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Looking back at 2016

The metropolitan Detroit area has several Retention Treatment Basins (RTBs) around SouthEast Michigan that release “treated” flow into rivers and lakes.

For 2016 alone, the grand total, is 16 Billion gallons – from the RTBs.


As we all know, rainstorms are dynamic, ever changing, un-predictable natural events.

It can rain like hell in one city, a deluge, a torrent, a monstrous amount, while leaving adjacent, nearby cities and communities barely touched, almost dry, just sprinkled.

The operators at the Retention Basin facilities work diligently around the clock, and some rain events last hours;  while others stretch into several days of relentless rainfall. The workers are in a repetitive cycle, based primarily on gravity fed drains, of filling the basin, treating the flow, discharging flow, de-watering the basin, and cleaning the basin.

Very hard long thunderstorm events push the basin systems until it becomes almost free flow, minimal screening, minimal “treat/spray” with extreme quick hold/turnaround period – because the VOLUME of stormwater runoff is just too large.

I’ll leave it up to your imagination of what toilet sewage – gets captured – as it flows thru a 2 inch  x  2 inch  square screen mesh  – for the “”treatment”” in a retention basin.


Interested in reading the Official Report – prepared by the GLWA – all nice and polished

I encourage people to read. PLEASE ask questions, educate yourself, protect your homes and family. Personally I found it outrageous that folks have waterfront property, complete with seawalls, docks for the boat; and still build a pool for their kids to splash around in. Paying a mortgage, insurance, and taxes for a piece of property where you CAN NOT jump off the seawall into the water and swim – is a sad situation.

Ask the folks on the other side of Dequindre Road, in OaklandCounty, how they would feel, if MacombCounty just plain SHUT THE DOOR on receiving any stormwater/sewage flow. They have acres upon acres of inter-connected waterways via Cass  Lake, Orchard Lake, Sylvan Lake, etc., etc. – with absolutely no Waste Water Treatment plants for their toilets.


GERRYMANDERING exists  – which area belongs to which politician ??????

Ask why there are no Waste Water Treatment Plants that release into those lakes  ?

Slowly you begin to see the political nonsense that impedes CLEAN WATER in MICHIGAN




Does it really make sense to you – for Oxford, Michigan – to send sewage – via the Interceptor drain system – ALL THE WAY to Detroit Michigan for processing ?

The same goes for West Bloomfield — really — its sewage goes thru Warren to Detroit ?

THIS is the Interceptor Sewage System of metropolitan Detroit – for OaklandCounty



Interceptor Diagram.png



Flood Warning March 1

No way to sugarcoat this – We received a massive amount of rain in just a few hours


This gauge from the USGS is located where multiple tributaries merge

Garfield Road between 16 Mile and 17 Mile as it goes into the Clinton River


Justification of government

I came across an interesting quote recently :

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often”

History has shown that cities formed to accommodate densely clustered high skilled labor pools that thrive on innovative ideas. Those cities had to invent new ways to house the flood of citizens seeking employment.  Proximity plays a crucial role. It has been shown face-to-face communications lead to higher trust between teams. Cities function via people running into each other at events, bars and gatherings.

People expect the taxes they pay, to go towards government for 2 items.  Protection from violence and Providing items individuals cannot create for themselves. Infrastructure in the past,  was done by private entrepreneurs, who created a railroad, a road, etc. and charged a toll. As projects grew larger,  necessary capital so huge, the government took over.


Government is the provider in the eyes of many citizens. Many might say,  government is to exist as an INVESTOR in its citizens. It should encourage a more active citizenship, be open and transparent,  share data, and believe in its citizens capabilities.


The quandary occurs where  – citizens can solve things more efficiently and effectively than government can provide for them. Should government invest in the cultivation of citizens capabilities, while provisioning resources and infrastructure to allow citizens, to succeed at scale  ?  People generally agree the discovery of new information is the best way to solve societies problems.

Should we transform government’s role –  to be about directly investing in citizens,  – funding them to become as entrepreneurial, civic, and healthy as possible  ?

