Services Include

Storm Water

The City of Northville is located within the Rouge River watershed. Northville is committed to protecting the water courses within and downstream of the community. The following information can be used as a guide to help the residents and commercial businesses of Northville properly manage their storm water runoff.

Related Links:

Rouge River Project
Alliance of Rouge Communities
Friends of the Rouge
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Oakland County Water Resources Commission
Wayne County Department of Environment
SEMCOG Partners for Clean Water

It’s our Water:

What is a watershed?
A watershed is another word for a river basin. It is all the land that drains to a common body of water, such as a river, lake, or stream. The City of Northville is part of the Rouge River Watershed.

What is stormwater?
Stormwater is the rainfall or snowmelt that flows over our yards, streets, parking lots, and buildings and either enters the storm drain system or runs directly into a lake or stream.

What is a storm drain?
Storm drains are the openings you see along curbs and in streets and parking lots. They carry away rainwater and snowmelt and transport it through the system to nearby lakes and streams. Water and other debris that enter storm drains do not go to a treatment facility.

What is a sanitary sewer?
A sanitary sewer takes household water and waste from toilets, sinks and showers, and transports it to a wastewater treatment facility. There, the water is treated and then discharged back to a river, lake, or stream.

How does stormwater get polluted?
As stormwater flows over our lawns and driveways, it picks up fertilizers, oil, chemicals, grass clippings, litter, pet waste, and anything else in its path. The storm drain system then transports these pollutants, now in the water, to local lakes and streams. Anything that goes into a storm drain eventually ends up in a river, lake, or stream.

Healthy Lawn and Garden Care:

What’s the issue?
When landscaping your yard you can protect your kids, pets, and the environment from harm. By choosing plants that are native to Michigan and by practicing good lawn-care practices, you can help prevent pollution of our lakes and streams.

What are some helpful tips?
Here are some simple steps you can take to landscape and maintain a healthy yard and help keep our water clean. Give them a try. A few simple changes can make a big difference!

  • Mow high. Make your lawn cheaper and easier to maintain by mowing high (three inches is recommended). Taller grass requires less water, promotes root growth, and shades out weeds.
  • Select earth-friendly fertilizers – Fertilizers with slow-release nitrogen and low or no phosphorus are recommended.
  • Sweep up Fertilizer from paved surfaces back onto the lawn – Fertilizer left on sidewalks and driveways can easily wash into storm drains, local rivers and nearby lakes.
  • Use mulch. Place a thick layer of mulch (e.g., four inches) around trees and plants. This helps retain water, reduce weeds, and minimize the need for pesticides.
  • Go native. Select plants native to Michigan. Native plants are better equipped to tolerate Michigan's climate, require less fertilizing, and are more disease resistant.

What plants are native to Michigan?

  •  Black-eyed Susan, Coral bells, Purple coneflower, and Columbine;
  •  Blueberry and raspberry bushes;
  •  Christmas, Lady, and Maidenhair ferns;
  •  Black walnut, Hickory, Douglas fir, and White pine trees.

All can be found in local nurseries and greenhouses.

  • Variety is the spice of life. Using a wide variety of plants helps control pests and minimizes the need for pesticides.
  • Water wisely. Generally, your lawn needs about an inch of water a week. Over-watering lawns results in shallow-rooted plants that are less tolerant of heat and drought, and more prone to disease. Avoid over-watering by using a rain gauge and watering only when necessary, instead of on a fixed schedule.
  • Use less for pests. Pesticides and herbicides can be harmful to our kids, pets, and the environment. So, use pesticides and herbicides sparingly. Limit applications to problem areas instead of applying to the entire area (e.g., weed and feed).
  • Rake it or leave it. Follow the guidelines in your community for leaf pick-up. Never rake leaves into or near storm drains, ditches, or streams. Decaying leaves use up the water's oxygen, harming fish and the aquatic insects that fish depend on to survive. Better yet, mow leaves into your lawn. Leaves and grass clippings are good fertilizers for your lawn.

Car Care

Car washDid you know that there are over four million vehicles in Southeast Michigan? Practicing good car care helps our lakes and streams.

How? Storm drains and roadside ditches lead to our lakes and streams. If motor fluids or dirty water from washing our cars are washed or dumped into the storm drain or roadside ditches, it pollutes our local waterways.

What can you do? Follow these simple tips for a clean, well-running vehicle that also protects our lakes and streams.

