We the People Detroit

We the People of Detroit aims to inform, educate, and empower Detroit residents on imperative issues surrounding civil rights, land, water, education, and the democratic process.
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Wastewater treatment costs make up the largest portion of Detroit’s notoriously high water bills, and is a major factor in shutoffs. We the People Detroit is interested in pursuing decentralized wastewater treatment as a way to increase community control of wastewater resources and bring down costs. STPP explored the use of decentralized wastewater treatment and the current state of decentralized technologies, and identified additional policy paths.

wastewater treatment plant

Policy Brief

Decentralized wastewater treatment is the future of wastewater treatment. In developing countries without sophisticated wastewater infrastructure, it is the design of choice since it has lower capital costs, protects the local environment, and incentivizes water re-use. Though promising, technological limitations and ‘cultural inertia’ are currently the main drawback of decentralized wastewater treatment in developed countries. Centralized wastewater plants are the predominant technology in the U.S. Implementing decentralized treatment lowers the value of the existing infrastructure and increases the relative cost of new facilities since there are already functioning treatment plants.
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Zachary Berquist

Student Researcher

Zachary Berquist

Ph.D., Chemical Engineering
Read more about the Student Research Corps

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