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Rules of the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner

The Rules of the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner embody a shift in stormwater management philosophy. Where in the past these rules have governed stormwater management from a flood control perspective, they have been revised to include design standards that provide more sophisticated quantity control, and directly address water quality.

These revisions are based upon the most current body of knowledge concerning stormwater management from across the state and country, modified as appropriate for application in Washtenaw County. A Technical Advisory Committee, representing both public and private interests within the County, contributed extensively to the content of these rules throughout the revision process. For detailed information, please read through the Rules of the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner.

Permit and Development Review Fees

Please note that a fee schedule was adopted by the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners

Other developments needing approval by the Office of the Water Resources Commissioner will be reviewed at a rate of $105.00 per hour with a two hour minimum for initial submittal.

When is a Permit Needed?

Crossing, modifying, discharging to a county drain or any work within a county drain easement requires a permit from the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner.  Please contact the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner's office for a Drain Use Permit Application (734-222-6860) Important: Please include plans and fees with the permit application; see below.  Permits from other agencies may also be necessary. If you are seeking to discharge to a County Drain, you will also need to submit an Affidavit of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Protection.

Plans showing the proposed crossing, modification or discharge must be submitted along with a permit application, $60.00 permit fee and review plus inspection fees.

Subdivision Control Act

All plats recorded with the Register of Deeds must conform with Act 288 of the Public Acts of 1967, known as the Subdivision Control Act. Under this Act, the Water Resources Commissioner is responsible for ensuring that the drainage or stormwater management system of a subdivision is adequate to address storm water management needs within the proposed subdivision, and for protecting downstream landowners from flooding and degradation of water quality. The procedures, standards and recommendations set forth in the rules are designed for these purposes.

In accordance with the provisions of Act 288, the Water Resources Commissioner has the authority, through the subdivision review process, to require that County Drains and natural water courses, both inside and outside the plat, be improved to the standards established by the Water Resources Commissioner, when necessary, for the proper drainage of a proposed subdivision.

Under these rules, the Water Resources Commissioner will ensure that all stormwater facilities necessary for a proposed subdivision will have an appropriate governmental unit responsible in perpetuity for performing maintenance or for overseeing the performance of maintenance by a private entity, such as a property owner\'s association. As specified in Act 288, the County Water Resources Commissioner may acquire jurisdiction over the drainage systems within subdivisions as deemed necessary for adequate operation and maintenance.

The general standards set forth will also be applied by the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner in review of site condominium plans prepared under Act 59, P.A. 1987, applications for permits to discharge to a County drain under P.A. 40 of 1956, as amended, and in advisory review of stormwater system plans in other classes of developments or redevelopments, when requested by local governments.

The rules provide minimum standards to be complied with by proprietors, and in no way limit the authority of the municipality in which the subdivision is situated to adopt or publish and enforce higher standards as a condition of approval of the final plat or site plan.

Stormwater management technologies are rapidly developing and improving; the rules will be revised as necessary, with the most recently dated sheets being applicable.

Low Impact Design

For examples of low-impact storm water management, refer to our fact sheets on porous pavement, bioretention, engineered systems, native landscaping and swales.  Water quality is important to all of us.  Protecting our lakes, rivers, and streams is critical to preserving the natural character of our rural areas, and maintaining a high quality of life in our villages and cities.

Floodplain Information

The County Drain Commissioner/Water Resources Commissioner Does Not regulate Flood Zones.  On March 1, 2003, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program.

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