Wastewater Management provides safe, high-quality wastewater conveyance, advanced wastewater treatment, environmental monitoring, and wastewater reuse to protect public health, aquatic life, and the environment in Fairfax County.
Our goal is to protect public health by providing sustainable, efficient services to Fairfax County and the region. In 2020 we were recognized as a Utility of the Future Today by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, the Water Environment Federation, the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation, and the WateReuse Association with input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This distinction is based on our adoption of the seven UOTF principles.
All wastewater is treated using state-of-the-art physical, biological and chemical processes to remove pollutants and pathogens that are harmful to the environment. Wastewater from county homes and businesses is treated at one of several treatment facilities throughout the region. The county owns and operates the Noman M. Cole, Jr. Pollution Control Plant, located in Lorton, which treats approximately 45 million gallons of wastewater per day generated from nearly 340,000 homes and businesses.
Fairfax County Wastewater Management consists of a sophisticated network of pipes, pumps, flow-metering stations, tanks, retention ponds, buildings, motors, and sensors that make up the collection and treatment processes. This video takes you through the various treatment processes used at the Noman M. Cole, Jr., Pollution Control Plant and described how each step helps move our water one step closer to final treated wastewater that can be returned to local rivers and streams.
Staff in our certified environmental monitoring laboratory test wastewater flowing to and from our treatment plant daily. Their analyses ensure the county is in compliance with all permits, and their findings help identify threats to our infrastructure and the environment.
Fairfax County’s purple pipes program safely reuses treated wastewater. Reclaimed wastewater goes through an extensive treatment and disinfection process before being sold for irrigation and industrial uses. By reusing water, we conserve drinking water resources and prevent excess nutrients from flowing toward Chesapeake Bay.
Since 1984, Fairfax County, with assistance from George Mason University, has been monitoring water quality and aquatic life in the Gunston Cove area. As a major discharger of treated wastewater into the tidal Potomac River from the Noman M. Cole Jr., Pollution Control Plant, Fairfax County has been proactive in decreasing nutrients, a major cause of water quality impairment, since the late 1970s.
The Fairfax County Wastewater Management Program is committed to protecting and enhancing the environment and providing for the health, safety, and well-being of those who work, live, and visit in the county.