion of the RDF Plant
  • 1990 SPSA assumes operation and maintenance of the Waste to Energy Power Plant adjacent to the RDF Plant
  • 2002 525 landfill acres acquired adjacent to the Regional Landfill
  • 2009 SPSA debt restructured
  • JANUARY 2010 House Bill 1872 becomes effective changing SPSA's Board to its current structure of eight governor appointed and eight locally appointed directors
  • APRIL 2010 Sale of Waste to Energy Facilities to Wheelabrator Technologies
  • 2016 Good Neighbor & Host Community Agreement with City of Suffolk
  • 2017 SPSA is debt free
  • JANUARY 2018 Effective date for new Use and Support Agreements with all eight communities
  • FEBRUARY 2019 New Waste Disposal Agreement with Wheelabrator through June 2027 with two renewal options of up to five years each

Our Future

In 2010 Virginia legislation mandated a change to the structure of SPSA’s governing body, the Board of Directors. This adjustment helped usher in a time of refocused dedication to fiscal responsibility, transparency in leadership, and the highest standards of environmental accountability.

The results of these changes can be seen in the financial solvency of the organization, how we conduct our public meetings, how we continuously monitor the Regional Landfill, and most importantly, the way we proudly serve our communities. That is why all eight of our member communities have extended their use and support agreements with SPSA through June 2027.

In this new era at SPSA we are dedicated to making choices for the future based on the needs of the communities we serve. Our goal is to provide you with a dependable service that not only gets the job done, but does it in a way that you can feel good about. From our scale attendants and truck drivers, up to our Executive Director, we are hard at work every day to fulfill that promise to you. We’re looking forward to a bright future together.