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Navigating the Waters in Hampton Roads to Produce a Regional Peak Flow Management Program

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The Hampton Roads Regional Wastewater System consists of 14 municipal satellite collection systems in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, with regional wastewater treatment provided by the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD). The regional system serves over 1 million customers, and consists of approximately 5,800 miles of gravity sewer, 1,500 pump stations, and 1,120 miles of force main. The majority of the gravity sewer system and pump stations throughout the Hampton Roads region are owned and operated by the satellite municipalities. The design and operation of interceptor force mains is controlled by HRSD. Although the satellite systems depend upon a common network of interceptor sewers to convey flows, they have operated autonomously for decades.

There have been differing design and operating standards for the 14 satellite municipalities and HRSD since the creation of HRSD by a 1940 Act of the General Assembly of Virginia. These differences have contributed to pressure problems in pump stations and force mains, as well as sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) in the gravity systems under certain wet weather flow conditions. The lack of a consistent level of service definition and design standards has historically complicated the analysis of overflow causes and the development of mitigation measures.

In September 2005 EPA informed the regional collection system owners of their intent to initiate regional SSO enforcement action. The concept was that each of the regional municipalities would be under a Special Order by Consent (Consent Order) with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ), and HRSD would be under EPA enforcement. In September 2007, the Virginia Water Quality Control Board executed the Hampton Roads Regional SSO Special Order by Consent, launching the region into an enforcement action that would govern the activities of HRSD and the Localities for the next 20+ years.

This paper discusses the regulatory framework, regional collaboration process, the technical standards that were developed under the Consent Order, and the progress made toward achieving capacity assurance in the regional collection system.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2008-01-01

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