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Erie Hack

The Erie Hack is a data and engineering competition that unites coders, developers, engineers, and water experts to generate enduring solutions to Lake Erie’s biggest challenges.


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Funding Beach Testing Ecoli

MDEQ is determined to get a handle on E.coli methodology

quantitative polymerase chain reaction  QPCR – gives results in 4 hours

One of the catches – THE MONEY – $ dollars – funding – expenditures

Issue of CSO release – combined sewer overflow – needs to be addressed


24 hour DNA-specific Ecoli test

Neogen is a Michigan company based in Lansing that has a trademarked

NeoSeek™ STEC Confirmation

next day 24 hour DNA specific Ecoli test for seven pathogenic Shiga Toxin-producing

Ecoli  Strains (STECs) –  O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145, and O157.

Neogen website at  and phone  517/372-9200 or 800/234-5333.


They develop a genetic profile for bacteria in a FOOD sample,  compare it to known reference E.coli strains and then identify strains present.

CAN this method be used for Beach Testing, River Water, Lake Water, etc. – honestly I don’t have those answers, yet.  The answers to this question will be pursued. Knowing if the feces is of Human origin or from feral Cats/Dogs, Waterfowl, etc. is crucial to pin pointing the source of contamination. Is it upstream/downstream from point A, B, C   ?



Snow Board winter weather

How is snow measured by winter meteorologists around the country, including Michigan ? The use of a pre-constructed Snow Board of course ! The only way to get real snow event measurements  uses a raised platform, providing a hard surface, to put a ruler upon.

It is usually just a piece of plywood about ( 16 inch X 16 inch ) and painted white.  A dark-colored surface like a parking lot or driveway absorbs heat, and melts newly fallen snow. Taking a measurement in your yard will yield bad results,  as pockets of air at the bottom blades of grass, give erroneous high snowfall amounts.  


Being an official snowfall spotter is serious business, as the results are sent to the news media, and drive tourism for winter sports. The proper measurements are also used for disaster relief  funding when it becomes treacherous outside.

Where to put your snowboard is also a critical decision. You want a place that is convenient to get to. Ideally a spot that has an open 45 degree  angle to the sky from all directions. An open field is bad, as high winds will scrape fresh snowfall away. An area among houses and trees, providing some buffer is preferable. You may have to shovel a path, so think ahead.

There are rules to be followed, timing of measurements matters a great deal. Official daily snow observations are rounded to the nearest tenth of an inch and are reported at 7 am ; but measuring newly accumulated snow at this time may not necessarily represent an accurate total. For instance, if snow stopped at 3 pm and an observer waits until 7 am the following day to measure, the snow has time to settle, melt and drift.

When multiple snow events occur over a 24 hour period, the observer reports the overall maximum snowfall that accumulated on the snowboard during that time frame and waits until the 7 am observation to clear off the snowboard.



Push for more ecoli testing

I have written about ecoli and taxes in the past as well as sharing various media articles on ecoli and pollution  . It is, without a doubt, an ongoing issue plaguing South East Michigan.

I hope to see a renewed effort along the Red Run, catching those leaking old SEPTIC systems , nonpoint illegal hookups, and more focus on just plain  “rain in the drain”.

Ordinary everyday residents need to speak up, call, report anything that looks suspicious leaking, flowing, oozing from any facility, be it a church, a business, a home, someone’s backyard, some drain pipe, – whatever – notify the authorities to make it right.

Ecoli Issues Michigan.pngHopefully the new tools, media attention, and new Public Works administration in Macomb will crack down on neighbors who continue to have combined sewer overflows fouling the Clinton River and Lake St Clair. It is 2017, a continual evolution for forward progress needs to occur. The 12TownsDrain aka GWK Basin was originally built in 1972.


Psychology and Toilets

There are times when government should mandate items for the greater good of general society.  The USA officials should force the sale of only higher efficient toilets and take everything else off the market. People will not arbitrarily make the choice on their own.

