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Ann Arbor water bills might increase. Here's why.

Oct 4, 2016

Ann Arbor residents might see an increase in their water bills over the next few years to fund a project that will help continue disinfecting and filtering water. 

In conjunction with Ann Arbor's capital improvement plan, the city will recommend replacing pre-treatment basins, which help disinfect, filter and soften drinking water.

"Pre-treatment involves removing hardness and other impurities from the water using lime," says Brian Steglitz, Ann Arbor's water treatment services manager. 

Steglitz says the project and other planned water system improvements are estimated to "result in revenue requirement increases of 6.75% ramping down to 5% annually over the next six years."

So, why are these repairs essential?

Steglitz says current pre-treatment basins were put in between 1938 to 1975, and are in various states of disintegration.

“Concrete has failed in several basin locations and mechanical equipment requires significant maintenance and in some cases is routinely out-of-service. The two oldest basins, built in 1938 and 1949, do not meet current design standards, resulting in them exceeding their capacity to treat water effectively.”

He adds that other options aren't cost efficient in the long run. If the basins aren't replaced, maintenance would cost several million dollars and "would only be a temporary fix, needing continual investment to maintain old, outdated and failing equipment."

The plan isn't finalized, so it's unclear when the final project will begin. However, 2022 has been proposed as a potential target.