ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala.--Officials turned the soil here Oct. 15 for construction of a new $26 million Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Located in the heart of the installation\'s 1.5 million-square-foot Nichols Industrial Complex, the facility treats the industrial wastewater from depot production processing to meet regulatory discharge requirements, as mandated by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

"This is another milestone in making the depot an invaluable installation," said U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, 3rd Congressional District, Alabama, "not only to the local community, but to our nation and the war fighter."

The depot, one of the premier Army facilities in the United States, recognizes the importance of its role as an environmental steward while completely disassembling battle-damaged or worn vehicles, repairing or replacing any or all components, and reassembling the vehicle to a like-new condition at a fraction of the cost of a new vehicle.

"Our goal is to take the water that comes out of this new plant and reuse some of it in production operations and reduce our environmental footprint in the local community," said Ann Worrell, director of risk management.

Constructed over 30 years ago, the current facility performs at peak flow much of the time, often overloading the depot's sewage treatment plant where treated wastewater is pumped and polished before being discharged into Choccolocco Creek.

The new facility is designed to almost double the existing gallons per day of wastewater processed, bringing the capacity to 600,000 GPD. Some of its other enhancements include: direct discharge capabilities to Choccolocco Creek, improved treatment process by providing modernized equipment and controls, and future expansion capabilities to 1 million GPD to support future mission requirements, as well as provide additional space in an already congested production arena.

"This is truly a tremendous initiative that took a lot of effort," said Col. S. B. Keller, depot commander. "With the beginning of this construction project, we will become greener as we continually look for ways to be more efficient and effective."

The new facility should take approximately two years to complete.