Wastewater Program Wins Award

Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 711, FAX 703-324-2010

July 10, 2006

Fairfax County Wins the Gold

National Award Honors Fairfax County’s Wastewater
Management Program for Environmental Stewardship

Fairfax County’s Noman M. Cole Jr. Pollution Control Plant recently received the Gold Peak Performance Award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies 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 Gold Award pays special tribute to those municipal wastewater treatment facilities that achieve 100 percent compliance with all National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit limits during a calendar year.

The Noman Cole Plant, located at 9399 Richmond Highway, Lorton, is the largest advanced wastewater treatment plant in the commonwealth of Virginia with a design capacity of 67 million gallons per day. Nearly half of the 100 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 fields 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. These processes remove 99 percent or more of 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 sewers. New developments or existing homes with septic tanks in the county’s approved sanitary sewer service area can connect to public sewers. Arlington County, Fort Belvoir, the cities of Falls Church and Fairfax, and the towns of Herndon and Vienna also are permitted to use 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 Authority.

As authorized by the Clean Water Act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Program controls water pollution by regulating point sources, which are discrete conveyances such as pipes, discharging treated wastewater effluent into waters of the United States. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal sewer system, use a septic system or that 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 the nation’s water quality.

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies 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 more than 18 billion gallons of wastewater every day.

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

To request this information in an alternate format, call the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 711.

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