AlexRenew's Green Spaces
As part of the State-of-the-Art Nitrogen Upgrade Program (SANUP), in 2016, AlexRenew constructed our Nutrient Management Facility (NMF) to meet stricter regulations set by Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality. This facility was the first of its kind in Virginia, and was one of the first in North America to achieve the highest Envision Award Level (Platinum) for Sustainability. This project restored previously inaccessible land and added a recreational amenity to benefit the citizens of the City of Alexandria and the environment.
What does the Nutrient Management Facility do?
The NMF stores wastewater to balance the amount of nitrogen that goes into AlexRenew’s biological treatment process. This helps 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.
“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.”
After treating the wastewater it receives from the City of Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County, our water resource recovery facility discharges the water into Hunting Creek and the Potomac River. The NMF is the latest addition to the urban water resource recovery facility’s campus. Our facilities, including the NMF, are designed to meet some of the strictest wastewater treatment standards in the world.
Why was the Nutrient Management Facility awarding the highest Envision sustainability award?
As the largest construction project of the award-winning State-of-the-Art Nitrogen Upgrade Program (SANUP), the NMF contains a sustainable planning, design, and construction program cooperatively developed by AlexRenew and lead consultant CH2M (now Jacob’s Engineering). The SANUP program operates within industry best practices for energy efficiency while reducing potable water consumption, mitigating health and safety risks, increasing community relations, reducing the use of chemicals, and using environmentally preferable materials.
Dan Lynch of CH2M, Client Service Manager, has seen the project evolve from initial conception to completion, “CH2M has been pleased to support AlexRenew on this important project. 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. These are principles that CH2M shares with AlexRenew, and that is what has made this project so rewarding for everyone involved.”
This project received high scores in all five of the Envision categories; quality of life, leadership, resource allocation, the natural world and climate, and risk.
Key accomplishments include:
Natural World (NW):
The Nutrient Management Facility preserved floodplain functions, replaced acres of impervious surface with vegetated areas, improved aquatic habitat connectivity, and enhanced the natural habitat. The project team permanently removed 85,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil from the site and selected only native plant species with high habitat value that require no pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers for the site’s landscaping, thereby protecting surface and groundwater contamination.
Sustainability is a core value of AlexRenew, and the NMF project was planned, designed, and constructed in accordance with the sustainability strategies developed by AlexRenew for the State-of-the-Art Nitrogen Upgrade Program. Sustainable priorities, goals, and targets were tracked during design and construction and further validated through the use of the Envision sustainable infrastructure framework and rating system.
This project is tangible evidence of AlexRenew’s strong commitment to sustainable development as demonstrated in their public-facing environmental policies and vision statements, organizational structures and business processes.
Quality of Life (QL):
By building a multi-purpose lit regulated athletic field, the NMF project restored previously inaccessible land, and added a recreational amenity to benefit the citizens of the City of Alexandria. This project also includes a trail connection to a large greenspace that will be constructed within a mixed-use development in the adjacent property. It restored the site with high-quality architectural and landscaping standards that integrate well with the community.
As Alexandria’s Water Transformers, we remain committed to bettering the quality of life for the entire community.