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Ann Arbor Water Treatment Plant Facility Plan

Archived News Release: February 27, 2023 -

The Ann Arbor Water Treatment Plant Facility Plan began in mid-2022. Since then, the team has made significant progress on the various project tasks. The project includes a strategic plan, an alternatives analysis study, pilot plant testing, and community engagement throughout. For further background about any of these project parts, head on over to the project website. There you will find detailed breakdowns of each component or task, and how they fit into the greater project purpose. The following briefing will give you an update on what progress has been made since the beginning of the project, and what to expect in the near future.

Strategic Planning

The project team used the City's mission, vision, and values as the launching point to develop the strategic plan for the Water Treatment Services Unit. A collaborative approach was used to develop the guiding principles and aspirational goals, with input from City staff, representatives from the major water users, and the community taken into account. The project team is now detailing the metrics or measures of success and starting to write the strategic plan itself.

Alternatives Analysis

 As part of replacement of aging infrastructure, different treatment technologies are being reviewed to soften the water, remove disease-carrying pathogens from the water, and protect against contaminants of concern including PFAS and 1,4-dioxane. The features and benefits of the different treatment technologies are considered when evaluating and comparing the technologies, along with the cost to build and operate them.  The guiding principles and aspirational goals of the strategic plan are also used to develop and evaluate alternatives.

Pilot Plant

Construction activities are now underway! The construction contractor is readying the site for the temporary building that will house the pilot plant, and equipment will start to arrive at site over the next few months. Before water starts flowing through the pilot plant, staff and students from the University  Michigan will start preparing for the operation of the pilot plant and getting ready for testing. Just a reminder that the purpose of pilot testing is to evaluate the performance of a new softening technology being considered for the rehabilitation of the c1930s portion of the water treatment plant used to remove hardness and soften the water.

Community Engagement

The team has administered the first Citywide survey, in which all Ann Arbor residents were invited to participate. The team presented survey results to project decision-makers, who used the results to inform strategic planning decisions. More specifically, survey respondents confirmed the completeness of the project's guiding principles, and helped the team prioritize factors used to evaluate technical alternatives. The team also used survey results to inform a second survey, which is currently under development. The second survey will go live this spring.  The community engagement team is also gearing up for an eventful spring of community events. Please continue monitoring the website; dates of events will be posted as soon as they are finalized.

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.