Wastewater Management Certified as Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise
Oct. 19, 2010
Fairfax County’s County’s Wastewater Management Program received state certification today as an Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise or E4 facility. Only two other such programs in the state have received this certification to date.
As a result of the designation, the county will receive a 20 percent discount on its state discharge permit. This discount will contribute to the more than $100,000 in annual savings the Wastewater Program generates because of its environmentally friendly practices.
To achieve E4 status, facilities must use an integrated environmental management system. The county’s management system focuses on:
The Noman M. Cole Jr. Pollution Control Plant consistently meets federal pollution control standards 100 percent of the time and removes more than 99 percent of pollutants from 45 million gallons of wastewater daily. This helps protect the water quality of the county’s streams and watersheds, as well as the Chesapeake Bay. The plant’s lab has almost completely eliminated the use of mercury, which is harmful even in very small amounts.
The plant reduced its water use by almost 50,000 gallons per year, saving taxpayers approximately $90,800 last year. It also fuels its incinerator with methane gas from the county’s I-95 landfill, preventing the need to buy 300,000 cubic feet of natural gas per day. The plant also conserves energy because it cuts power consumption during peak demand, as well as uses solar power for some of its operations. Each year, employees also recycle 30 tons of asphalt that’s dug up when repairing sewer lines and keeps it waste from going to a landfill. This also saves approximately $1,600 a year.
The Sewer Science Program educates students about pollution and how to prevent itfrom entering local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. Since 2005, 8,309 students from 21 high schools have participated. To demonstrate how wastewater is treated, the plant conducts an average of 25 tours to about 800 people per year, including students, civic groups and scouts.
The E4 certification was granted through the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program. This program encourages superior performance through environmental management systems and pollution prevention.
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.
For more information, contact the Fairfax County Wastewater Treatment Division at 703-550-9740 ext. 255, TTY 711.
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director, Office of Public Affairs
703-324-3189, TTY 711, Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)
To request this information in an alternate format, call 703-324-3187, TTY 711