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​Water Treatment Plant Facility Update

Archived News Release: January 6, 2023 - Employees of the Water Treatment Plant (WTP) and their contractors have been hard at work on the Water Treatment Plant Facility Planning project for several months now. To ensure reliable high-quality water into the future, the city must invest in significant infrastructure investments. The purpose of the Water Treatment Plant Facility Plan is to evaluate the operational, maintenance and regulatory needs of the plant both now and into the future. 

The Strategic Planning process is driven by the guiding principles that were established by the City's Executive Leadership Team, which in turn were informed by City Council's priorities for the city as a whole. This alignment ensures that city resources are used for the highest and best purpose. It also ensures that the day-to-day plant operations, including staff members, are working efficiently toward a common purpose.

The completed Strategic Plan will communicate the WTP's priorities and goals clearly. The intention is for the community to feel confident that their drinking water is high quality and that their dollars are being used wisely.

Strategic Plan Process

The project team convened two groups to develop the Strategic Plan. The first is the Executive Leadership Team (ELT). This team is made up of city leaders, such as the City Administrator, the Chief of Staff for Public Services, the Chief Financial Officer, the Water Treatment Unit Manager, and the Communications Director. This group set guiding principles for the overall project to steer the project. The ELT will approve the final plan before it is forwarded to City Council.

The second group is the Strategic Planning team. The Strategic Planning team includes WTP staff members to ensure that operational considerations are reflected, City of Ann Arbor staff members to ensure that the plan is aligned with the city's priorities and broader water systems processes, the city's largest water customers and members of the community to capture community priorities and needs. The Strategic Planning team will define aspirational goals and develop an action plan for delivering these goals. Team members use collaboration tools to come to consensus around the principles, goals, aspirations, and action steps.

Community-Informed Decisions

Community priorities have influenced every step of the strategic planning process. WTP leadership invited community members to participate on the Strategic Planning team. Officials representing water customers in Ann Arbor Township, Scio Township, the City of Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Public Schools, and the University of Michigan are full participants on the Strategic Planning Team, with equal voices to city staff members. The team also includes a representative of the City's Equitable Engagement Steering Committee, as well as the City's Director of Organizational Equity, who are charged with considering the needs of historically underrepresented community members. The Huron River Watershed Council represents the health of the WTP's primary water source, the Huron River. These community members join with city representatives to consider big picture questions, such as ensuring access to clean drinking water regardless of an individual's ability to pay, and making sure we are ready for climate change and pollutants and contaminants of concern.

The broader community has a chance to weigh in on the strategic plan's priority-setting and guiding principles through various community engagement activities. The community was invited to respond to a survey to give their opinions on the ELT's guiding principles of trust, community, accountability, and sustainability. The survey was open for two months and was promoted through several community events and media outlets. Feedback also was captured at the Mayor's Green Fair, the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market and the Bryant Community Center, where project team members hosted an information station.

Community perspective is continuously conveyed to the strategic planning team, and influences decision-makers as they work through this process. More community events will take place in early 2023 as the project team identifies opportunities for members of the public to help set the WTP's priorities for the future.

For more information, visit the project website.​

Ann Arbor has 123,851 residents, spans 28.97 square miles and is frequently recognized as a foremost place to live, learn, work, thrive and visit. To keep up with City of Ann Arbor information, subscribe for email updates, and follow the city on Twitter and Facebook. The city's mission is to deliver exceptional services that sustain and enhance a vibrant, safe and diverse community.