Patuxent Water Filitration Plant - Executive Summary

| Accident History | Chemicals | Emergency Response | Registration | Source | Executive Summary |

Patuxent Water Filtration Plant EPA/RMP Executive Summary 6/21/99 
   The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission  (WSSC) is a quasi-government agency established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1918 as a regional (bi-county) organization under Article 29 of the Annotated Code of Maryland, to provide water and sewer services for two Maryland counties adjacent to Washington DC.  WSSC provides water and sewer to both Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties, Maryland, serving 396,000 customer accounts and an area of nearly 1,000 square miles. 
   The WSSC Vision - Since we are entrusted by our communities to provide safe drinking water, to ensure reliable service, and to safeguard the environment, we will demonstrate, through our daily performance in meeting these responsibilities, the importance of earning the trust and advocacy of our customers.  We will be recognized as pioneers in our field an 
d will be looked up to by our peers.  Our leadership role in community involvement will forge working partnerships that place trust in our customers interests as they place trust in our tested experience. 
   We inspire among our employees sensitivity and responsiveness to customers needs, with a commitment to excellence at every level in the organization.  We will develop  an empowered  and diverse work force representative of the public we serve, and one that will exhibit a sense of individual  values that translate into teamwork, pride, and personal responsibility. 
   Our Mission  -  We are entrusted by our community to provide safe and reliable water, lifes most precious resource, and return clean water to our environment, all in a financially responsible manner. 
   To fulfill our mission of providing safe, reliable water that meets or exceeds all standards for purity and of returning clean water to the environment--all in an efficient, fina 
ncially responsible manner--WSSC operates and maintains an extensive array of highly automated facilities.  Its two water filtration plants, drawing from the Potomac and Patuxent rivers, produce an average of 166 million gallons of pure water per day, and over 5,000 miles of water mains deliver that product to homes and businesses in Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties.  The Commission operates three reservoirs, with a total capacity of 14 billion gallons, to ensure a reliable water supply for all seasons and conditions. 
   A six-member commission governs WSSC--three members from each county.  The Commissioners are appointed to four-year terms by their respective county executives, and confirmed by their county councils. 
   The Commissions powers and responsibilities are set forth in State law and in subsequent legislative amendments.  The Maryland General Assembly conferred these powers upon the WSSC to enable it to fulfill its principal functions. 
   The Commissions major functions are to: 
-    provide for the construction, operation, and maintenance of water supply and sanitary sewerage systems in Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties, 
-    approve the locations of, and issue permits for, utilities installed in public ways, and  
-    establish water consumption rates, sewer usage rates, connection charges, front foot benefit charges, and permit fees, and if required, cause ad valorem taxes to be  levied. 
   The Commission also: 
-    reviews preliminary subdivision plats as to suitability of water and sewer design, and reviews street grades for those streets in which there are Commission facilities, 
-    formulates regulations, issues permits for, and inspects all plumbing and gas-fitting installations, and 
-    conducts examinations for master and journeyman plumbers and gas fitters, and issues licenses to those qualified to perform plumbing and gas-fitting work. 
   The Bureau of Operations is responsible for  
providing overall supervision, management, coordination, and administration of the Water and Wastewater Divisions.  The Bureau Office formulates operating policy and procedures, provides technical advice to the Commission and staff, and participates in inter and intra-agency meetings.    The Bureau Director serves as Chairman of the Blue Plains Regional Committee, and the Principal Civil Engineer serves as Chairman of the Blue Plains Technical Committee.  These Committees are charged with administration of the Inter-municipal Agreement, or IMA, which governs regional coordination on Blue Plains issues.  The Bureau Director also serves as WSSCs representative on the Council of Governments Environmental and Public Works Directors Committee (a committee which develops environmental policy recommendations for the Board of Directors), the Montgomery County Water Quality Advisory Group (which advises the Council on water policies) and the Chairman of the WSSC Plumbing Board (which makes po 
licy recommendations regarding the Plumbing Code).  The Bureau Director provides the supervision, management, and administrative control of the Water and Wastewater Divisions. 
   This divisions mission is to provide a reliable supply of high quality water to the Washington Suburban Sanitary District.  In particular, the Division is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the Commissions watersheds, impounding dams and reservoirs, water filtration plants, and water distribution system.   The Division is also responsible for the maintenance of adequate volume and pressure of water for fire fighting and of adequate water pressures at customer taps throughout the bi-county area.  
The division emphasizes in addition to traditional approaches to the treatment of drinking water quality, staff to research and continue to place particular emphasis on addressing low level contaminants.  WSSC staff work closely with local and national professional organi 
zations as well as with State and county agencies and the EPA to ensure that, within fiscal constraints, our treatment methods are effective and consistent with current research findings.   
The Patuxent WFP is located at 6101 Sandy Spring Road, Laurel, Maryland.  It is the smaller of the Commissions two water treatment plants and is designed to provide approximately 72 million gallons of water per day (mgd) to the distribution system. However, with future renovations to upgrade the plant it is expected that the plant will deliver an average plant flow of 60 mgd during the renovation.  
