There are more than 160,000 water and wastewater treatment plants in the United States. Given that number, it is an honor to receive recognition by the Water Environment Federation (WEF) as a Utility of the Future. Recently the Wastewater Management Program (WWM) received the distinction for its work at the Noman M. Cole Pollution Control Plant and its collection system, placing the facility among only 200 plants nationwide to be given the designation since its inception in 2016. The award is presented to cutting-edge agencies for innovation, technology, and culture change. It indicates that Noman Cole is a model program for efficient operations, enhanced productivity, and long-term sustainability, which also is recognized by EPA, NACWA, Water Environment Research and Water Reuse Foundation. An example is the project with George Mason University to monitor Gunston Cove. Now in its 40th year, through this project of oversight and upgrading the plant to the state-of-the-art treatment level, the cove has shown great improvement in the submerged aquatic vegetation, which indicates improved Cove water quality. This has resulted in the return of wildlife and aquatic life, such as river otters and eels.
Wastewater Management also was recognized, for the 20th consecutive year by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) with an award for Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. Each year an audit report is submitted to the GFOA, to make sure the money in the program’s $250 million budget is properly managed. The award ensures that fiscal accountability and responsibility is taking place.
For a third consecutive three-year cycle, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has recognized Wastewater Management as an Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise, or E4. The significance of that distinction means for nine straight years WWM has used its environmental management systems (EMS) to drive pollution prevention beyond the regulatory requirements. The EMS has been in place for 20 years and operating at the highest level of E4 for the last nine years.
For more information about the Wastewater Management Program, visit Wastewater Management | Public Works and Environmental Services (fairfaxcounty.gov).