Johnny Cash – Flushed From The Bathroom Of Your Heart –


Government could subsidize the cost, similar to the efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs.  In addition, the use of subtle psychological pressure marketing techniques would work nicely.  ” The entire neighborhood installed the high-efficiency toilets and they are saving money, why haven’t you switched ? ”

For the record – I am not a country music fan – it just seemed so highly appropriate


The Warren Connection OMID 2017

January 2017 is just about over and The City of Warren “still” struggles with an ongoing issue dating way back to 2013 – over 4 year ago – concerning stormwater connection to OMID.  Anyone who views the INTERCEPTOR system architecture can clearly see it flows through Warren on its way to Detroit’s large Waste Water Treatment Plant.

It is time for serious diplomatic resolution of flooding issues affecting Warren, one of Michigan’s largest cities, and evolve forward for the greater good of SouthEast Michigan. There should be ZERO punitive fees, no massive installation charge, for a simple hookup into an INTERCEPTOR pipeline that has already existed since the 1970’s. Warren residents should NOT be financially punished for what occurred in the past, since there was no flow. A fair, reasonable usage fee, based on Wet Weather stormwater volume now, is justified.



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Ordinary homeowners, residents and their families should share the cost of infrastructure, along with the Industrial Giants who use vast amounts resources in SouthEast Michigan. Infrastructure improvement benefits everyone, as industry also suffers losses when workers cannot commute to the work site due to flooding of highways, freeways and streets . Numerous examples like this exist as reminders:


Sewer definitions

I notice many people looking for information on my blog.  All sorts of wording, spellings, comingling, etc. occur since most ordinary people don’t know diddly about infrastructure. I didn’t know either, but I took the time to learn a little bit.

The situation in Fraser Michigan involves an INTERCEPTOR sewer drain deep underground, and the diameter is literally large enough to walk through. It was designed to collect sewage from entire neighborhoods/cities and direct the flow into a WWTP.  The Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) is in Detroit (far away).

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The Interceptors.png

This INTERCEPTOR sewage system (shown above) – is very, very, different from the miles of open to the sky, (i.e. open channel shown below) stormdrains occurring all over in Macomb County. The Red Run is used by Oakland County and the City of Warren when its systems becomes overwhelmed by stormwater .

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Flood Map.png


Digitizing Infrastructure

Of the 20,000 incorporated cities and over 3,000 counties in the USA , only a fraction can share data via open data portals. Sharing data universally among local governments has a long way to go.  There are many infrastructure items involving Inter-County connections. Who would look for Macomb geographically based items on an Oakland County website ?

With the Red Run Drain being an Open Channel StormWater entity in Warren, who would think to look into Oakland County computer/internet resources for information ? This exact issue causes confusion when folks seek out true stormwater and sewage info in local government. Residents lives, economic welfare, and health are affected by combined sewer overflows. Michigan needs to push hard now to eliminate CSO and SSO events.

As 2017 starts off , there needs to be a Michigan mandate for the adoption of digital technologies in infrastructure contracts, figuring in the cost of digitization and technology when setting project budgets.

The construction industry has had a poor productivity record due to its reliance on paper. The processes and deliverables such as blueprints, design drawings, supply chain orders, etc. suffered a gap in transparent information sharing.


“The digital-collaboration and mobility-solutions segment has attracted close to 60 percent of all venture funding in the construction-technology sector. One start-up has developed apps for tablets and smartphones that allow changes in construction blueprints and plans to be relayed in real time to on-site crews; site photos can be hyperlinked to construction plans. This solution maintains a master set of documents with automatic version control and cloud-based access.”  –

A new mindset is needed. Everyone from the Project Owner to the Contractor needs to see past the bare minimum required for contractual obligations.  There is a need for a Technology Officer whose mandate involves a digital agenda, forcing a digitization evolution forward in Michigan counties.

Animals on StormWater Drains ?

The Red Run Drain in Warren flows into the Clinton River and on out to Lake St Clair. An easement for vehicles exists, enabling access for Fire Trucks to put out brush fires along with various forms of heavy earth moving equipment from time to time.

Since much of Warren , Sterling Heights and other cities nearby is heavily populated, having different types of farm animals near people is a contentious issue.


