An aerial view of the Downriver System, the second largest wastewater system in Michigan.
An up-close view of Michigan's second largest wastewater system.
An aerial view of the Downriver System, the second largest wastewater system in Michigan.

Downriver Utility Wastewater Authority (DUWA) System Management


Downriver Utility Wastewater Authority


Wayne County, Wyandotte, MI

Complex Wastewater System Transfer Puts Communities in Control of Their Future

The Downriver System is the second largest wastewater system in Michigan, serving 13 Wayne County communities. In September 2018, the System transferred ownership from the Wayne County Department of Public Services to the Downriver Utility Wastewater Authority (DUWA). This change in ownership had been years in the making, and was an entangled process involving legal, technical, and financial components that required definition and ultimate separation from the County. Given the age and size of the system, the history between the County and communities and the unique nature of the transfer, the complete transfer took three years to accomplish.

OHM Advisors has served as DUWA’s System Manager since September 2017. As part of the transition process, our team performed a multitude of tasks on DUWA’s behalf, including providing expert technical support to DUWA’s finance, legal and technical operations teams, facilitating and attending operational and stakeholder meetings, planning capital improvement projects and identifying future financing sources, and developing permit applications for future ownership and operation of the system. Now with DUWA as the system owner, OHM Advisors co-manages the system’s oversight and administration, overseeing a contract operator and performing technical and administrative tasks.

The entire project highlights our team’s expertise in managing complex multi-party and multidisciplinary projects with challenging technical issues that are of significant importance to our municipal clients.

Project Highlights: wastewater system management services, stakeholder engagement, public engagement, transition planning, continuous improvement system, permitting assistance, policy development, technical advisor

Awards & Recognition