Most of the pollution entering our waterways arrives with the rain water that runs off hard surfaces such as roads, parking lots, and rooftops. The polluting culprits are dirt, oil and toxic auto fluids, pesticides and fertilizer, and bacteria from animal waste and failing septic systems.

We depend on storm drains and sewers, drainage ditches and culverts to keep our streets from flooding during storms. However, these devices also direct polluted and untreated rainwater directly into our local streams, lakes, and wetlands.

WCRC, in conjunction with other watershed partners, encourages the public to educate themselves on simple steps they can take to help reduce pollution.  Some simple steps you can take include picking up pet waste, proper disposal of motor oil or choosing phosphorous-free lawn fertilizer.

To view more information about storm water and public education materials, please visit:

Public Involvement Plan

Watershed planning is a multifaceted process that includes opportunities for public input.  The Washtenaw County Road Commission encourages the public to be aware of the watershed plan development process and take advantage of opportunities to provide input.

Click here to view the Huron River Watershed Council’s Watershed Management Plans

Illicit Discharge Elimination Program (IDEP)

Dumping wastes into storm drains, catch basins, or ditches carries pollutants directly to our waters and it is illegal!  Please report any illegal dumping.

Special Community Reporting Line for Suspected Non-Emergency Illicit Discharge: (734) 222-3880 

For Hazardous or Flammable Spills: Call 9-1-1 immediately

What is an Illicit Discharge or Connection?

An illicit discharge is any discharge to the storm sewer system that is not composed entirely of rainwater or groundwater.  Examples include dumping of motor vehicle fluids, household hazardous wastes, grass clippings, leaf litter, industrial waste, restaurant wastes or other non-storm water materials into a storm sewer system via a pipe or other direct connection.  Sources of illicit connections may include sanitary sewer taps, wash water from laundromats or car washes, and other similar sources.

How Do I Spot an Illicit Discharge or Connection?

  • Look for makeshift pipes or hoses that lead to storm drains or bodies of water.
  • Watch for stains, unusual odors, structural damage to streets or gutters and abnormal vegetative growth in nearby lakes and streams.
  • If you see an illicit discharge or connection, REPORT IT to your community. The Illicit Discharge and Connection Ordinance provides your community the legal authority to inspect and sample discharge, as well as enforce sanctions for violations.

For more, view the Michigan Department of Transportation’s “How to Deal with Illicit Discharge.”

Catch Basin Messaging

To deter illegal dumping into catch basins and other storm structures, the Washtenaw County Road Commission has installed the following decal on many existing structures. All newly installed catch basins and storm inlets are required to have the “No Dumping – Drains to Stream” language embossed into the casting.

Stream Crossing Sign Program

As part of an ongoing public education awareness initiative, the Washtenaw County Road Commission, in association with the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office, continues its annual program of installing stream crossing signs.

The purpose of the signs is to promote awareness of the presence of a water body crossing a roadway and that the water body is an integral part of a watershed.  Hopefully, with increased awareness of these water bodies, the public will be more cognizant as to potential negative impacts of behaviors such as throwing waste or pollutants alongside the roadway.

Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping

The Washtenaw County Road Commission (WCRC) owns and operates five maintenance yards and other properties throughout the county.  As part of our commitment to being good stewards and community partners, the WCRC has developed pollution incident prevention plans for each of its yards.

Other pollution prevention measures conducted by WCRC:

  • Fleet Maintenance– regular maintenance and calibration of a fleet of 150 vehicles to reduce emissions, fuel consumption, eliminate drips, reduce the use of salt.
  • No Idle Policy– implemented in 2008, this policy aims to reduce emissions and fuel consumption.
  • Snow Event Pre-Wetting of Salt–minimizes the use of road salt.
  • Street Sweeping Program– biannual program aims to reduce silt and debris infiltration into the storm sewer system.
  • Catch Basin Cleaning Program– annual program aims to reduce silt and debris infiltration into the storm sewer system and keep the system functioning properly.
  • Energy Audits– aims to reduce energy usage and seek ways to improve facility functions.
  • Tier Emissions Equipment Replacement Policy– aims to replace aging equipment with updated emissions reduction compliant equipment.
  • Membership with Ann Arbor and Detroit Area Clean Cities Coalition

Construction Storm Water Runoff Control

In accordance with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), the Washtenaw County Road Commission is an Authorized Public Agency (APA) for Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control.  On December 2, 2008, the Washtenaw County Board of County Road Commissioners passed resolution RC08-443, adopting the MDEQ Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Operating Procedures for the Washtenaw County Road Commission.

WCRC employees who oversee and inspect WCRC construction and maintenance projects maintain Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control (SESC) and Construction Storm Water Operator (CSWO) certification administered by the MDEQ.  This ensures that construction plans include all appropriate SESC measures.  This also ensures the SESC measures are installed correctly and properly maintained throughout the duration of the WCRC project.

Citizens wishing to report concerns of soil erosion control measures on WCRC projects should contact the main office at (734) 761-1500, or via email at

Post-Construction Water Management for New Development & Redevelopment

In January of 2007, the Washtenaw County Road Commission (WCRC) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office (WCWRC) to address design standards for WCRC projects requiring a WCWRC permit. This MOU is intended to address post-construction water management for WCRC construction projects. The WCRC is also working towards incorporating and implementing Low Impact Development (LID) techniques into our design practices.

In addition, the WCRC implemented “Procedures and Regulations for Developing Public Roads.” WCRC also implemented “Procedures and Regulations for Permit Activities.” WCRC works closely with the WCWRC to ensure that new road development is in compliance with WCWRC requirements. These documents provide the guidelines to the extent that WCRC legally can regulate post construction water management for new development and redevelopment.