I have to wonder how much ENFORCEMENT actually occurs from inspectors opening gates, peering over fences, and investigating reports of citizens actually raising animals. Perhaps a video drone could fly over property without the need to ring doorbells, open gates , to enhance enforcement of local ordinances ?

Many local ordinances basically say the exact same thing – raising and keeping animals for consumption of some kind, is restricted near public places , like stores & dwellings.

It is literally a slippery slope from eggs, to milk, to slaughter for meat, and giving, bartering, selling items for profit, without inspection, regulation, taxation.  A skinned rabbit carcass without furry paws intact, “can” easily look like “other” animals. There is a term easily researched via Google known as “”roof rabbit””.

It gets interesting with the Michigan Agriculture Commission involvement.

The State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has people sitting on the inter-county DRAIN boards like Michael R. Gregg and Jamie Clover Adams.


Many people have property which is along the stormwater drain and some feel their backyard is beyond reproach from anyone walking along the public easement. The easement is on the Macomb County Master Plan for recreational use. It would be a welcome addition to enhance non-motorized transportation in Macomb County.

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Protect ourselves ? Okay

I came across a surprising blog post from the EPA  over the holidays.

The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States of America

Apparently it is time for Citizen Science to bootstrap itself into relevancy.

The report is available here:












As 2016 ends

Sincere  heartfelt THANKS to all those that read the posts, clicked on the links, shared info with family, neighbors and friends. Please push for more transparency in government, especially when it involves tax dollars. There is no free money , from anywhere, not the feds, the state or the county or your local city  !

There were 22,241 views and 11,020 visitors in 2016


Fraser sinkhole Christmas 2016

A major catastrophe for many folks in Fraser Michigan as a sinkhole swallows people’s homes, utilities shut off electrical power, drinking water, and natural gas.

This was caused by the Oakland Macomb Interceptor Drain, recently overhauled and renovated at a tremendous cost to taxpayers of the area.

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Got flooded ? -Tell Macomb County

I’ve heard a number of stories from folks that are NOT happy with the current state of affairs regarding flooding events by the Oakland / Macomb border.  They feel the system has given them a raw deal and little has been done to fix anything, etc.

TELL the Macomb County officials about the flooding concerns you have. A huge amount of stormwater crosses over (and under) Dequindre Road from Oakland County – into the Macomb County drains, adding to the problem.

Hazard Mitigation.png

2017 Macomb Sewers

As we quickly approach the new year 2017 – does anyone expect change, improvement, progress , a forward evolution concerning the sad state of affairs regarding flooding ?

Did you hear, get contacted, read press articles about “new plans” from officials ?


Was there money set aside to fix the problems in your neighborhood, protect your streets and property from another major rain event occurring in the near future  ?


The Macomb County representative on the GLWA aka Brian Baker has been quiet.  Published on Aug 20, 2015 – Program about the Great Lakes Water Authority featuring Macomb County Representative Brian Baker.

Do you feel County Officials have enacted, planned, strategized, analyzed, the 2014 storm event thoroughly and have actually done anything to aid, prevent, help neighborhoods ? Have you seen an initiative , spread to the masses, via social media, television, etc. that lays out the REGIONAL aka (tri-county) Oakland/Macomb/Wayne solution concerning stormwater flooding  ?

Looking forward to watching elected officials, taxpayer expenditures, and the “plan”

The Master Plan is amateur at best

Macomb County has had a LOT of flooding over the years and you would think that officials like Mark Hackel in an executive position would be “on-top-of-it” . I fear he is not .  I think there is a real lack of PROactive, get it done yesterday urgency, by many officials. Far too much of the ol’ kick the can down the road till someone else deals with it.

An Example taken directly from the County’s Flood Planning document

When I see OLD maps showing Drive In Movie Theatres, I become angry.  Is that where our tax dollars go – to lazy slackers who can’t find a detailed MODERN map of our cities  ? I’ve posted newer maps in my blogs from current county databases

Does this inspire confidence in residents …….the plan for 2020  ?

