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Water Pollution Control at Heart of Economic Development


City of Huntsville FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2012

(Huntsville, AL) – The City of Huntsville opened its new Water Pollution Control (WPC) training facility today with a ribbon cutting at the Vermont Road Wastewater Treatment Plant in South Huntsville. The $1.1 million dollar facility replaces a nearly 50 year old building that WPC has been using for training, offices and storage.

“We are pleased to open a facility with the appropriate labs, technologically equipped training rooms and offices required to meet the environmental standards set by the state and federal governments,” said Mayor Tommy Battle.

WPC Director Shane Cook says the labs are critical to daily testing operations. The City tests samples from all five of the City’s wastewater treatment plants each morning and sends the results to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“This building gives us the tools to educate our work force, to do the lab analysis up and beyond regulatory standards,” said Cook. “We will also be able to share the training room with other public safety agencies and city departments.”

WPC plays a key role in keeping Huntsville’s waterways clean and safe. Each year, WPC purifies billions of gallons of our community’s wastewater, and returns the clean reclaimed water to our waterways. That includes removing pollutants from water intake from the Tennessee River and reservoirs, to cleaning the wastewater residents generate in our daily lives.WPC uses the latest technologies to perform its work including video cameras, flow monitoring, smoke testing, root control and sewer rehabilitation.

“We take our abundant and clean water supply for granted,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “Every time we turn on the faucet, we expect pure, drinkable water. That’s what the 110 men and women in this department do every day. They make sure that our water supply is clean and safe, and that our sewage is properly transported, treated, and returned for use.”

Mayor Battle says WPC’s role in economic development is another overlooked asset. In the past 10 years, from 2001 to 2011, the City of Huntsville has spent more than $152 million on water and sewer infrastructure.

WPC works closely with our Planning, Engineering, Public Works and Economic Development offices to make certain Huntsville is prepared for growth.

“This is not a reactive process,” says Battle. “The City works to guide and manage appropriate growth and WPC is central to the process.”

The City is close to completing the sixth and final phase of water and sewer utility lines in the new western corridor, from the Madison city limits to I-65, north to Highway 72 and south to I-565. Two main trunk lines in the area are operational, paving the way for new development and perhaps a large super site for a major industry.

“Huntsville is progressive in terms of infrastructure,” said Mayor Battle. “The expectation here is for city leaders to think in terms of smart growth and planning and to build roads and sewers that promote growth where we want.”

Cook says Huntsville is in an enviable position compared to other cities across the country. “We are proactive in terms of our infrastructure, maintenance, and pollution control,” he said. “In the past 10 years, we have rehabbed or performed maintenance upgrades on more than 605 miles on lines and we have installed about 30 miles of new sewer for future development.”

Mayor Battle says Huntsville is focused on striking the right balance in maintaining existing infrastructure while preparing for growth. “We keep a watchful eye on the taxpayer dollar, and we do everything possible to make certain we are providing the appropriate return on our citizens’ investment into the future of our city.”

For more information, contact:

Kelly Cooper Schrimsher, Director of Communications, Office of the Mayor, City of Huntsville, 256-427-5006 (w), kelly.schrimsher@huntsvilleal.gov



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