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Stormwater Pollution Prevention

Help protect Washtenaw County by reporting illicit discharges and connections. Catch basin labeling helps remind others that only water belongs in the storm sewer system.

Labeled Catch BasinWhen it rains, water washes over roofs, streets, driveways, sidewalks, parking lots and lawns.  Along the way, rain water accumulates a variety of pollutants, such as oils, pesticides, metals, chemicals and sediment.  This polluted stormwater drains into the storm system via catch basins, open drains and detention basins.  The storm system eventually discharges into our rivers and streams.  These pollutants can endanger the water quality of our waterways, making them unhealthy for the people, fish and wildlife that depend on it.  It's important to be aware of storm drains and to take action to prevent stormwater pollution.  The Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner's Office provides several program and resources that help you do just that.

Report Illicit DischargesLeaking vehicle

An illicit connection or discharge occurs when pollutants or non-stormwater materials drain into storm sewer systems via overland flow or from direct dumping of materials into a catch basin or waterway.   Illicit connections may be intentional or unknown to the home or business owner and are often due to the misconnection of floor drains to the storm sewer system.  Common sources of illicit discharges can be failing septic systems, illegal dumping practices, overland drainage from a carwash, dumping of used motor oil in or around a catch basin and/or improper disposal of sewage from recreational vehicles or boats.

REMEMBER ... It's against the law to dump any material into the storm drain system.  Report illegal dumping or suspicious discharges and odors to 9-1-1.  Non-emergency issues can be reported via the Washtenaw County Environmental Reporting Line at (734) 222-3800. When calling be sure to leave a message, clearly stating your name, contact information and nature of the environmental issue.

Catch Basin Labeling

Stencils or decals that promote the message, “Dump No Waste – Drains to the River” serve as a great reminder that only water belongs in the storm system.  Catch basin labeling makes a great educational activity for employees, environment committees, and community or school groups!  If you would like to add these markers or stencil the drains on your property, please contact us at (734) 222-6833 or email Heather Rice ( for more information. 

Adopt-A-Catch Basin (or Adopt-A-Storm Drain)

You can help keep the stormwater flowing by taking time to clean the catch basin in front of your property.  Remove leaves, limbs and debris before they enter into the storm drain by using a broom or rake.  Remember, don’t put your hand into the storm drain – all kinds of debris collects there that could be dangerous.

Other Brochures and Information

For more information, click on the topic of interest below.  These programs are also offered at no cost to local governments and agencies that hold Stormwater Permits.

Prescription Drugs

Paint Pointers

Fats, Oils & Grease

Detention Basin Manual - Developed by Alliance of Rouge Communities

Community Partners for Clean Streams

Riversafe Homes

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