Maybe they thought no one would actually READ the document ?  Just an exercise to say they did something, pulled together something, made a document to appease others ?




The “right” to flood others ?

Does a population at a Higher Elevation automatically have the “right” to flood those of a lower elevation  ?  Is it just a matter of owning geographical territory that is higher than someone else, that automatically entitles them to throw stormwater down upon those below  ?

It would appear to be that simple according to the history of Oakland County and the Red Run Drain – which flows into Warren within Macomb County.  Over the years, the area near 14 Mile and John R became more commercialized, more industrialized, with much more asphalt, parking lots, and buildings.  The catch – the drainage system remained the same. As I-75 became more congested, and the Oakland Mall shopping vicinity expanded, more and more stormwater gets FUNNELED directly into the Red Run Drain.


Notice the large + crosshairs of 14 Mile and Dequindre Road on the map above. They serve a great reference point to focus upon as your eyes follow the I-75 Highway from the Oakland Mall area down towards the 12 Mile area. You’ll see the water drainage in BLUE.

What exactly is the upper LIMIT of volume in the Red Run Drain before Macomb County says no more, stop, cease and desist, halt,  block and permanently terminate the flow  ?

It is afterall affecting the infrastructure of Warren owned bridges , like the one on Ryan Road, between Chicago and 14 Mile. The water has risen so high it has overflowed the bridge deck and kissed its bottom a number of times.  It is most certainly going to continue to happen in the future, until the bridge fails.

August 11 2014 flood event

May 25, 2011 event

Neighborhood streets drain into Red Run – July 2011

How can the streets drain properly , when the water level is almost at Bridge Height ? They simply can not , and the water gets backed up – forcing itself into people’s basements.  A documented, proven fact, repeated numerous times . Ask my neighbors, we’ve all been hit on numerous occasions, loosing possessions, time, financial resources.

People can clearly see the piping leading into the Red Run Drain via public documents. They have specific names like Henry Graham,  Wilson, Walker Relief, North Drain, South Drain, etc.

North and South Drains.png


It is no secret that Centerline forces its over flow UP towards the Red Run Drain as well, further contributing volume into the tributaries of the Clinton River.

Centerline SSO Path.png

We here in Macomb County get plenty of of our own rain thank you very much.  It has only one place to go, into the Clinton River tributaries. The Tank/Missile/Arsenal area must also drain itself to prevent from being a massive continuous swamp . General Motors built in Warren specifically because it had a LOT of water –


When will Oakland County  grab the bull by its horns and say Oh Wow – we built a huge mall and massive commercial/industrial corridor without installing, building, or creating a Waste Water Treatment Plant for all that sewage  ?   LBrooksP skirted the issue with the 12 TownsDrain snafu that has had continual problems over the years, barely, marginally, threading the loophole of SSO and CSO events. Places as far away as Oak Park, pay to have their stormwater routed into the Red Run Drain. Does that still make sense today  ?



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If DETROIT is sooooo vacant and has OVER capacity – why doesn’t more of Oakland County’s stormwater  sewer flow into Detroit infrastructure lines  – instead of flooding those at lower elevation along the Clinton River  ?

If Oakland County wants true transparency, openness,  – SHARE  the actual stormwater volumes of the drains into Red Run Drain and come clean about who gets charged what !

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We used to be able to see differences


Then it changed

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What will it take to make the records PUBLIC for the Henry Graham,  Wilson, Walker Relief, North Drain, South Drain, etc.  ? Obviously people are being charged MONEY $$$$$ based upon some kind of measurements  ?

With new construction along I-75, even more water volume will enter the Red Run Drain .  How exactly were those calculation made, by whom, and approved how – concerning residents in a County the other side of Dequindre Road – at a lower elevation  ?

Will Warren residents have to live in fear every hard rain to see their backyards full of water, their basements flooded, suffer financial loss – because Oakland County forces its will over the entire region  ?  I say no  !  Enough is enough. There are are limits. Perhaps they need to be imposed by Court Orders from the Feds and State.

