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The Rouge River Project
Bringing the river back to life!
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Storm Water ManagementBrief SummaryOverview Description of Storm Water Management in the Rouge WatershedMichigan General Storm Water PermitApplying for a Michigan General Storm Water PermitGuidance Materials for Applying for a General Storm Water PermitPhase II Federal Storm Water RuleSubwatershed Management Planning
Storm Water Management Pilot ProjectsStorm Water Management ReportsRouge Project Presentations on Storm Water Management

Storm Water Management

The early focus of the Rouge Project was on the control of CSOs in the older urban core portion of the downstream areas of the Rouge Watershed. As a finite number of point source CSO discharges could be identified and responsibility for each defined, the traditional regulatory approach of issuing NPDES permits mandating corrective action worked relatively well. Within two years of the first sampling conducted under the Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project in 1993, it became evident that sources of pollution upstream of the combined sewer overflows were a major contributor to the impaired uses observed in the river. Storm water runoff and illicit connections to separate storm water systems were identified as a major source of pollutants entering the river. Without efforts to address storm water runoff in upstream areas, the major capital investments to control CSOs in downstream areas would not result in significant improvements in the water quality of the river. Later studies emphasized the need to control storm water runoff that was responsible for the increasing frequency, volume and velocity of flood flows in the river. These excessive flows following wet weather events in the Rouge River watershed were shown to be responsible for significant impairments to aquatic habitat and riparian properties. Click here to learn more about stream flow issues in the Rouge Watershed.

Based upon what was learned, the focus of the Rouge Project became more holistic to consider the impacts from all sources of pollution and use impairments in receiving waters by using the watershed management approach. There is a clear inter-relationship of the pollution sources within a watershed that demands an inter-related approach to a solution in order to achieve water quality standards and associated designated uses within a watershed. The use of the watershed approach therefore emerged as the most cost-effective and logical approach to water resource management in the Rouge Watershed and elsewhere. For a more detailed discussion of the watershed management aspects of the Rouge Project, click on the Watershed Management section of this web site.

As discussed in greater detail in the Overview Description of Storm Water Management in the Rouge Watershed, the control of storm water was identified as a major component in the restoration of the Rouge River. At the heart of the storm water management approach being used in the Rouge Watershed is the watershed based Michigan's Watershed Based Storm Water Permit. This voluntary permit established the process for developing watershed management plans to address the control of storm water and other sources of pollution. The Rouge Project has developed extensive guidance material for Applying for a Watershed Based Storm Water Permit.

The Rouge Project has provided a unique opportunity for addressing storm water in order to restore and protect an urban river system by using a cooperative, locally based approach to pollution control.

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Last Updated: 12/10/2003

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The Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project is funded, in part, by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Grants #XP995743-01, -02, -03, -04, -05, -06, -08 and C-264000-01.