Overflow, Retention Basins, Watershed, CSO What Does It All Mean To Us?

Over flow, retention basins, watershed, CSO (combined sewer overflow) all terms that are thrown around to try and explain why our basements are flooding. So in an effort to understand things a little better myself I did some reading. Here are some things I’ve found out.

A combined sewer is the predominant type of sewer system in the metropolitan Detroit area, and all sewers within the city proper are combined sewers. Basically, a combined sewer is an older design, found in most large cities, that combines storm water runoff and sanitary sewage within a single system. In The Flow Spring 2010/Vol 10, No 2

All wastewater from the 76 suburban communities that purchase DWSD sewage service ends up in Detroit’s sewer interceptor pipes, said Terrance Moore, head sewage plant operator. Moore explained that water builds up and moves quickly through the system during a rainstorm. Water that goes to a CSO facility is either retained by the facility (if the facility has a retention basin), or screened and disinfected and sent to the river. “The waste solids would be removed at the CSO facility, screening would be done to remove floatable debris, and the water would be disinfected with sodium hypochloride,” said Moore. Retained water in a CSO facility’s reservoir is sent on to the Wastewater Treatment Plant after rains subside.

Dearborn Heights is one of these communities that purchased DWSD sewage service.

In 1972, the U.S. Congress passed the Clean Water Act which launched a major effort to control pollution from industrial and municipal sources. The law required each state to issue discharge permits to regulate the quantity and concentration of pollutants from municipal and industrial treatment facilities to meet state water quality standards.

By the mid-1980s virtually all of the over 400 municipal wastewater treatment plants in Michigan had achieved compliance with the Clean Water Act requirement to provide secondary treatment of all flows. Michigan’s treatment plants were also required to disinfect the wastewater prior to discharge and reduce phosphorus loadings to control nutrient impacts in the Great Lakes basin.

As the discharges from wastewater treatment plants came under control, attention began to focus on water quality problems attributable to intermittent wet weather discharges from combined sewer systems. CSO discharges can be a significant source of pollution to receiving waters since they consist of a diluted mixture of untreated sanitary wastewater and storm water runoff. Water quality problems attributable to uncontrolled CSOs include public health threats from bacteria contamination and pathogenic organisms, dissolved oxygen depletion, aesthetic problems, and residues from sanitary trash and floatable materials.

CSOs are a particularly significant problem in southeast Michigan because of the high population and the fact that CSO discharges were impacting small urban waterways such as the Rouge River and its tributaries. Within the service area of the Detroit wastewater treatment plant, more than 25% of the service area utilizes combined sewer systems. Within the city of Detroit there are 35,924 hectares (88,770 acres) served by combined sewers and an additional 24,186 hectares (59,764 acres) in suburban communities in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties (Figure 1). Uncontrolled CSO discharges were identified as a major source of pollution throughout much of the Rouge River basin, the Clinton River basin, and portions of the Lake St. Clair and Detroit River shoreline.

In 1985, work began on the development of Remedial Action Plans for these watersheds to define alternatives for improving water quality and protecting public health. The Rouge River Remedial Action Plan was adopted in 1988 and called for substantial investment in facilities to control CSOs in Detroit, Wayne County and Oakland County. Similar control efforts were initiated along the Clinton River and Red Run Drain basin, and the shoreline areas of Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River.

The recommendations of the Remedial Action Plans were the basis for new permit requirements to eliminate or adequately treat CSO discharges throughout southeast Michigan. The southeast Michigan CSO control program received support from the federal government when Congress approved the Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project in 1992. Under this program, municipalities in the Rouge River watershed served as a pilot program to demonstrate the effectiveness of various CSO control measures. The program also instituted a variety of other pollution control activities related to storm water discharges, streambank erosion control, wetland preservation, public education, and other measures.  Source:Detroit River-Western Lake Erie Basin Indicator Project. http://www.epa.gov/med/grosseile_site/indicators/cso.html

Here are the charts for the city’s that completed, or are still working on their projects.

While the effort to control wet weather pollution from CSOs is not yet complete, the progress achieved to date demonstrates that significant water quality improvements are achievable in urban areas when CSO controls are constructed. The overall health of the watersheds in southeast Michigan is continuing to improve, and in large measure this is a result of the work by local government to control pollution from combined sewer systems throughout the area.

Table 1. CSO investment of southeast Michigan as of May 2007a. DWSD = Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

a Listing does not include facilities to control sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) from separated sewer systems except for equalization basins which were built to retain excess wet weather flows in newly separated combined sewer systems.
b Construction cost reflects the cost to build the facility (as-bid contractor’s cost plus or minus change orders) and has not been adjusted to account for inflation since the project was built. Costs do not include engineering, administrative, land acquisition or legal expenses.

