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Noman Cole Pollution Control Plant Disinfection Improvements Win ACEC Metro Washington Grand Pinnacle Award

New facility protects water quality for residents and offers unparalleled safety measures for staff.

(FAIRFAX, VA. – updated May 24, 2024) – The Disinfection Improvements project at the Noman Cole Pollution Control Plant (NCPCP) was recently awarded the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Metropolitan Washington Grand Pinnacle Award for its exceptional degree of innovation and complexity while providing sustainable solutions to protect the water environment and public health in Fairfax County.

The project successfully replaced an aging and obsolete sodium hypochlorite disinfection process at the 67-mgd NCPCP with a state-of-the-art ultraviolet disinfection (UV) system – a long-term solution for reliable and cost-effective treatment. In addition to the UV system upgrades, the project addressed a wide range of owner needs including replacement and consolidation of four pump stations, relocation of chemical storage, and reliable flow measurement. The innovative design approach ensured Fairfax County's commitments to staff safety, exceptional effluent quality, and carbon footprint reduction all while improving public awareness and appreciation for water reclamation.

By improving water quality and enhancing the aquatic ecosystem, Fairfax County has successfully accomplished environmental protection in a location where the public can experience the results of an exceptional engineering project. Members of the public can stand at an outfall structure in Pohick Creek to see where highly treated effluent is returned to the environment. The downstream water body, Gunston Cove, offers residents fishing and other recreational water sports. Fairfax County also provides facility tours for school groups and members of the public, and the new facility showcases the direct benefits of wastewater treatment, water reclamation, state-of-the-art technology, and architectural considerations.

This project is Fairfax County's first Construction-Manager-At-Risk (CMAR) project, and the success is a direct result of the collaboration between the engineer, Hazen and Sawyer, Construction Manager Ulliman Schutte Construction, and the owner, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES).

Using the Construction-Manager-At-Risk (CMAR) delivery model, the project team was able to identify cost and schedule saving measures in design while accommodating numerous unforeseen field conditions in construction. The phased approach for design and construction allowed the Contractor to complete site work and subgrade structures while the detailed design was completed, and the final construction cost was less than the guaranteed maximum price agreed to at 90% design.

Disinfection VR

During the design, BIM models were processed into a 3D visualization model that was viewed with the Microsoft HoloLense headset. County staff could wear a headset to “enter” a facility before it was constructed and actively engage in the design review process and provide feedback on the location and functionality of new equipment, access stairwells, and sampling locations.

The project incorporates innovative features to ensure worker safety when performing operations and maintenance tasks near the UV channels. One unique feature is the design of a horizontal channel cover that automatically opens and closes based on the position of the UV lamps. This system was the first of its kind, designed to mitigate the fall risks associated with open channels during maintenance activities and maximize space for easy equipment access.

Hazen staff explaining the approach for utilizing the innovative rolling cover system after project completion.

“I couldn’t be happier with the exceptional design and construction of the NCPCP Disinfection project. It not only met but exceeded our expectations, demonstrating unparalleled expertise and dedication from the entire team. This project has truly set a new standard for excellence.”
~ Carey Needham, Deputy Director Capital Facilities, DPWES

In May 2024, the project was further recognized, being named an ACEC National Recognition Award winner at the 2024 ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards Gala in Washington, DC.

ACEC’s annual Engineering Excellence Awards competition recognizes engineering firms for projects that demonstrate an exceptional degree of innovation, complexity, achievement, and value. The top project entries receive ACEC/MW Grand Awards, with one receiving the Grand Pinnacle Award. For more information about the Noman Cole Pollution Control Plant, please visit the Fairfax DPWES website.