  The plant operates 24 hours a day with a minimum of two operators on every shift.  Assigned personnel to the facility monitor systems and processes to ensure compliance with current EPA water quality standards.  The plant personnel are also responsible for Rocky Gorge Pumping Station, the Pretreatment Facility, the Sludge/Reclaim Pumping Station, the Patuxent Finis 
hed Water Pumping Station, and Duckett Dam.   
The Potomac and Patuxent WFPs have consistently processed water well within the maximum contaminant level (MCL) limits as established by the EPA - Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).  Based on the record the WSSC has water filtration plants have qualified for continued participation in the Partnership for the Safe Water, a partnership between the EPA, water associations, and individual utilities to improve water quality in advance of promulgation of regulations.   
   Performance and safety are the hallmarks of the Patuxent Plant. The plant has an active and aggressive safety and training program. Safely operating the plant facilities to protect it and the environment is paramount.   WSSCs Safety Section, the Plants Superintendent and Chief Plant Operator train the staff regularly on plant operations, accident prevention, and for emergencies.  Annual training includes CPR, Lockout/Tagout, Right-to-Know, Personal Protective Equipment, emergency 
repair of chlorine cylinders, Confined Space Entry, Rescue & Retrieval, etc.  As a WSSC requisite for long-term employment, wastewater Plant Operators must pass an examination to become certified by the State of Marylands Department of the Environment. This ensures that Plant Operators are fully capable of effectively operating the plant. The plant has successfully operated several years without a lost time accident over the past decade.  
   The plant is designed to provide reliable operations year-round.  Power to the plant originates from two different electrical sources, providing electrical redundancy, thereby reducing the potential occurrence of a total power outage.    The plant is designed with redundant equipment at every phase of the treatment process.  Thus, when an equipment failure occurs, the process can continue producing a high quality final effluent and providing maximum protection to our environment. 
The Commission accidental release prevention pr 
ogram is part of the agencys overall Safety & Health Program and involves a unified approach that integrates technologies, procedures, and management practices to ensure our workers and the public a safe environment.  The RMP requirement is essentially an expansion of the OSHA Process Safety requirement and the Employee and Community Right to Know programs that have been in existence for a number of years.    
   Hazardous material has always been recognized as a unique hazard for our employees and the public; therefore, we have made every possible effort to ensure the proper and safe use of all hazardous materials.  WSSCs chemical safety prevention program includes: the availability of personal protective equipment; obtaining and use of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS); designing facilities for safety and accident prevention; training and educating employees on chemical systems and processes;  planning and practicing for emergency situations; requiring consultants and contractors to 
abide by established safety practices; sharing of information with employees, contractors and consultants; conducting periodic inspection and audit reviews of chemical process systems; and formulating  policies and procedures for an effective chemical handling processes.  
   Additionally, all Commission facilities are designed and built in conformance with the industries recognized codes, such as: National Electric Code, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American National Standards Institute, ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Codes, BOCA codes, American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Condition Engineers, American Water Works Association, etc 
   A review of the hazards associated with the chlorine facility process and procedures is performed annually.        
   The Commission plant management has  developed written procedures that provide clear instructions or steps for safely conducting activities associated with our chlorination process.  The procedures include initial 
startup, normal operations, temporary operations, emergency shutdown and operation, equipment inspections, and emergency planning and response. 
   Employees currently operating and maintaining the chlorination process have been trained and tested competent to perform their work duties.  New assigned employee will also receive the appropriate training to perform their delegated duties. 
The Patuxent WFP has an written emergency response and planning program.  A written emergency plan is maintained by on site plant personnel with the support of the WSSC Safety Section.  The plan is consistent with the EPA 40 CFR, Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 of the Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act and includes: delegation of authority; notification of officials; emergency procedures; and procedures for working with local officials should an emergency create the need for an evacuation of the plant and/or surroundin 
g community.  
  Plant personnel are regularly trained on the plan requirements and conduct periodic emergency response drills for a variety of plant emergencies.  The plant personnel and the Safety Section document training.  Emergency response training courses are frequently used by  Operators to maintain their plant certifications by the Maryland Department of the Environment.  
A WSSC staff member from the Safety Section is a member of the Montgomery County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and attends the LEPC meetings in Prince Georges County, the site of Patuxent WFP.  He assists the plant and fire department in coordinating emergency response planning and training procedures for the plant. Prince Georges County Fire Department officials visit the facility annually conducting walk around inspections of the chemical storage areas and the plant in general.  WSSC and the fire officials have an excellent working relationship and are both prepared for on site plant emergen 
WSSC will share with the Prince Georges and Montgomery County Local Emergency Planning Committees and the local fire departments our Risk Management Plan for this facility and any future amendments.  Our goal is to provide amendments or updates to the LEPCs within 30 days of the final action. 
Additionally, if any future offsite consequence analysis identifies potential exposure to residents outside of the Prince Georges County LEPC jurisdiction, the WSSC Safety Manger shall ensure that the impacted county LEPC is advised of the potential offsite consequence.   (Special Note: This facility is located very close to Montgomery and Howard Counties, Maryland.)     
                       WSSC - Safety Manager  (6/99) 
                       14501 Sweitzer Lane 
                       Laurel, Maryland 20707 
Click to return to beginning