Far West Detroit Stormwater Improvement Project

Project Overview

The Far West Detroit neighborhood (also considered  Parkland) faces a number of challenges with its current aging infrastructure. Stormwater and sewer systems are unified into a single combined system, which is sized to handle a limited amount of volume. During heavy rain events the system’s capacity is exceeded causing the excess stormwater and untreated sewerage to overflow to the Rouge River. This overflow point is called a Combined Sewer Overflow, or CSO. When CSOs are utilized, untreated stormwater and sewage flow into the Rouge River and have a negative impact on the environment. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) is working with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to eliminate CSOs in accordance to state law.

In response, DWSD will be making a significant investment in the Far West Detroit neighborhood to remove rain and snow melt from the combined system and reduce CSO discharge. This will entail a multi-year construction project, which will be implemented in phases for minimal disruption to the neighborhood. 

This impactful project will modernize the neighborhood’s underground infrastructure system and will lessen the effects on the environment through a reduction in untreated CSO discharges.

Project Goals:

  1. Meet State permit requirements for reductions in stormwater runoff to sewers

  2. Reduce sewage overflows to the Rouge River

  3. Improve the water quality of the Rouge River

Surface Green Infrastructure Goals

The northern portion of the improvement project will utilize a large detention basin for managing wet weather. This improvement’s design will carefully consider its context, to ensure it enhances the aesthetic of Rouge Park.

  1. Limit disturbance and respect the Butterfly Garden, Prairie Trail and other in-place Rouge Park elements
  2. Design with a naturalistic aesthetic to integrate into Rouge Park
  3. Utilize plantings native to Michigan
  4. Design practice to compliment the Parkland neighborhood and Rouge Park

Project Timeline

  • 2018-2019:                         Design and analysis
  • 2020:                                  Community engagement and input; final design
  • Early 2021:                         Contract awarded
  • Spring/Summer 2021:   Construction starts

Community Engagement & Meetings

The project is currently in the design and community input phase. A meeting with community leaders was held in October 2019 to introduce the project. The first community-wide introduction was during a neighborhood meeting in February 2020. A virtual meeting to present the project's design progress and get community input was held virtually in May 2020.. And, DWSD has hosted several smaller meetings with neighborhood leaders during Summer 2020.