511 

 

water quality degraded resulting in massive algal blooms due to over enrichment with plant nutrients; 
periodic episodes of taste and odor in the finished drinking water; low dissolved oxygen levels; periodic 
fish kills; and generation of hydrogen sulfide in the bottoms waters of the reservoir. In 1968 - 1969 a 
study under the auspices of the State Water Control Board (SWCB), determined that water quality 
deterioration in the reservoir was caused by substandard wastewater discharges from 11 secondary 
wastewater treatment plants and non-point sources of pollution. In July of 1971 the SWCB adopted A 
Policy for Waste Treatment and Water Quality Management in the Occoquan Watershed (VSWCB, 
1971). The Occoquan Policy was based on installing advanced wastewater treatment practices with 
effluent remaining in the watershed. The Policy included an implicit recognition that an indirect re-use 
of treated wastewater would become the operational norm in the Occoquan Watershed. It also 
recognized that extraordinary measures would be required to protect the public health in a situation 
where a water body was to be subjected to the competing uses of wastewater disposal and public water 
supply. UOSA has been operating under the Policy since its start-up in 1978. Following the 
commissioning of UOSA, the water quality of the Occoquan Reservoir has greatly improved. The Virginia 
DEQ recognizes the water quality protection benefits of the UOSA nitrified discharge on the Occoquan 
Reservoir in State permits. The UOSA plant is relatively unique in that the highly treated output from the 
plant supplies roughly 10% of the inflow into the Occoquan Reservoir, which provides drinking water 
used by the Fairfax County Water Authority. During drought periods the plant may briefly provide up to 
90% of the reservoir inflow. In effect, Fairfax Water is drawing a portion of its influent from recycled 
wastewater. UOSA has proven, indisputably, that treated plant effluent is actually far cleaner than the 
stream sources of surface water inflow into the Occoquan Reservoir. 

Promoting Ongoing Sustainably into the Organizational Culture:  In addition to promoting water 
reclamation and reuse as part of its organizational culture, UOSA’s Executive Management adopted a 
Sustainability Policy in January, 2012, that demonstrates UOSA’s commitment to environmental, 
economic and social stewardship through sustainable practices.  The goal is to maintain UOSA’s cost 
effectiveness while attempting to achieve better environmental and social sustainability by 
incorporating sustainable business practices. The Sustainability Policy contains the following elements: 
Capital Improvements Design & Construction, Purchasing, Solid Waste Reduction & Recycling, Chemical 
Use, Energy Consumption, Fleet Management, Storm Water Runoff, Air Emissions, Office 
Administration, Sustainable Communication, and Sustainable Staffing. 

The Sustainability Policy states, “UOSA will ensure all staff are fully aware of the Sustainability Policy and 
are committed to implementing and improving it. There shall be an open channel of communication 
about sustainability and the sustainable goals throughout the organization.  The goal is to incorporate 
sustainable thinking in guiding every employee’s day-to-day decisions.”  

A major factor in the successful organizational culture at UOSA is sustaining a highly trained, involved 
and dedicated staff.  UOSA encourages membership and participation in multiple local, state and 
national professional organizations such as VWEA, VAAWWA, VAWARN, VAMWA, NACWA, WEF, WERF, 
AWWA, Work for Water and Water Reuse. UOSA staff have held committee chair, vice-chair, and 
member roles in both local and national chapters of these organization. UOSA staff have presented 
many technical papers at local, state and national conferences. Through these efforts, UOSA continues 
to attract and retain employees, who possess integrity, dedication and superior abilities.