Monday, July 25, 2011

Episode 72 (July 25, 2011): Wastewater Treatment Plants, Nutrient Removal, and the Virginia Water Quality Improvment Fund

Click to listen to episode (2:20) 

Please see below (after the transcript and show notes) for links to news and upcoming events.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 25, 2011.

This week we feature another series of mystery sounds.  Have a listen for about 30 seconds, and see if you can guess where these sounds were recorded.  And here’s a hint:  It’s certainly no WASTE of time to learn about this community water facility.

If you guessed a wastewater-treatment plant, you’re right!  Conventional wastewater treatment removes solid materials, disinfects water, and removes materials that can reduce oxygen in streams receiving a plant’s discharge.  As noted in the recording, some plants now are taking extra steps to reduce levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, in order to help prevent an excess of those algae-stimulating nutrients in aquatic systems.  A major part of Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, for example, is increased nutrient-removal by wastewater-treatment plants.  One part of such efforts in Virginia is the Water Quality Improvement Fund, which provides money for nutrient-removal projects.  By law, the fund receives 10 percent of annual general revenues in excess of appropriations, so the estimated $311-million surplus for Fiscal Year 2011 that Governor McDonnell’s office announced on July 19 will mean an estimated $32.2 million for the water-quality fund.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


Acknowledgments: Quinn Hull recorded this week's sounds, and Bobby Epperly of the Blacksburg-VPI Sanitation Authority gave the plant tour during which the sounds and his comments were recorded.

Sounds heard in the recording: Incinerator room; chlorination chamber; high-pitched screech from a pump room; grit removers; algae-scrubbers on secondary clarifiers.

Sources: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Water Quality Improvement Fund Web site at (7/25/11), and Wastewater Treatment Web site at (7/25/11); Thomas V. Cech, Principles of Water Resources (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2003), pp. 359-361; Virginia Code, Sec. 10.1-2128; and  Governor McDonnell Announces Commonwealth Posts $311 Million Revenue Surplus for Fiscal Year 2011, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 7/19/11.  

Recent Virginia Water News
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Water Meetings and Other Events
            For events related to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Quick Guide to Virginia Water–related Conferences, Workshops, and  Other Events, online at  The site includes a list of Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring in the coming week.