Opelika Utilities opens new water treatment plant

It has been ten years in the making, and now Opelika Utilities has moved to its new state-of -the-art water treatment plant at Saugahatchee Lake.

"The old facility was not producing enough water so we had to do something about that. The old facility produced six million gallons per day. The new facility does eight million gallons per day," explains Opelika Utilities General Manager, Dan Hilyer.

The new plant replaces outdated systems originally built in 1946.

The plant has been designed with the latest water treatment technology and with their other facility on Lake Harding, it ensures not only the quantity of water for residents, but the quality of water required under today's rigid federal standards.

"It also sets Opelika to attract industrial consumers that attract jobs to our citizens. When the City of Opelika is out recruiting industrial companies, the water side is one less thing they have to worry about. They know when they have an industrial client we can provide the water," says Hilyer.

The cost of the new water resource park was $35 million funded by water rate increases in 2009 and 2011.

This was to ensure that rates wouldn't quadruple suddenly for customers in the future.

"It went up 85-90 percent, our rates. From a customer standpoint that's hard to swallow, why are my rates double? Well your water rates are double so we can make sure you, your children, your grandchildren, have amble water supply, but also quality water supply. We don't want to wait until we've got to have it," explains Hilyer.

The resource park opened its doors May 6, 2013, but the grand opening will be held June 20 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The public is invited to attend and tour the new facilities.

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