West Chicago Stormwater Improvement Project

Project Overview

The City of Detroit is collaborating with the community on projects to make our infrastructure more climate resilient. Stormwater and sewer systems are unified into a single combined system, which was built decades ago and sized to handle rain and snow events of the past, not the intense rain and snowmelt volume we see today. During heavy rain and snowmelt events, the system’s capacity may be exceeded causing basement backups and street flooding. Additionally, the excess stormwater and untreated sewerage overflows to the Rouge River through designated outfalls. 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 West Outer Drive neighborhood to remove rain and snowmelt from the combined sewer system and reduce basement backups, street flooding and CSO discharge. This will entail a multi-year construction project, which will be implemented in phases for minimal disruption to the neighborhood. Construction is expected to begin in June 2024.

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. Reduce sewage overflows to the Rouge River
  2. Improve water quality of the Rouge River
  3. Reduce basement backups
  4. Reduce street flooding


Green Stormwater Infrastructure

To improve climate resiliency by providing more capacity in the sewer system, DWSD utilizes green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) as a tool to capture rainfall and snowmelt and divert it to the Rouge River. GSI projects reduce the amount of stormwater in the combined sewer system which, in return, reduces basement backups, street flooding and CSOs, improving water quality in the Rouge River. DWSD has several GSI projects on the west side of Detroit, adjacent to the Upper Rouge River including the $40M Far West Stormwater Improvement Project.

 Where possible on the West Chicago Stormwater Improvement Project, and if property owners approve, GSI may be installed in the berms (grass area between the street and the sidewalk) on Elmira and Orangelawn.


Project Timeline:

  • 2021-2022:                  Design and analysis
  • 2023-2024:                  Community engagement and input; final design
  • Spring 2024:                Contract awarded
  • Summer 2024-2027:   Construction


Community Engagement & Meetings

  • August 30, 2023:                     Project introduction community meeting
  • September 11, 2023:              Project presentation at West Outer Drive Civic Association community meeting
  • March 11, 2024:                      Construction and design update meeting at West Outer Driver Civic Association community meeting


Join the email list to receive project updates

  • Send your name and email address to DWSD Public Affairs with the subject line "West Chicago List Serv."

Questions? Call 313-880-2812.


Project Area

West Chicago Project