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Public Works Office
Candice S. Miller
21777 Dunham Road, Clinton Township, MI 48036
(586) 469-5325

Contact: Dan Heaton

Phone: 586-469-7424



September 25, 2018

Permit Change Reflects Ongoing Effort to Protect Lake St. Clair

The State of Michigan has re-classified the nature of a stormwater retention basin in St. Clair Shores to more accurately reflect its operations.

In a newly-issued permit, the state has designated the Martin Retention Basin (RTB) as a combined sewer overflow (CSO) facility. Previously, the facility had been designated as a sanitary sewer facility. A combined sewer overflow is primarily comprised of stormwater runoff, with some sanitary sewage included in the flow. A sanitary sewer overflow is all or almost all sanitary sewage. All discharges from the Martin RTB are treated with a sodium hypochlorite solution - a type of bleach -- prior to discharge, regardless of the source of the water.

"This change not only correctly reflects the operation of the Martin Retention Basin, but I believe it serves as a foreshadowing of sorts for future improvements we plan to make at the facility," said Candice S. Miller, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner.

The Martin RTB is an 8.6-million gallon underground storage facility used to hold stormwater during heavy rains or snowmelt. When wet weather overloads local storm sewers, the basin is utilized to hold water and, if volumes require, treat it with the sodium hypochlorite solution before discharging the water into Lake St. Clair. The use of the facility ensures that basements and low-lying areas in Roseville and St. Clair Shores do not flood during heavy rains.

The Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality analyzed new data provided by the MCPWO on current operations standards and lake discharges at the Martin RTB and made the determination to re-classify the permit.

"Last year, we conducted a thorough cleaning of the basin, something that hadn't happened in many years. We are preparing to improve the basin's flushing system, which allows us to better clean out the basin between discharge events. No one step by itself is going to ensure a pristine clean Lake St. Clair, but we continue to take steps to make improvements," Miller said.

The commissioner said her team of staff engineers is currently engaged in developing more comprehensive, large-scale improvements, both at the Martin RTB and at the Chapaton Retention Basin, which serves Eastpointe and St. Clair Shores.

"Our lake was not compromised in a single day, so we cannot enact all of the protections it needs in a single day. We can - and have - however, make a transformational change in our approach to protecting the lake. That means we will continue to take actions, large and small, that improve our water quality," Miller said. "As our engineers and consultants continue to re-examine the system, we are developing plans that will allow us to make these transformational changes. This permitting change by the DEQ only serves to challenge us to continue to make a difference and to do more to protect our magnificent Great Lakes."


21777 Dunham Road, Clinton Township, MI, 48036