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The Ann Arbor, Michigan Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) actively sought out public participation to help determine the plan for the treatment and disposal/reuse of their sewage residuals. Community members sat with the WWTP Staff to work on defining the important parameters and determining the appropriate choices for residuals management at this Michigan college town's 29.5 mgd facility.

The Ann Arbor WWTP has been working to modernize their sewage residuals management since 1993. In 1998, the WWTP engaged a consultant to help to determine sewage residuals management alternatives and perform an evaluation on the alternatives for the WWTP to pursue in terms of operability, environmental considerations, cost-effectiveness and ease of implementation. The 1998 evaluation was conducted with intput only from the Plant Staff and did not include a public engagement process.

After delaying determination of the residuals management plan while a broad WWTP facilities plan was developed, the City revisited the residuals project again in 2002, this time with a strong charge from the Utility to engage the public. A public engagement consultant was included in the project team, members of the community were solicited for their involvement, and a solid communication plan was developed.

This public engagement process did require more meetings, drafts, and reevaluation, but also produced some insightful questions and surprising results that pushed the project team into new directions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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