Detroit area communities cracking down on illicit sewer connections
Several counties in southeast Michigan are waging war on illicit sewer connections, and their efforts have paid huge dividends.
Over the past decade, those counties have reduce the amount of untreated sewage flowing into lakes and streams by 599 million gallons annually, according to Annette DeMaria, an environmental consultant for Clinton Township, in suburban Detroit.
“That’s pretty cool,” DeMaria said.
Illicit sewer connections are those where sanitary sewage from homes or businesses is discharged into a stormwater pipe, which transports the untreated sewage into lakes and rivers when following rain showers. The situation can cause bacterial pollution in surface waters and on beaches.
Five counties in metropolitan Detroit inspected 24,000 storm sewer outlets. Officials disconnected 4,500 illicit sewer connections, and connected those homes to a sanitary sewer.
DeMaria said the work will reduce bacterial pollution at beaches, a problem that has plagued Detroit area beaches.