Green Infrastructure updates

The Detroit Water & Sewerage Department has been moving forward on increasing the role of green infrastructure in dealing with stormwater. The bulk of the activities are concentrated around the Rouge River and partly on the lower eastside, but here are some broadly applicable highlights:

– Creating a stormwater drainage charge system. When DWSD first began to impose the fee on commercial properties in 2013, it was a shock to the owners because it was new, it was high, and it was retroactive to include the past six years. Though the water department hadn’t been charging for it, there is a big cost to treating all the rainwater that runs off of parking lots, roofs, and other impervious surfaces into the combined sewer system before discharging it into the Detroit River. It is finally charging for that service, and this is the first step to establishing the next highlight:

– Credits for reducing stormwater drainage into the sewer through green infrastructure. Ratepayers who keep stormwater out of the system by constructing green roofs, permeable parking lots, bioswales and more can reduce their stormwater drainage fees. (Will this structure also help the community garden owners who have had to pay sewage fees on open lots?)

– DWSD’s Green Infrastructure plan also includes launching a website just for green infrastructure next year, as well as auditing city codes and ordinances to better encourage green infrastructure.

– There may also be an option for property owners to pay into a green infrastructure fund to develop green infrastructure elsewhere if there are limited opportunities to manage stormwater on a particular site.

Check out the Green Infrastructure Plan and progress updates here