GLWA Sewer Districts
The newly formed GLWA will have to deal with old Sewer District issues as they emerge in discussions over who and where pays what, and how much for how long.
Do you know the name of your current Sewer District, who exactly runs it, and how the charges are figured out ? We all pay for StormWater, it has to flow somewhere. Yes, we pay money to dispose of Rain.
The Southeastern Oakland County Sewage Disposal Authority (also referred to as the Twelve Towns Drain
District) was established in 1942 to address flooding problems in this region. The Twelve Towns Drain
District includes the cities of Berkley, Birmingham, Clawson, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods,
Madison Heights, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak, Southfield, Troy, Royal Oak Township and the
Village of Beverly Hills.
In 1972, the Twelve Towns Drain District completed construction of a Retention Treatment Facility (RTF), a
20 foot high by 65 foot wide structure in the bed of the former Red Run Drain. This RTF runs 2.2 miles from
Twelve Mile and Stephenson Highway in a northeastern direction to Dequindre Road south of Whitcomb
where it empties into the Red Run Drain.
During rain events, the RTF receives a combination of storm and sanitary flows from the 14 communities
that make up the District. The RTF captures this storm water and sanitary sewage and drains gradually into
the Dequindre Sewer Interceptor where flows travel south to the Detroit Water and Sewage Board Treatment
In heavy storms, after retaining 35 million gallons of combined sewage, the basin overflows into the
Red Run Drain, in Warren, after receiving primary treatment including skimming and chlorination.
As part of an Agreement with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), the Twelve
Towns Communities were required to plan and construct $144 million (original estimate) in improvements to
the RTF aimed at reducing the volume and the frequency of the overflows, and providing adequate treatment
of these overflows when they do occur.
Twelve Towns Contested Case Settlement
On October 22, 1998, the Director of MDEQ issued the new Pollutant Discharge Operating Permit that allows the South Oakland County Sewerage Disposal System (SOCSDS) to
discharge Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) into the Red Run Drain until October 1, 2003. This Permit has
been renewed several times since then.
In June 2005, the communities agreed to the change and renaming the permit to “George W. Kuhn Drainage
Board on behalf of the George W. Kuhn Drainage District”.