What happens to your dirty water when it goes down the drain after you flush your toilet, take a shower, wash your dishes, or do your laundry? Find out by joining us on a plant tour of the Noman M. Cole, Jr., Pollution Control Plant where you can Learn how we keep the Potomac River clean and what you can do to help protect the environment.
What should I expect?
There is nothing like getting that first-hand experience where the sights and sounds encountered make lasting impressions in our minds. You will see our wastewater treatment plant in operation and gain a better understanding of the work we do to clean the most valuable resource on earth – our water. The impressive processes and innovative designs used to enhance the quality of water treated and the safety of our workers is sure to provide you with an experience you will remember.
Plant tours are FREE of charge.
Tours are offered during the months of March through November.
Scheduled to start between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
MAXIMUM group size of 30 participants at a time.
Participants must be high school age or older.
Groups younger than 18 years are required to have chaperones (ratio of 1 chaperone to 15 students)
Either walking tours or student bus tours are available. Bus tours will take about 2.5 hours. Walking tours will take about 3 to 3.5 hours.
All members of the tour group should be comfortable in an outside environment, which includes walking a significant distance in an industrial setting.
We reserve the right to cancel tours in the event of inclement weather, construction or other activities.
Plant tour requests must be completed one month prior to requested dates.
Fairfax County is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in all county programs, services, and activities and will provide reasonable accommodations upon request. If you anticipate the need for special accommodations, please note them on the request form.
Plant tours are held at 9399 Richmond Highway, Lorton VA.
What will we learn?
Every plant tour is a little different. Do you have a specific topic, question, or concern associated with the wastewater treatment process that you would like addressed during the tour? Not a problem. When planning your tour, we will work with you and tailor the tour to meet your objectives.
In general, the tour may cover:
The major treatment processes that wastewater goes through – from Primary Treatment to Final Treatment, as well as analytical testing performed in the laboratory.
The regulations that need to be achieved before being discharged into the Potomac River via Gunston Cove.
Improvements made at the plant to continually improve/enhance the quality of our discharge water.
What students/residents can do to become more proactive stewards of our environment and help improve water quality.
Plant Tour Safety
Noman M. Cole Jr., Pollution Control Plant is an industrial site that operates 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and maintains a sound safety culture. You may encounter routine work activities as well as possible construction sites at the plant during your scheduled tour.
To keep everyone safe, there are some dress requirements and protective equipment that will be required for use during the tour.
Personal Protective Equipment:
Sturdy closed shoes that are ankle high, like sneakers (no flip-flops, sandals, clogs, open toes shoes, or heels)
Long pants (no shorts or skirts are allowed)
Hard hats and safety vests will be provided.
Please be aware of vehicles in the roads and walk to the sides of the roads or sidewalks.
Stay with tour group at all times.
Watch for overhead hazards or objects protruding from walls as you walk into buildings.
Be aware of liquid on the floors that may cause a slip hazard.
Watch your footing when stepping up, down or on uneven ground.
Avoid touching equipment – may be in operation and/or contaminated with wastewater.
Do not lean on or over railings or tanks.
These are the safety requirements that everyone attending the plant must be willing and able to adhere to or they will not be allowed into the plant operations area.
Sign Me Up!
To request a plant tour, complete and submit the online request form. Once the request is received, we will contact you for further coordination and planning for your tour. We look forward to seeing you soon!