Trump Infrastructure Strategy

At the moment it appears Trump favors the idea of Private Investment towards fixing the crumbling infrastructure of the USA. His advisors want to launch  $1 trillion in private sector infrastructure spending via $140 billion in tax credits for the companies willing to do the work.

The concept of P3’s (Public Private Partnerships) is not a new strategy

There is a catch – the Private Sector is just not interested due to the low return on investment. Trump’s team acknowledges that fact : “For infrastructure construction to be financeable privately, it needs a revenue stream from which to pay operating costs, the interest and principal on the debt, and the dividends on the equity.”


There is extreme difficulty forecasting a revenue stream from a P3 endeavor.  It comes from attempting to determine the pricing, utilization rates, and operating costs over time. With the high risk of lending comes the necessity for  large equity expectations. Trumps advisors claim the leverage will be about five times equity. In order to finance a trillion dollars of infrastructure – it is necessary to ask for an equity investment of $167 billion.

You can read all about Trumps advisors analysis here



2016 Election and Red Run

The Red Run Drain is used as a boundary, a dividing line, in elections.

The 3rd largest city in the state, uses an old drainage ditch, as the “line”

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2017 Red Run Drain project

Plan on more noise, diesel fumes and construction equipment along the banks of the Red Run Drain come 2017, as a new project has just been awarded.  I bet few in MACOMB knew this was in the works, as it originates from the other side of Dequindre Road.



The plan since 1970

The stormwater flow from Oakland County into Macomb County is based on an old plan conceived way back in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Therein lies the heart of the problem. NO ONE has really ever thought differently since then. Everyone has just “dealt with it” because it was a pre-existing notion set in motion. Time for Oakland County to deal with its sewer issue, by itself, independent of Macomb County.  Accountability must occur at some point, instead of constantly kicking the can down the road, over and over again.

The Plan USACE.png


Red Run Capacities.png

Notice that ELEVATION restriction , when the Red Run drain hits 613 ft  ?

The Red Run Drain routinely hits 620 ft above sea level the past few years.

Any drain connected to it, suffers the consequences of water elevation at 620ft

The Beaumont Troy hospital as well as Oakland Mall, drain into the Clinton River, with the Dequindre Road borderline clearly displayed by the Twelve Towns District Boundary.

GWK Basin diagram.png


I wonder how much TOTAL VOLUME actually comes out of the concrete structure below Dequindre Road in a major rain storm of 3 to 4 inches over Oakland County — AND why can’t more of it be diverted to Detroit , via the Dequindre Interceptor  ?




The writing on the wall

Let me awaken your inner fears with horror from 10 years ago
The Macomb Daily ran a story in 2006 — “Sewage discharges up in 2006

The article starts off — “More than 1.6 billion gallons of sewage was dumped into Lake St. Clair in 2006,  by government facilities that have made hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements designed to prevent sewage overflows.”

“Officials blame the huge volume of discharges, a one-third increase over 2005 amounts, on an unusually rainy year that often pushed the sewer systems beyond their capacity.

Did ANYBODY catch that – read it again – That was 10 damn years ago folks.

Local governments spent $ 500 MILLION dollars , Federal Money, on upgrades and they still missed the mark by a massive, astronomical mark – Back in 2006

The Macomb Daily article of 2006 goes on to say “sewers and sewage retention basins overflowed into the lake 59 times in the past year. That pollution is blamed for the poor water quality and excessive weed growth along the Lake St. Clair shoreline.”

REALLY, no kidding, you say.

It did what ? – Overflowed – Polluted – Hurt Property Value

Public Officials said – don’t worry, we are on the job , we fixed it .

The GWK Drain, the facility completed a $144 million improvement project in June.”
The 10th time in 2006 that the GWK Drain has overflowed, dumping 745 million gallons of sewage into the waterways. But that compares to a high water mark of 2 billion gallons at the facility in 1998.

Pardon me but SERIOUSLY – have all the  residents of Macomb and Oakland Counties been smoking crack, doing ecstasy, heroin, Trippin’ Out, stoned FOR A DECADE ????

WHY is it not better in 2016 ?  Why no Political Massacres with Public Hangings  ?

