Online Service Requests - Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner
Did you know that you can now report flooding and other problems right here, on our website?
The Office of the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner, in conjunction with Washtenaw County Information Technology Services, recently implemented a new option for reporting drainage problems. Members of the public have long had the option to call (734-222-6860) or email us to report flooding, clogged storm sewers, overgrown swales/channels and other stormwater management problems. As of right now you also have the option of entering a service request online using your smartphone or personal computer.
Simply navigate to the "Customer Service Request" page and follow the instructions to locate the problem area on an interactive map. You will be asked to provide your contact information and a description of the problem; you may also upload a photograph. Often photographs are very helpful in locating the specific problem area and showing, rather than telling, our field staff what, exactly, is going on. Our administrative staff will contact you during regular business hours to obtain additional details and to inform you of whether a County Drain Inspector will be addressing your request or the information will be conveyed to the agency responsible for addressing it.
You are welcome to submit service requests online at any time, day or night, but please remember that our office is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (with the exception of holidays).
Always, if you are experiencing a flooding emergency outside of regular business hours, please call 9-1-1.
We also welcome feedback on the Service Request interface. Please let us know if you see anything that could make the process easier.
Water Resources Commissioner Responsibilities for County Drains
Within County drainage districts, the Water Resources Commissioner is responsible for accounting of expenditures and financial statements, for maintaining records of the establishment and operation of each, and for conducting routine maintenance of the drains. Major drain projects (generally defined as those with costs in excess of $5000 per mile) are initiated by citizens or municipality(s) through a petition process. Costs are recovered through special assessments levied on private properties, local governments, county roads, railroads, and state highways. The Water Resources Commissioner is responsible for review and approval of storm water management systems in private developments under the Michigan Land Division Act and in response to local governments' development review procedures. Washtenaw's Design Standards, cited as a model for the Great Lakes States, are being implemented by neighboring Livingston and Wayne counties.
Water Resources Office staff are also participants in the County's environmental emergency response system, providing materials and staff assistance to contain pollution situations and prevent surface and groundwater contamination.
What is a County Drain?
A county drain may be an open ditch, stream or underground pipe, retention pond or swale that conveys stormwater. These drains become designated as county drains through a petition process where either property owners or a local city, village or township petitions the Water Resources Commissioner to establish a county drain.
Not All Storm Drains are County Drains
Drains, including roadside ditches, pipes, bridges and culverts under roads that drain state highways and county roads that are not designated County drains are maintained by the Washtenaw County Road Commission 734-761-1500. Drain pipes that are not county drains and are not along roads may be the property owner's responsibility (i.e. in farm fields or parking lots). Creeks, streams or rivers that are not under our jurisdiction may be the responsibility of the MDEQ Jackson office (517-780-5000) for flooding or pollution. Pollution concerns should be reported to 9-1-1.
Water and sewer lines are operated by the local utility authority.
- Ann Arbor Utilities Department: 734-794-6320;
- Milan City: 734-439-1501;
- Saline City: 734-429-4907;
- Ypsilanti City: 734-483-1100;
- Ypsilanti Community Utilities Authority: 734-484-4600;
- Washtenaw County Environmental Health (Wells and Septic): 734-222-3800.
In addition, some local municipalities have utility departments that also operate and maintain their own storm drain facilities.
For information on rights related to water flow: Drain Law for Michigan Landowners - by Melvin L. Cotner and A. Allan Schmid, Extension Bulletin E-382, September 1963 (updated by the Washtenaw County Drain Commissioner's Office in 2003).
Am I Located or Doing Business near a County
The Washtenaw County Office of the Water Resources Commissioner has some resources to help you locate your proximity to a County Drain. MapWashtenaw is Washtenaw County's Interactive Map Viewer; County Drainage, Drain Easements, Aerial Imagery, Property Lines, Roads and More are available to search and view from this Map Server (click here for tips on MapWashtenaw). Click for a list of Published Drain Maps. Click to download a layer of the Drains as a Google Earth KMZ File.