Landmark for groundwater replenishment

Published 9:31 pm Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The Hampton Roads Sanitation District celebrated a refreshing achievement for its Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow program on Friday.

According to the press release, 100 million gallons of drinkable SWIFT water has successfully been replenished into the Potomac Aquifer at the SWIFT Research Center located at HRSD’s Nansemond Treatment Plant in Suffolk.

The program takes sewage water and treats it to drinking-water standards, then injects it into the underground aquifer in an effort to stop the sinking of the ground in the area and other issues.

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This SWIFT Research Center uses advanced treatment processes and is capable of recharging the dwindling groundwater resources in the Potomac Aquifer at a rate of one million gallons per day.

“SWIFT is an innovative water treatment project designed to ensure a sustainable source of groundwater to meet current and future needs in the region,” according to the press release. “The project takes HRSD’s already highly treated water that would otherwise be discharged into the Elizabeth, James or York rivers and puts it through additional rounds of advanced water treatment to produce drinking-quality water.

“The SWIFT water is then treated to match the existing groundwater chemistry and added to the Potomac Aquifer, the primary source of groundwater throughout eastern Virginia, ensuring a sustainable source of groundwater while addressing environmental challenges such as Chesapeake Bay restoration, sea level rise and saltwater intrusion.”

Research conducted at the SWIFT Research Center provides critical information that will be used to inform design and implementation of full-scale SWIFT facilities.

According to the press release, HRSD plans to begin construction on the first of five full-scale SWIFT facilities by 2020, which will ultimately increase aquifer replenishment to 100 million gallons per day when all five facilities are online in 2030.