Hampton Roads wastewater-to-aquifer recharge project showing results

May 9, 2019

One year after the highly anticipated SWIFT project came online in Virginia, its trickle of activity continues to swell.

The ribbon-cutting for the SWIFT Research Center at the Hampton Roads Sanitation District’s Nansemond Treatment Plant took place on May 18, 2018. (Courtesy of SWIFT)

The Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow is an innovative solution to two problems that plague the Hampton Roads region: the need to cut down on pollution that flows into local waterways and the shrinking of the Potomac aquifer, the main source of water for eastern portions of the state.

In April 2018, instead of simply discharging the treated wastewater back into the rivers, the Hampton Roads Sanitation District began giving it an even greater level of treatment and then injecting it 2,000 feet into the ground to help recharge the aquifer’s increasingly dwindling stores.

A similar approach to aquifer recharge has been adopted elsewhere — particularly in the arid regions of the Middle East and Santa Clara Valley of California — but the proposal to adopt it on a large scale in a “wet weather” area of the East Coast was new.

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