The facility is the first in Virginia and only one of 11 in North America to achieve Envision’s top distinction.
AlexRenew’s nutrient management facility (NMF), an 18-million-gallon treatment facility topped with a public athletic field, has received the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s Envision Platinum Award for sustainability.
Since the start of the Envision program, only 11 projects in North America have received a Platinum award, and this is the first in Virginia and the D.C. metro area.
“This award shows that wastewater utilities don’t have to be invisible to the communities they serve, but instead, can, and should, be active partners in creating livable and resilient cities,” said Karen Pallansch, CEO of AlexRenew. “We’re fortunate to serve customers and work alongside community partners who value sustainability and support efforts like this that have such a positive impact on our local waterways.”
The NMF stores wastewater to balance the amount of nitrogen that goes into AlexRenew’s biological treatment process. This helps AlexRenew reduce the amount of chemicals and energy needed to clean water and ultimately helps reduce the amount of nitrogen discharged into the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The facility’s dual-purpose nature, improving the health of local waterways while adding community green space, was key in achieving Platinum certification. Other sustainability efforts included using local and recycled materials, recycling construction waste, restoring a former landfill, expanding stream buffers, installing sustainable stormwater practices, and using energy and water monitoring systems.
The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program has become a commonly used tool for assessing a building’s sustainability level. The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s Envision program is a sustainability rating tool for infrastructure projects beyond buildings.
“Execution of the project required extraordinary vision on the part of AlexRenew, as well as a commitment to the principles of sustainability and involvement with the community,” said Dan Lynch, CH2M Client Service Manager for AlexRenew.
Under Envision, eligible projects are awarded one of three classifications, Silver, Gold or Platinum, based on their score against 60 criteria measuring their environmental, social and economic impact.
The NMF is the largest project under AlexRenew’s $160-million State-of-the-Art Nitrogen Upgrade Program (SANUP), the utility’s response to regulations limiting the amount of nutrients water resource recovery facilities can release into the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Earlier this year, the EPA announced the wastewater industry had met a key nutrient reduction milestone for protecting the Chesapeake Bay 10 years ahead of schedule due largely to upgrades, like SANUP, at water resource recovery facilities across the region.
To learn more about the NMF, please visit alexrenew.com/SANUP.