Every home and business in Stafford County uses water and generates wastewater from toilets, showers, baths, washing machines, and industrial practices. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, the dedicated team of Stafford County wastewater staff work through holidays, extreme weather, and a global pandemic to ensure the highest quality water is safely returned to our environment. During a shift, operators and mechanics will monitor and adjust flows and chemicals, inspect, clean and maintain equipment, take samples, perform lab tests, and record any observations. This work ensures the plant is running as efficiently as possible and within regulations.
Tim Jenkins, Assistant Plant Manager at the Little Falls Run Wastewater Treatment Plant, describes this field's work. "Water and wastewater operators work nights, weekends and holidays, sometimes all at the same time, to ensure 100% effluent compliance. That means that the lights are on, the equipment is properly operating and maintained, samples are collected and analyzed, and proper adjustments are made to the treatment process. All of this work is done in the effort to protect human health and the environment."
Stafford County has two award-winning wastewater treatment facilities—Aquia Wastewater Treatment Plant in the north and Little Falls Run Wastewater Treatment Plant in the south. Notably, Little Falls Run is one of only eight wastewater treatment facilities to receive the 15-Year Platinum National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) Award in the United States and the only one in Virginia. This award, given to wastewater treatment facilities that are 100 percent compliant with State and Federal permit requirements over a consecutive five-year period, has been maintained at Little Falls Run for the last fifteen years.
Stafford's team of treatment facility employees monitor an incredible 96 pump stations throughout the county 24 hours a day! Once wastewater leaves a home or business, it makes its way through sewage pipes to one of the treatment facilities. It often passes through pump stations designed to collect and transport wastewater from underground gravity pipelines to the point of higher elevation. It joins other nearby wastewater in the sewer main to a plant for treatment.
Wastewater goes through many steps at the plants and must meet strict requirements before returning to our waterways to assure the treated wastewater is virtually free of bacteria. The effluent is tested daily by employees at Stafford Utilities' certified lab, located at the Little Falls Run Wastewater Treatment Plant, to ensure that it is in a stabilized and high-quality state.
The photo below features employees David Farney and Ashton Banks, working at the Ingleside pump station. To view informative videos on treatment facilities and the types of jobs staff perform there, visit the water education page.