National Award Honors Wastewater Management Program for Environmental Stewardship
Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010
June 19, 2003
National Award Honors Fairfax County's
Management Program for Environmental Stewardship
Fairfax County's Noman M. Cole Jr. Pollution Control Plant recently received the prestigious Platinum Peak Performance Award from the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA) to recognize the facility's outstanding accomplishments in wastewater treatment and environmental protection of water quality in the county, as well as improvement of the Chesapeake Bay water quality. The Platinum Award pays special tribute to those municipal wastewater treatment facilities that, for the past five consecutive years (1998 - 2002), have received Gold Awards for achieving 100 percent compliance with all National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit limits during a calendar year.
The Noman Cole Plant, operated within the Fairfax County Wastewater Management Program, was recently honored at a special awards ceremony held in May 2003 in conjunction with AMSA's 2003 National Environmental Policy Forum and 33rd Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
The Noman Cole Plant, located at 9399 Richmond Highway, Lorton, is the largest advanced wastewater treatment plant in the commonwealth of Virginia with design capacity of 54 million gallons per day. Nearly half of the 95 million gallons per day of wastewater generated in the county is currently treated at the Noman Cole Plant. The plant is operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the help of highly trained and skilled wastewater professionals in the field of operations, maintenance, information controls, engineering, management, and related critical support services, as well as water quality testing and environmental monitoring services.
In order to comply with stringent regulatory standards, the treatment
system at the plant consists of a series of complex and sophisticated
physical, mechanical, biological and chemical treatment processes for
removing 99 percent or more of the organic pollutants, nutrients, such as
phosphorus and nitrogen, and particulate matter from wastewater, in
addition to almost complete bacterial disinfection, and oxygen enrichment
of treated effluent prior to discharge to Pohick Creek.
The Wastewater Management Program maintains approximately 3,200 miles of
sanitary sewer lines, 51 sewage flow meters, 61 pumping stations, and 293
sewage grinder pumps 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 sewer. New
developments or existing homes with septic tanks in the county's approved
sanitary sewer service area can connect to public sewer. Arlington
County, Fort Belvoir, the cities of Falls Church and Fairfax, and the
towns of Herndon and Vienna are also permitted to have use of the
county's sewer system through separate service agreements. Through
inter-jurisdictional agreements, a portion of the wastewater flow
collected in the system is conveyed to four regional treatment facilities
operated by Arlington County, the District of Columbia (Blue Plains), the
Alexandria Sanitation Authority and the Upper Occoquan Sewage
As authorized by the Clean Water Act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources discharging treated wastewater effluent into waters of the United States. Point sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal sewer system, use a septic system or do not have a surface discharge do not need an NPDES permit; however, industrial, municipal and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters. Since its introduction in 1972, the U.S. EPA's NPDES permit program is responsible for significant improvements to our nation's water quality.
AMSA is a national professional trade association representing nearly 300 of the nation's public wastewater utilities which provide service to the majority of Americans. These wastewater treatment officials are professional environmental practitioners dedicated to protecting and improving the nation's public health and its water, and collectively treat and reclaim over 18 billion gallons of wastewater every day.
For more information, call the director of the Wastewater Treatment Division at 703-550-9740 ext. 255, TTY 711.