1. What is storm water? 
  2. What is a storm drain? 
  3. What is a sanitary sewer? 
  4. How does storm water get polluted? 
  5. What Watershed do you live In? 
  6. Rouge River Watershed 
  7. Clinton River Watershed
  8. How do I affect the watershed? 
Q&A Item

What is storm water? 

Storm water is the rainfall or snowmelt that flows over our yards, streets, parking lots, and buildings and either enters the storm drain system or runs directly into a lake or stream.

What is a storm drain? 

Storm drains are the openings you see along curbs and in streets and parking lots. They carry away rainwater and snowmelt and transport it through the system to nearby lakes and streams. Water and other debris that enter storm drains do not go to a treatment facility.

What is a sanitary sewer? 

A sanitary sewer takes household water and waste from toilets, sinks and showers, and transports it to a wastewater treatment facility. There, the water is treated and then discharged back to a lake or stream.

How does storm water get polluted? 

As storm water flows over our lawns and driveways, it picks up fertilizers, oil, chemicals, grass clippings, litter, pet waste, and anything else in its path. The storm drain system then transports these pollutants, now in the water, to local lakes and streams. Anything that goes into a storm drain eventually ends up in a lake or stream.

What Watershed do you live In? 

A watershed is made up of the land area that drains to a specific body of water, such as a tributary, stream or river. If you live in Southfield, you live in the Rouge River Watershed or the Clinton River Watershed.

Rouge River Watershed 

Roughly ninety percent, approximately 15,240 acres, is in the Rouge River Watershed. The Rouge River is 126 miles long and is comprised of four major subwatershed branches: the Main, Upper, Middle, and Lower meandering through 48 communities. The watershed is approximately 438 square miles.

Clinton River Watershed

The rest of Southfield lies within the Twelve Towns Drainage District, which drains to the Clinton River Watershed. Although Southfield only makes up a small portion, the entire watershed covers approximately 760 square miles in 4 Southeast Michigan counties - about 40 percent of eastern Oakland County, most of Macomb County, and small portions of southern Lapeer and St. Clair counties. 

The Clinton River and its tributaries flow through 60 rural, suburban, and urban communities with a total population of more than 1.6 million. Beautiful inland lakes can be found in the western portion of the watershed, and the river basin is home to a variety of wetland and other ecosystem types, from open marshes rich with waterfowl to hardwood forests sheltering rare wildflowers.

How do I affect the watershed? 

Individuals are a major polluter to our area lakes and streams.  Industry makes up only about 2 percent of the pollution to the river.  The major pollutant source is called polluted storm water. Storm water is the water that runs over the ground during a rainstorm or snow melt.  This storm water picks up pollutants found in fertilizers, pesticides, oil and grease from cars and bacteria from pet wastes and waterfowl.  This polluted storm water  enters the river directly or through storm drains that lead to the river.  Most sources of storm water pollution can be solved by taking individual actions to fix these problems.  Everyone has the potential to pollute the water or help restore its health.