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GLWA, DWSD and Oakland County working together to reduce overflows into Rouge River

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Two major water system operators in southeast Michigan and Oakland County plan to work together to better control heavy storm water runoff.

TheDetroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) and the Great Lakes Water Authority(GLWA), along with Oakland County, plan to spend $68 million on three projects.  They want to prevent tens of millions of gallons of untreated rainwater from flowing into the Rouge River.

“It really is not just a typical grey infrastructure solution.  It’s going to benefit the people that live in the area” says Suzanne Coffey, GLWA’s Chief Planning Officer.

A DWSD official says climate change is increasing the intensity of storms that are stressing the current system. 

“We may see an inch fall in ten minutes now...where before an inch may fall over the course of a 24 hour period,” says Palencia Mobley, DWSD’s Deputy Director, “We’re definitely responding to climate change and trying to anticipate how to best manage the system in the future.”

Once completed, these projects will prevent an estimated 48 million gallons of untreated rain water from flowing into the Rouge River per year. 


Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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