Yes it’s gory as all hell, but this is a Halloween masterpiece of FACTS , not fiction.
Maybe we do need a Zombie Apocalypse where each resident gets an axe, a torch soaked in napalm, and reinforced Hummers to drive onto the lawns of politicians, scaring them a bit. Obviously nothing has scared them the past 10 years, so get to it already. Scare a politician , it is the season.
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The 2006 article from the Macomb Daily continues :

“Environmental groups have sharply criticized the failure of local governments in the United States and Canada to curtail overflows. A report released in November by the Toronto-based Sierra Legal Defense Fund said the Great Lakes are being treated like a “toilet,” with 24 billion gallons of overflows annually into the five lakes and Lake St. Clair.”

How much money did that 2006 article mention ?

“After an $80 million fix to the surrounding sewer systems, officials boasted that the Martin and Chapaton retention basins in St. Clair Shores had overflowed just a combined 36 times from 2002 to 2005. But in 2006 alone those two facilities overflowed 19 times, dumping 529 million gallons of sewage into Lake St. Clair.”

Rainfall in the area for 2006 measured 41.5 inches.

And yes this a TRUE story,  so bone shocking real , it should incite Damnation


If a politicians house does get damaged – well you brought it on yourselves, right  ?  We are waayy past the point of being comical and satirical. The elections are coming and you deserve to be scared of what might happen.


House Bill 5991

There is some new legislation being proposed concerning StormWater

Will the bill create a unique, separate, distinct UTILITY, and fees  ?

The House has 11 session days scheduled for the rest of the year.


Search Red Run Drain Blog

The blog is fast approaching 500 postings and has been active since 2011. Some might have trouble finding a specific search word within the Red Run Drain Blog written on WordPress

Google has a very specific manner to restrict your search to the website

Let’s use an example. Maybe you wanted to search for keyword “Elevation

All you have to do is type  Elevation

so it goes KEYWORD  a space – then SITE:  for the webpage


This will work for any search term or keyword you could imagine

Another example might be the term “USACE” for the United States Army Corp Engineers, who usually oversee and Federal project or monies spent on the Red Run

You would type in the Google search area  USACE





Perplexing volume Red Run Drain

The open channel Red Run Drain starts at Dequindre Road in Warren, slightly north of 13 Mile Road, across the street from the Red Oaks Dog Park.  The hard part is determining “what” exactly is measured or reported on the Department Environmental Quality webpage.  Is it strictly the volume of screened and sprayed sewage overflow (CSO) – or – everything from the GWK Retention Basin (RTB)  outlet into the ditch ?  A computer model was created a while back


It is easy to see multiple items in red print such as the Henry Graham Drain, North Drain Pipe, Pollution Control Facility Outlet Weir, South Drain Pipe and Walker Relief Drain. All of these empty onto a concrete slab at elevation of 597 ft above sea level for the open ditch. The bottom of the Ryan Road bridge is about 620 ft,  and the Red Run has kissed it a few times in recent years. The Red Run is often 20 feet deep and 120 feet wide along its 8 mile long path to the Clinton River.

GWK Basin diagram.png

It’s easy to see how the drains match the natural flow of the creeks and streams

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Now lets see what the DEQ webpage reported back in 2011 for the Red Run Drain. Notice each event is labeled as a combined sewer overflow (CSO). Warren has its own WWTP and it is completely separate and independent of the SouthOaklandCountySewageDisposalSystem (SOCSDS) or 12TownsDrain


Lately everything is reported as a RTB event for the GWK Retention Basin, but I saw a report from the GLWA saying the “CSO discharge was going to be separate from the RTB”. This is all a bit perplexing to me and I’m sure most mayors + city council members don’t get it either.  Surely the sewer charges and stormwater charges for the cities involved are MEASURED by some gauges, calculations, procedure, etc. ?  How much volume is too much for the Red Run Drain to handle ? Open areas keep getting developed with more and more runoff existing today, then existed 10 years ago.  Is it all just a good guess based on a model with many assumptions, caveats, constraints, surrounding it ?


