As the number of paved surfaces in a community increases, the health of its rivers and streams decreases. During rainstorms and snow melts, rain runs off paved surfaces like roads, sidewalks, and driveways and flushes oil, fertilizer, bacteria, pesticides and other chemicals into our waterways.
MEC is focused on securing the state and local funding necessary to update our infrastructure to reduce runoff contaminating our drinking water.
Reducing Sewer Overflows and Flooding in Detroit
When heavy rains hit Detroit, sewage overflows and storm water runoff enter the Detroit River at alarming rates and enter Lake Erie, triggering massive algae blooms that contaminate drinking water. For too long the City waited until there was a problem with their sewage system to act. In coalition with state and local partners, MEC worked with the MDEQ and the Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) to upgrade DWSD’s water discharge permit to reduce the level of sewer overflows. In 2018, the permit was reviewed again to ensure further progress is made to protect local water supplies.
We also worked to strengthen the City’s storm water permit regulations to require inspections and commit the city to $50 million in green infrastructure over the next 20 years -- projects like vegetative strips to roadways to collect and filter rainwater.