“I’m so proud of this (facility),” said St. Clair County Commission Chairman Stan Batemon. “This is a shining star, not only for St. Clair County, but for the region. Our next focus is selling the water to help make this plant run the most efficient.”
Officials said the surface water treatment plant, which opened about one year ago, is producing up to about 3 mgd (millions of gallons of water per day) of water, but the plant is capable of producing double that amount, 6 million gallons per day. Officials said once the plant is producing 6 mgd, the cost of the reliable source of water would be cut in half and more economically feasible for all users.
“It is a state-of-the-art plant,” said Rick Ailiff, president of ClearWater Solutions, which handles the day-to-day operation of the plant. “This plant probably has the best water quality I’ve seen in my entire career.”
The plant was a joint venture between the St. Clair County Commission, Pell City, Springville and Odenville.
Officials want other water authorities and municipalities in St. Clair County to purchase water from the Coosa Valley Water Supply District, to help drive the cost of quality surface water for all users down.
“This facility is yours,” said St. Clair County Commissioner Paul Manning. “This facility is for the future and for today. Something we all have to have is water.”
Officials said unlike underground wells, the surface water treatment facility provides a reliable source of water.
Officials said wells can become contaminated overnight or dry up, and the need for water is especially high when there is a drought, which actually sparked the construction of the facility.
“We’ve seen so many dry holes and droughts,” Manning said.
Batemon said he hopes local water authorities will quit digging costly, unreliable wells, and tap onto the new, reliable source of water that the Coosa Valley Water Supply District plant can provide.
“The longer this plant runs, the more valuable it will become,” Batemon said.
He said the water produced at the plant could not only supply water for those inside St. Clair County, but outside the county as well.
Tommy Bowers, chairman of the St. Clair County Economic Development Council, said the water treatment plant is good for business and the local economy.
“This plant will be big, as far as economic development,” Bowers said. “It will help us make the cut on a lot of projects.”
Batemon said officials hope to sell ever drop of water that the plant can produce, and officials have already secured permits to withdraw up to 12 mgd of water from the Coosa River.
“This plant is here, and it will be here when we’re all dead and gone,” Batemon said.
Contact David Atchison at firstname.lastname@example.org.