Wastewater Treatment Plant Earns Pollution Control Award for 13th Consecutive Year

June 1, 2011

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All Awards Earned by Wastewater Management

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Fairfax County’s wastewater treatment plant has received an award for meeting federal pollution control standards 100 percent of the time for 13 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 eight municipal water treatment plants across the nation.

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 are treated at the plant. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is designed to treat 67 million gallons of wastewater per day.

The Wastewater Management Program also has earned a 2010 Governor's Environmental Excellence Award for its community outreach efforts, including a program for high school students. The county was one of only 20 award recipients statewide, and was recognized with a bronze medal in the Environmental Programs category.

In an approved sewer service area that covers nearly 234 square miles, 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
  • 299 sewage grinder pumps

More than 85 percent of the 325,000 households and virtually all businesses in the county are connected to public sewers.

For more information, contact the Office of Public Affairs, at 703-324-3189, TTY 711.



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