Name of the Facility Ownership Status Storage Volume: million liters (million gallons) Construction Cost b
Detention Basins
Belle Isle DWSD In Construction 1.14 (0.30) Est. $13,866,000
Conner Creek DWSD Operational 119.24 (31.50) $186,512,000
Hubbell-Southfield DWSD Operational 83.28 (22.00) $54,884,000
Oakwood Pump Station DWSD In Construction 34.07 (9.00) Est. $131,437,000
Puritan – Fenkell DWSD Operational 15.52 (4.10) $18,194,000
Seven Mile DWSD Operational 11.73 (3.10) $29,948,000
Acacia Park Oakland County Operational 15.14 (4.00) $10,681,000
Bloomfield Village Oakland County Operational 37.85 (10.00) $21,994,000
Birmingham Oakland County Operational 20.82 (5.50) $26,252,000
GWK Oakland County Operational 350.91 (92.70) $165,068,000
Chapaton Macomb County Operational 105.99 (28.00) $25,817,000
Martin Macomb County Operational 32.55 (8.60) $7,471,000
Milk River Wayne County Operational 71.92 (19.00) $31,200,000
Dearborn Heights Dearborn Heights Operational 10.22 (2.70) $18,678,000
Inkster Inkster Operational 11.73 (3.10) $18,592,000
Redford Township Redford Operational 7.19 (1.90) $14,300,000
SUBTOTAL 929.32 (245.50) $774,894,000
Treatment/Capture Shafts
Capture Shaft 013 Dearborn In Construction 27.25 (7.20) $28,895,000
Capture Shaft 014 Dearborn In Construction 38.23 (10.10) $33,097,000
Disinfection Facility for Capture Shaft 013 and 014 Dearborn In Construction Included Above $4,397,000
Capture Shaft 015 Dearborn In Construction 9.08 (2.40) $10,528,000
Original CSO Shafts Dearborn Constructed Included Above $26,000,000
Treatment Shafts 1 – 5 Dearborn In Design 98.80 (26.1) $170,000,000
Treatment Shaft 016 Dearborn In Construction 12.49 (3.30) $25,997,000
Treatment Shaft 017 Dearborn In Construction 24.61 (6.50) $36,791,000
SUBTOTAL 210.47 (55.60) $335,705,000
Screening & Disinfection Facilities
Baby Creek (Including VR-7) DWSD Operational 115.08 (30.4) $73,107,000
Leib DWSD Operational 31.42 (8.3) $31,438,000
St. Aubin DWSD Operational 9.20 (2.43) $19,821,000
SUBTOTAL 155.69 (41.13) $124,366,000
Upper Rouge Tunnels DWSD In Design 760.87 (201.00) $640,000,000
SUBTOTAL 760.87 (201.00) $640,000,000
In-System Storage Facilities (Dams and Gates)
Conner Creek Influent Storage Gates DWSD Operational 152.93 (40.40) $4,392,000
Wyoming Relief (ISD001) DWSD Operational 23.24 (6.14) $26,469,000
Weatherby (ISD002) DWSD Operational 11.92 (3.15)
Upper Livernois Relief (ISD003) DWSD Operational 9.24 (2.44)
Joy (ISD004) DWSD Operational 13.55 (3.58)
Clark Summit (ISD005) DWSD Operational 15.06 (3.98)
First Hamilton (ISD006) DWSD Operational 34.14 (9.02)
First Hamilton (ISD007) DWSD Operational 16.77 (4.43)
First Hamilton (ISD008) DWSD Operational 14.99 (3.96)
First Hamilton (ISD009) DWSD Operational 16.20 (4.28)
First Hamilton (ISD010) DWSD Operational 5.38 (1.42)
Conant Mt. Elliott (ISD011) DWSD Operational 34.18 (9.03)
Six Mile Rd. (ISD012) DWSD Operational 8.86 (2.34)
Seven Mile Rd. (ISD013) DWSD Operational 13.51 (3.57)
6 Mile & 6 Mile Relief Outfall Gates DWSD Operational 26.12 (6.90) $7,708,000
Puritan Outfall Gates DWSD Operational 1.14 (0.30)
Lyndon Outfall Gates DWSD Operational 6.44 (1.7)
Lahser Outfall Gates DWSD Operational 5.30 (1.4)
W. Chicago Outfall Gates DWSD Operational 19.68 (5.2)
Tireman Outfall Gates DWSD Operational 21.58 (5.7)
Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Acacia Park Oakland County Operational 18.17 (4.8) $1,552,000
GWK Influent Weir Storage Oakland County Operational 124.92 (33.00) Included w/GWK Basin
Frisbee Sewer City of Detroit Operational 7.19 (1.9) $2,043,000
SUBTOTAL 600.52 (158.64) $42,164,000
Equalization Basins (as part of CSO Elimination Program)
Farmington Farmington Operational 12.11 (3.20) $5,000,000
City of Wayne Wayne County Operational 8.71 (2.30) $3,827,000
Livonia Livonia Operational 8.33 (2.20) $1,029,000
SUBTOTAL 29.15 (7.70) $9,856,000
Sewer Separations/Relief Sewers and Collection System Upgrades
Area 25 City of Wayne Operational $221,000
Areas 19, 20, 23 City of Wayne Operational $2,454,000
Area 18 City of Wayne Operational $82,000
Farmington Farmington Operational $9,000,000
Midtown West Garden City Operational $9,727,000
Midtown East Garden City Operational $6,435,000
South Venoy Garden City Operational $1,228,000
Merriman Garden City Operational $459,000
Perrin & Middlebelt Garden City Operational $10,848,000
Robinson Subdivision Plymouth Township Operational $557,000
Districts 30, 31, & 32 Plymouth Township Operational $341,000
Area 42 Westland Operational $346,000
Area 38 Westland Operational $1,364,000
Area 10 (Contract 1 & 2) Westland Operational $4,010,000
Area 10 (Contract 3) Westland Operational $1,874,000
Area 10 (Contract 4) Westland Operational $768,000
Grosse Pointe Farms Grosse Pointe Farms Operational $10,000,000
Grosse Pointe Park Grosse Pointe Park Operational $18,600,000
Eastpointe Roseville Separation Macomb County Operational $4,184,000
So. Macomb Relief Sewers Macomb County Operational $15,269,000
So. Macomb Pump Station/Bypass Structure Macomb County Operational $22,827,000
Area Tributary to CSO 016 Dearborn In Construction $6,380,000
Miller Rd. Pump Station Renovation Dearborn Operational $8,000,000
SUBTOTAL $134,974,000
Operational Elements
Fairview Pump Station DWSD Operational $6,072,000
VR-15 (Conant Mt. Elliott) DWSD Operational $6,902,000
VR-17 (Shiawassee Gate) DWSD Operational $198,000
VR-8 (Hubbell-Southfield) DWSD Operational $202,000
SUBTOTAL $13,374,000
Detroit WWTP
Primary Clarifiers No. 17, 18 DWSD Operational $89,018,000
PS-2A (Additional Pump) DWSD Operational $2,048,000
SUBTOTAL $91,066,000
TOTAL EXPENDITURE $2,166,399,000

