$40M Storm and Melt Water Runoff Project Begins on Detroit’s West Side

The Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) has announced the start of a five-year, $40 million project to redirect rainwater and snowmelt from a west side neighborhood into two new detention basins as well as other improvements.
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Detroit Aerial Panorama during sunset
The Far West Detroit neighborhood near West Warren and Telegraph Road containing 1,200 homes will be the beneficiary of a $40 million melt and flood water runoff project. // Stock Photo

The Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) has announced the start of a five-year, $40 million project to redirect rainwater and snowmelt from a west side neighborhood into two new detention basins as well as other improvements.

Detroit-based Major Contracting will lead the construction. The two new detention basins will filter stormwater and discharge it directly into the Rouge River, providing significant relief to the local and regional combined sewer system.

The project also includes water main and lead service line replacement. New for this DWSD project is the addition of downspout disconnections for about 400 houses that have gutter downspouts connected to the sewer system. Major Contracting will begin the preparations for the new sewer piping related to the detention basins.

“After three years of community engagement with the Far West Civic Association, the Friends of Rouge Park along with other stakeholders, today we begin construction of our largest stormwater project to date,” says Gary Brown, director of the DWSD.

“The stormwater improvement project in far west Detroit is unique to our other 16 green stormwater infrastructure projects in that it redirects stormwater from an entire neighborhood into new detention basins in a city park and keeps it out of the sewer system by discharging to the Rouge River. It is transformative projects like this which will lead to operating a more climate resilient sewer system.”

Construction of the stormwater retention project began this month and will be completed within five years and will represent an investment of more than $40 million. The project, which also will include water system and sewer system upgrades, will direct roof and street runoff from the Far West Detroit neighborhood near West Warren and Telegraph Road containing 1,200 homes.

It is estimated that the retention project will remove 98 million gallons of stormwater runoff each year from the combined sewer system on the city’s far west side. A regional effort, led by DWSD, significant funding has been secured from the Oakland County Water Resources Commission as the project also benefits the Evergreen-Farmington Sanitary Drain Drainage District.

“Through the collaboration with City of Detroit Parks and Recreation designers and the Friends of Rouge Park, the stormwater project will enhance the park features for all residents and visitors,” says Lisa Wallick, field services director for stormwater and permits for the DWSD.

Major Contracting, based in Detroit, was chosen through a formal bidding process as the primary contractor. It will be obligated to follow Mayor Mike Duggan’s Executive Order 2021-2 that requires at least 51 percent of the hours performed on city contracts more than $3 million is done by Detroit residents.

Not only will the City of Detroit Civil Rights, Inclusion, and Opportunity Department monitor the compliance, DWSD’s opportunity and inclusion director will continually engage with the contractor and its subcontractors to ensure the effort is maximized.

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