Wastewater Treatment Plant Wins Pollution Control Award

Aug. 18, 2014
For Immediate Release
Contact: Irene Haske, 703-324-5821, TTY 711

Wastewater Treatment Plant Wins Pollution Control Award


News Highlights:

  • Noman M. Cole Plant recognized for meeting federal pollution removal standards 100 percent of the time.
  • The treatment plant removes between 99 and 99.5 percent of pollutants from 40 million gallons of wastewater daily.

Fairfax County's wastewater treatment plant received a Platinum Peak Performance Award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies for meeting federal pollution control standards 100 percent of the time 16 years in a row.

Federal rules strictly control more than 100 substances that are present in wastewater. The plant's achievement helps protect the water quality of the county's streams and watersheds, as well as the Chesapeake Bay.

To comply with federal regulations, the plant uses a series of physical, biological and chemical treatment processes. Before being discharged into Pohick Creek, pollutants such as phosphorus and nitrogen, bacteria and particulate matter are removed from wastewater.

Municipal, industrial and other facilities must obtain federal permits if their wastewater discharges directly into surface waters. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Program controls water pollution by regulating point sources, such as pipes that discharge treated wastewater effluent into streams and rivers. This permit program is responsible for significant improvements to the nation's water quality since 1972.

The Noman M. Cole Jr. Plant is the largest advanced wastewater treatment plant in Virginia. Nearly half of the 100 million gallons per day of wastewater generated in the county is treated at the plant. It is operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and was designed to treat 67 million gallons of wastewater per day.

The county's Wastewater Management Program maintains approximately 3,400 miles of sanitary sewer lines, 84 permanent and temporary sewage flow meters, 63 wastewater pumping stations, 142 sewage grinder pumps, 29 miles of pressure sewer force mains, four miles of water reuse force mains and two water reuse pumping stations in an approved sewer service area that covers nearly 234 square miles. More than 85 percent of the 325,000 households and virtually all businesses in the county are connected to public sewers. New developments and the majority of existing homes with septic tanks in the county's approved sanitary sewer service area have public sewer availability.

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies represents more than 460 of the nation's public wastewater utilities, which provide service to the majority of the nation. Wastewater treatment officials are professional environmental practitioners dedicated to protecting and improving the nation's public health and its water.

For more information, contact the Fairfax County Wastewater Treatment Division at 703-550-9740 ext. 255, TTY 711.


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