For More Click Here

The City of Dearborn Heights did complete their project:

The Dearborn Heights CSO project seeks to

control CSO discharges and to meet applicable

requirements including water quality standards.

Completed Dearborn Heights CSO Facility


City of Dearborn Heights, Michigan


The facility is located within the Middle Rouge Parkway on the south side of Edward Hines Drive, east of Telegraph. The site was constructed over a landfill that was capped with a layer of clay. The receiving water is the Middle Rouge River.


Planning Start Date October 1992

Design Start Date May 1993

Construction Start Date January 1995

Operation Start Date June 1997

Construction Cost

$18,400,000 – Basin.

$19,500,000 – Basin and collector sewer.

Demonstration Aspects

• Design for the 10 year/1 hour storm with 30 minutes of detention time.

• 3 compartments with total volume of 2.7 million gallons. Flow is pumped to a distribution box, which directs the flow into compartment 1. Compartments 2 and 3 fill sequentially. Capability to direct the initialflush to compartment 3. Basin can be dewatered in 12 to 18 hours.

• The basin is constructed on a clay capped landfill.

• Site landscaped with soccer field, gazebo, bicycle rack and parking lot.

• Tipping bucket flushing system.

• An extensive monitoring program to demonstrate basin performance

Project Highlights

• Serves an area of 340 acres

• Eliminates 4 CSO outfalls

• Six vertical mixed flow pumps each with a pumping capacity of 45,000 gpm at 28 feet


• Sodium hypochlorite disinfection system

designed for 10 mg/1 feed rate and 1 mg/1 target residual for a peak flow rate of treated effluent of 500 cfs. cso-02

In 2009 Detroit Canceled It’s Combined Sewer Overflow Tunnel.

DETROIT, Michigan, June 1, 2009 (ENS) – The giant Upper Rouge Tunnel combined sewer overflow control project was canceled Friday by Detroit city officials worried about residents’ ability to pay increased sewer fees to build the $1.2 billion project.

