Keep our Drinking Water Safe
Ann Arbor is rightfully proud of its drinking water. After winning the Michigan Water Works Association taste award in 2016, Ann Arbor took Fourth Place at the 2017 National American Water Works Association conference in Philadelphia.
Taste is an important way to measure water quality. Safety is another. The City performs thousands of water safety tests each each year to ensure it is safe for residents. It’s time for us to make sure our water stays safe for future generations.
The core of Ann Arbor’s Water Treatment Plant (WTP) was built in 1938. By making major upgrades in 1949, 1965, and 1975 the WTP has always been able to meet our needs, but it suffers from deteriorating concrete and mechanical equipment, outdated technology, high maintenance costs, and unacceptable outages that must be addressed. Drinking water safety standards will strengthen over time, and we need to be able to meet those safety standards in the decades to come. If we’re going to do so, we need to make major investments in our aging water infrastructure now.
I know affordability is a concern, which is why I carefully weighed the pros and cons of raising our water rates and why I support the rate increase -- 10% for an average family of four with moderate outdoor usage. Increasing our rates will raise essential revenue to upgrade and replace the invisible but critical network of treatment facilities, pipes, valves that bring safe, clean water to our homes. The increase is an essential investment in our future, and even with this increase our water rates will be lower than those in Grand Rapids, East Lansing, Bloomington, Columbus and many other peer cities.
No discussion of Ann Arbor’s drinking water would be complete without a 1,4-Dioxane update. No detectable level of 1,4-Dioxane has ever been detected in Ann Arbor's drinking water, and we rigorously test our water to certain that is the case. After many years and with the effort of many people, we persuaded Lansing to adopt a safer dioxane standard to protect public health. We are actively engaged in an ongoing case against the polluter and are moving forward with MDEQ, neighboring townships, and the Huron River Watershed Council to require the polluter to accelerate clean up and expand monitoring.