Basin Discharge CSO.png

It would appear a large amount of stormwater water volume does NOT go through the screening area and bleach spray process as it is just rain off parking lots, roofs, streets, etc.

North and South Drains.png

Forty-two major storm drains were disconnected and reconnected from 12 different towns to the North and South drains. ANY pollutants on the ground, concrete, blacktop, pavement, parking lots, industrial facilities, or items poured into a storm drain; ends up in the Red Run Drain – untreated.

In the past, existing storm drains discharging into the basin were removed and rerouted, providing more volume to control combined sewer flows. System storage was increased by 30 million gallons to 124 million gallons.  During a prolonged rain storm, the basin will fill via gravity flow and jump over the weir continually, until the storm stops. Almost all of 14 communities over a drainage area of 24,500 acres – are upstream of the Red Run Drain.

Determining exactly what the water volume flow coming out into the open channel ditch into Warren is a perplexing question. Rainfall has tremendous variability , involving Intensity and Duration.  One side of a neighborhood could get hammered hard while the other side merely got a few sprinkles. Perhaps the newer technology SCADA equipment – (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) will aid in getting a more accurate handle on it all.

How much more water can the Red Run Drain handle before property damage occurs to residents of Warren and people living downstream on the Clinton River  ?  Honestly I don’t know the answer to that question – but I’ll continue to pursue it.

The Macomb County Drain Commissioner will have a lot to deal with come 2017

Alternative pavement

The hot topic lately is how to efficiently deal with stormwater runoff. There is a ton of hype for permeable, pervious, and porous alternatives to traditional pavement. At the StormWater Summit 2016 held at Lawrence Technological University October 7th there was a presentation about the harsh reality of maintenance costs regarding various storm water friendly pavements and associated solutions.

Creating areas with native plants to ease runoff issues sounds great and wonderful. After they are installed, they require maintenance. Someone has to pull the weeds which inevitably occur. Who pays to have it done, how many weeds are acceptable  ?  If rain gardens are used extensively in a large city like Warren (35 square miles) , the maintenance cost needs to be added to the city budget. Then there is the issue of mulch wood chips. Quite often the mulch pieces float away, into the grates of the stormdrains, causing another maintenance headache. I am NOT knocking the green initiatives, just presenting a side of the coin people might have easily overlooked.

Rain Garden Example.png

Creating a parking lot that lets the rain get into the ground instead of the stormdrain pipes has great appeal, but it too comes with maintenance issues, costs, budgetary concerns.

Porous Pavement Maintenance.png

There are various systems on the market to accommodate very heavy industrial equipment like semi-trucks, tanks, cranes, etc. along with anything in between, but they have pros/cons as well.  With some solid brainstorming BEFORE items are implemented, solutions to stormwater runoff can work nicely. It pays to do a deep dive first, gather info and learn from prior installation sites, then proceed with the projects.

Parjana and StormWater Summit 2016

A local Michigan company, PARJANA has an innovative solution to stormwater runoff – prevent it from happening by efficiently utilizing the open areas all around us. They’ll be at the upcoming 2016 Stormwater Summit at LTU (Lawrence Technological University) this Friday – October 7 – on the Southfield Campus. Come take a look.



Parjana has a patented product that takes full advantage of the Vadose Zone


The EGRP (energy passive groundwater recharge product) aids the infiltration of rainfall into the soil, thus improving large areas where precipitation puddled, ponded, or ran off. It’s a paradigm shift, a new thought process, to be proactive concerning stormwater. The EGRP has 5 tubular channels that can be extruded into varying lengths to accommodate various site conditions.




Instead of a developer paving a parking lot with asphalt, or pouring concrete, funneling all the rain into drains and flowing it “somewhere else” – The EGRP products can be installed FIRST, in the ground, and a Porous Parking Lot Surface put on top, resulting in zero additional strain to existing underground stormwater systems.  The EGRP products are also extremely useful for golf courses, large open grassy fields, etc.  to offset the devastating stormwater effect from all the existing impervious surface all around us.

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LinkedIn Greg McPartlin