A report in the “Detroit Free Press” Saturday quoted George Ellenwood, a spokesman for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, as saying sewer fees would have been 16 percent higher as of July 1 if the long-planned tunnel had gone ahead.

In view of the Motor City’s current 22 percent unemployment rate, “It exceeds what is considered reasonable,” said Ellenwood,

Detroit, like many Midwestern cities, has a combined sewer system that carries both sanitary sewage and stormwater. During heavy rain and snow melt, the flow capacity of a sewer system is exceeded and an overflow of this mixture runs into the Rouge River.

The seven mile long Upper Rouge CSO Tunnel was designed to capture up to 201 million gallons of wet weather flows conveyed through existing sewer infrastructure located in western Detroit from 17 designated outfalls that historically discharge to the upper tributary of the Rouge River.

It would also have captured overflows from three outfalls in Dearborn Heights and eight outfalls in Redford Township.

The tunnel would have stored the combined sewage and stormwater until it could be treated at the Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant and discharged.

Construction of the tunnel is a requirement of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s 2008 NPDES Permit, and is a condition of a consent decree in litigation brought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It was supposed to be completed in the 2014-2015 timeframe.

Read The Rest http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jun2009/2009-06-01-091.html

The City of Dearborn has yet to complete their sewer project last I heard they have a price tag of 500 million.

The City of Dearborn Heights is part of the Ecorse Creek Watershed Management.

2.1 Overview of Subwatersheds

2.1.1 North Branch

The North Branch of the Ecorse Creek extends from the City of Romulus easterly through Dearborn Heights, Allen Park, Lincoln Park, Melvindale, and in the City of Ecorse it meets the confluence of the Ecorse River. The North Branch of the Ecorse Creek is an open water course that has a tributary area of approximately 12,000 acres.1 The slope of the channel bottom of the North Branch of the Ecorse Creek is relatively flat, resulting in the deposition of sediments during low flow periods. This deposition reduces the capacity of the channel. The North Branch has a severely limited hydraulic capacity. Flooding of the adjacent areas along the North Branch has occurred many times over the years. The headwaters of the North Branch include the Trouton and Freeman Drains and the Black Creek in Romulus, as well as the Douglas and Kelly Drain which originates in the City of Taylor. An approximately 40 acre area in the City of Inkster is shown to be excluded from the drainage area because it is serviced by a combined sewer system.

2.1.2 LeBlanc Drain

The LeBlanc Drain extends west from its outlet to the North Branch, approximately 500 feet west of the confluence of the North Branch and the Sexton-Kilfoil Drain, to the eastern section of the City of Taylor. The LeBlanc Drain is enclosed and has a tributary area of approximately 7,500 acres.2 The Snow Drain in Taylor, portions of which are also enclosed, is tributary to the LeBlanc Drain.

The LeBlanc Drain was enclosed in 1927-28 and was originally designed for the agricultural flows from the western portion of the watershed. Continual urbanization of the western portion of the area that empties into the LeBlanc Drain has resulted in flooding of those areas tributary to it. The LeBlanc Drain also was originally constructed as a combined sewer and was a major contributor of combined sewage to the North Branch of the Ecorse Creek.3 Sewer separation in the tributary area has occurred, and the LeBlanc Drain now is dedicated to the collection and transference of storm water for the central portion of the watershed.

2.1.3 Sexton-Kilfoil Drain

The South Branch of the Ecorse Creek, or the Sexton-Kilfoil Drain, is approximately 13 miles long. It extends from Middlebelt Road, near the Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, east through Taylor, Allen Park, and Lincoln Park, and ends where it meets the confluence of the Ecorse River.

The Sexton-Kilfoil is an open water course with a tributary area of approximately 7,600 acres.4 Significant drains tributary to the Sexton-Kilfoil include Grams Drain in Southgate, and the Brighton, Bondie, and the Sloss and Ganong Drains in Taylor.

1 Facility Planning Study Pollution Abatement of Ecorse Creek, Wade-Trim. November 1974.

Ecorse Creek Watershed Management Plan Combined Sewer Overflow

There’s more then one thing going on in this city, different areas flooding, what was the reason for the last flood event? What was the sudden disappearance of the water in so many peoples basements? Why hasn’t the Mayor looked into the several streets from last year, the same streets that have again flooded? Again I ask you to please call the city, and give your address if you flooded, they need to know each, and every house that flooded, but this time let’s all keep on top of what is being done about it. Let’s not just give our address, and not keep asking them what they’ve done about it.


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