"Six years ago, if you would have said that the MWAA was going to build a $14 million water filtration plant, everybody would have laughed."By Meghan Schiller

ALIQUIPPA, Pa. (KDKA) – The City of Aliquippa is taking a big step towards a better quality of drinking water thanks to a new filtration plant.

From the ashes will rise a phoenix. That’s how the mayor of Aliquippa described it. But more literally, from debris will rise a new facility pumping out clear drinking water.

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“Six years ago, if you would have said that the MWAA was going to build a $14 million water filtration plant, everybody would have laughed,” said Matthew Mottes, the chairman of the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa.

Mottes and his crew didn’t necessarily break ground, but Unis Demolition ripped down the old administrative building, clearing way for the new plant.

“Elated to have something done in Aliquippa when people said it couldn’t happen, won’t happen — not in the city of Aliquippa,” said Mayor Dwan Walker.

The new filtration plant aims to remove the iron and manganese that can give water a brown color.

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“The city and infrastructure are 120 years old, you got to start somewhere, so just take pride in the little things,” said Mayor Walker.

KDKA first told you about the nearly 900 member Facebook page Aliquippa Water Issues two years ago.

Resident concerns boiled over at a community meeting with the water board.

“They brought a lot of passion. And they’re serious — they want quality water. We want quality water. And we’re going to get quality water,” said Robert Steffes, the vice chairman of the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa.

The water authority wants residents’ help and hopes local leaders like Congressman Conor Lamb, Rep. Josh Kail, Rep. Robert Matzie and state Senator Camera Bartolotta can make these changes possible financially.

“We produce way more than football players, we’re more than that. And again, you’re going to see the Renaissance happen. Whether you want it to happen, it’s going to happen. The city will change. It will not be your mom and pop’s Aliquippa moving forward,” said Mayor Walker.

KDKA’s Meghan Schiller is told the $15 million for this new plant is a downpayment, but there’s still millions of dollars of needed infrastructure improvements, including replacing lead service lines.

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Right now, the Water Authority says it replaces a mile of line per year, but if they secure more funding, they can increase that amount.

Meghan Schiller