Fairfax County's Wastewater Treatment Plant Wins Pollution Control Award

June 19, 2009
OPA 123/09

News Highlights  

  • Noman M. Cole Plant recognized for meeting federal pollution removal standards 100 percent of the time.
  • Only nine wastewater treatment plants nationwide honored for 11 years of achievement by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.
  • The treatment plant removes between 99 and 99.5 percent of pollutants from 45 million gallons of wastewater daily.

More Information 

Fairfax County’s wastewater treatment plant has received an award for meeting federal pollution control standards 100 percent of the time for 11 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 nine municipal water treatment plants across the nation for meeting federal standards 11 years consecutively.

The plant removes between 99 and 99.5 percent of pollutants from 45 million gallons of wastewater daily. 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, 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 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, located at 9399 Richmond Highway, Lorton, 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 3,300 miles of sanitary sewer lines, 59 permanent sewage flow meters, 10 temporary sewage flow meters,65 pumping stations and 299 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.


Get News. Get Information. Get Fairfax County.Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director, Office of Public Affairs
703-324-3189, TTY 711, Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)
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