Fairfax County’s Wastewater Treatment Plant Wins Award for 10 Consecutive Years of Pollution Control

Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs
703-324-3187, TTY 711, Fax 703-324-2010
Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)

June 5, 2008

Fairfax County’s Wastewater Treatment Plant Wins Award for 10 Consecutive Years of Pollution Control

Fairfax County’s wastewater treatment plant has won an award for meeting federal pollution control standards 100 percent of the time for 10 years in a row.

The Noman M. Cole Jr. Pollution Control Plant recently received a Platinum Peak Performance Award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. This distinction was only given to 64 of the approximately 16,500 municipal water treatment plants across the nation.

The plant removes up to 99 to 99.5 percent of pollutants from 67 million gallons of wastewater treated daily. Federal rules strictly control more than 100 substances that are contained in wastewater. The plant’s achievement has protected 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, mechanical, biological and chemical treatment processes. Before being discharged into Pohick Creek, pollutants; nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen; bacteria; and particulate matter are removed from wastewater.

Municipal, industrial and other facilities must obtain federal permits if their wastewater discharges go directly into surface waters. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Program controls water pollution by regulating point sources. These sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes, discharging treated wastewater effluent into streams and rivers. Since its introduction in 1972, this permit program is responsible for significant improvements to the nation’s water quality.

The Noman M. Cole Jr. Plant, located at 9399 Richmond Highway, Lorton, is the largest advanced wastewater treatment plant in the state. Nearly half of the 100 million gallons per day of wastewater generated in the county is currently treated at the plant. It is operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and was designed to treat 67 million gallons per day.

The county’s 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.

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies represents nearly 300 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. Collectively, they treat and reclaim more than 18 billion gallons of wastewater every day.

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


Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. To request this information in an alternate format, call the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 711.

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