The Prince William County Service Authority has signed Virginia’s largest wastewater treatment design-build contract, launching the design portion of an estimated $150 million upgrade and expansion of the H.L. Mooney Water Reclamation Facility in Woodbridge, Va.
The first phase of the planned expansion will significantly lower the amount of nitrogen released from the facility to 3 ppm, a level that will be enforced by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) beginning Jan. 1, 2011. The current DEQ regulation for effluent nitrogen levels is 8 ppm for wastewater treatment plants that, like the Mooney facility, discharge into the Potomac estuary. The expansion will also increase the amount of wastewater the plant can treat daily to allow for future development in Prince William County, in accordance with the County’s Comprehensive Land-Use Plan.
“The Service Authority has always been a steward of the environment, and we are doing our part to protect the Chesapeake Bay,” said Dean Dickey, general manager. “We are proud to begin such an important project for the environment and the people of Prince William County.”
Excessive amounts of nitrogen have been known to spark expansive algae blooms in the Chesapeake Bay that can, among a number of effects, reduce the amount of sunlight that submerged aquatic vegetation needs to survive. Fish and other aquatic species may die when unconsumed algae sinks and is decomposed by bacteria that deplete oxygen from bottom waters.
The Mooney facility can currently treat 18 million gal of inflow per day. Its capacity will increase to 24 mgd by July 2010 when the first phase of the expansion is complete. The Service Authority has contracted with the design-build team of Pizzagalli Construction Co. and CDM to accomplish the project.
“We are committed to meeting the needs of our growing community and protecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” said Durward Grubbs, chairman of the Service Authority Board of Directors. “The expansion of the Mooney facility will help ensure that our customers enjoy continued quality service while we do all we can to protect our environment.”
Other upgrades to the facility and equipment will be accomplished in the second phase of the expansion, concluding the project in 2012.