Saginaw Wastewater Treatment Plant

City of Saginaw Lead and Copper Strategic Program


City of Saginaw


Saginaw, MI

Comprehensive Project Helps City Create Long-Term Strategic Plan for Regulatory Compliance and to Protect Public Health

OHM Advisors partnered with the City of Saginaw on a comprehensive multi-year project to help it prioritize its water system improvements based on asset risk, system reliability and regulatory requirements. In addition to creating a Water Asset Management Plan and a Water Reliability Study, our team analyzed the 2018 revisions to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s (EGLE) Lead and Copper Rule (LCR)—the strictest requirements to date for action on lead and copper in drinking water in the nation—and helped the City create a long-term strategic program for regulatory compliance.

The LCR revisions posed new and significant challenges for water utilities in Michigan, including the need for extensive efforts in inventorying and replacing water service lines on public and private property, increased sampling, creating and maintaining robust databases, and developing effective communication with affected citizens. The first step our team took in creating the City’s LCR Strategic Program included helping it apply for grant funding from the Michigan pilot program to help communities meet the rule’s multiple requirements. In this way, the City was able to begin replacing lead service lines in the public portion of its system as soon as it was awarded pilot grant funding—at the same time it was working with our team on the required preliminary system materials inventory throughout the city.

As part of that inventory, we analyzed the City’s existing lead service line data, and also developed a GIS collector app for the City to record that historical data and to use in the field to collect new inventory and replacement data—creating a permanent, digitally-mapped GIS inventory record for future analytics. Our team also created a community outreach and public engagement plan using printed materials, presentations and website content and FAQs for the City to educate its residents on lead and copper in drinking water, notify private property owners about inventory and replacement activities on their property, and inform the public at large of the service line replacement program. We also consistently coordinated with City staff on the compliance requirements and deadlines.

To help the City manage the project now and into the future, our team prepared a program manual to summarize the LCR rule requirements and the City’s compliance with the rule and made all relevant LCR updates to its Water Asset Management Plan. Our team’s assistance on this comprehensive project will help City maintain its improved drinking water system infrastructure and enhance the public health for years to come.

Project highlights: Lead and Copper Rule compliance; technical assistance and decision maker support; community outreach and public engagement; MDEQ reporting and compliance strategies; rehabilitation planning and mapping; GIS system training and support; lead service line replacement strategic plan; asset management plan updates; desktop inventory management with GIS physical inventory assistance; bid document preparation and administration; inventory and construction notification, inspection and documentation