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The center will be situated on the campus of the H.L. Mooney Advanced Water Reclamation Facility
The Prince William County (Va.) Service Authority is expected to open the Durward E. Grubbs, Jr. Environmental Center by the middle of November 2015.
Situated on the campus of the service authority’s award-winning H.L. Mooney Advanced Water Reclamation Facility (AWRF) in Woodbridge, the Grubbs Environmental Center features a 6,200-sq-ft laboratory space. The building was designed to attain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The facility also includes an educational exhibit detailing the life cycle of treated water and the important role the Mooney AWRF plays in keeping the watershed healthy. The Mooney AWRF discharges cleaned wastewater into Neabsco Creek, which is a tributary of the Potomac River and part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Construction of the building was driven by the need to modernize and upgrade the existing Mooney AWRF laboratory, which was built four decades ago. With the larger space in the new building, service authority lab staff will be able to best serve customers as well as provide additional commercial lab services to other clients.
The service authority is the only utility in Northern Virginia with a nationally-certified lab for commercial wastewater testing, with the capability of analyzing everything from E. coli and coliform to total phosphorus and biochemical oxygen demand. The lab also performs extensive drinking water testing.
“The former laboratory space did not meet the needs of the growing population in Prince William County and the complexity of our treatment system,” said Service Authority General Manager Dean Dickey. “We have to look out for the health, safety and welfare of our customers and make sure we can do that in a highly responsive way.”
The Grubbs Environmental Center was named in honor of Durward E. Grubbs, Jr., a founding member of the service authority’s board of directors. Grubbs spent 27 years on the board, serving as chairman on multiple occasions. Board Chairman Joyce Eagles called him “larger than life” and a huge proponent of both the new lab and education center.
“He really wanted to involve the community and educate the youth of this community as much as possible,” Eagles said. “He saw this center as a good vehicle to do that.”
With informative and dynamic displays, the exhibit will better educate all who visit about the role of the service authority in relation to the health of the public and environment, said Community Relations and Outreach Manager Marlo Watson. Tours of the Grubbs Environmental Center are expected to be available for school and community groups later this year.
“The Grubbs Environmental Center will provide an excellent opportunity for children and adults to learn all about the trip water takes from source to tap and back again,” Watson said.