  •  Make a date. Car wash facilities treat their dirty water before discharging it to our lakes and streams. So, make a date to take your car to the car wash.
  •  Wash it – on the grass. If you wash your car at home, consider washing it on the lawn. Or, if you can’t use the lawn try to direct the dirty water towards the lawn and away from the storm drain.
  •  Minimize it. Reduce the amount of soap you use or wash your car with plain water.
  •  Maintain it. Keep your vehicle properly tuned. Use the owner’s manual to guide decisions about how often it is necessary to change fluids such as oil and antifreeze.
  •  Take advantage of business expertise. Consider taking your vehicle to the shop to have the oil and other fluids changed. These businesses have the ability to recycle the used materials and clean up accidental spills.
  •  Recycle. If you choose to change your oil and other fluids yourself, label the waste containers. Then, take them to a house hold hazardous waste collection day or a business that accepts used oil. Never dump used oil, antifreeze, or other fluids on the ground or down the storm drain.
  •  Soak it up. Use kitty litter promptly to absorb small amounts of spilled vehicle fluids. Then sweep it into a bag and throw it in the trash.
  •  Do it under cover. Perform vehicle maintenance in a well-ventilated, but covered location (e.g., garage). This minimizes rainfall from washing those inevitable spills and drips into our water ways.

Pet Care

Person walking their dog
Ducks in water

What’s the issue?
Most of us pick up after our pets to be a good neighbor and to keep our yard clean. But there's another important reason. Pet waste contains bacteria that is harmful to us and our water. Leaving it on the sidewalk or lawn means harmful bacteria will be transported into the storm drains and then into our lakes and streams.

What are some helpful tips?
Here are some simple steps you can take to carefully dispose of pet waste and help keep our water clean. Give them a try. A few simple changes can make a big difference!

  • Dispose of it promptly and properly. Whether in your yard or on a walk, promptly dispose of your pet's waste in the trash or down the toilet where it will be properly treated. When pet waste is left behind, it washes into storm drains and ditches. From there it heads straight to your local lakes and streams taking harmful bacteria with it.
  • Watch instead of feeding. Feeding ducks and geese may seem harmless but, in fact, can be a nuisance to people and harmful to our water. Feeding waterfowl causes them to become dependent on humans. This, in turn, creates unnaturally high populations and problems in our parks and lakes. Waterfowl waste can pollute our water with harmful bacteria.
  • Spread the word. Tell others how they can help protect our lakes and streams. Also, work cooperatively with your local government to install signs, bag dispensers, and trash cans in convenient public places to remind visitors to clean up after their pets.

Septic System Maintenance

Most homes in Northville are connected to a sanitary sewer that transports wastewater from the home to a wastewater treatment plant. Homes that are not connected to a sanitary sewer have septic systems buried in their yards. When properly designed and maintained, these systems allow natural processes to trap the solids, treat the wastewater and safely reintroduce the purified wastewater into the environment. However, overuse, misuse and poor maintenance of household septic systems fail. Also, septic systems don’t last forever; the average life span of a working septic system is 20 years. Clogged and leaking septic systems can back up into home, but eventually, the untreated wastewater and sewage saturated the soil in the residential yard and often leaks into adjacent properties, ditches and streams.

This document is available to view in PDF format. Please click here for more information on how to maintain your septic system. If you have any additional questions, you can contact the Public Works department at 248-449-9930.

Household Hazardous Wastes

Dispose of household hazardous waste properlyCarefully store and dispose of household cleaners, chemicals, and oils

What’s the issue?
Antifreeze, household cleaners, gasoline, pesticides, oil paints, solvents, and motor oil are just some of the common household products that can enter our storm drains. Help keep these out of our lakes and streams. Instead of putting these items in the trash, down the storm drain, or on the ground, take them to a local hazardous waste center or collection day.

What are some helpful tips?
Here are some simple steps you can take to carefully dispose of household wastes and help keep our water clean. Give them a try. A few simple changes can make a big difference!

  • Identify it. Be aware of household products that can harm children, pets, and the environment. The words "danger," "caution," "warning," or "toxic" indicate that you need to be careful in how you use and dispose of the product.
  • Less is better. Reduce waste and save money by purchasing only the materials you need. When possible, choose less toxic alternatives. For example, try cleaning your windows with vinegar and water.
  • Store properly. Keep unused products in their original containers with labels intact. Select cool, dry storage areas that are away from children, pets, and wildlife.
  • Disposal is key. Never dump motor oil, chemicals, and other toxic materials down storm drains, sinks, or on the ground.

Don't forget the RV. Dispose of recreational vehicle sanitary waste at a nearby drop-off location. Never put it down a storm drain or roadside ditch!

Click here for dates and locations of Household Hazardous Waste Collection for Northville Residents

Illicit Connection and Discharge Elimination

Northville’s Illicit Discharge Elimination Plan has identified storm outfalls to the Rouge River and tributaries. Illicit discharges and connections are investigated as identified though reported concerns and regular inspections.

An illicit discharge is any discharge of polluting material into a storm sewer, river, stream or other waterway.

An illicit connection is an improper physical connection of illicit discharges to the storm water drainage system. Examples include: a floor drain that is connected to storm drain rather than a sanitary sewer, a septic tank discharge pipe that is connected to a storm drain or drains directly to a waterway or an improper connection between a storm sewer and sanitary sewer.

The City encourages citizens to report any suspicious observations that may affect our waterways in negative ways. Please contact one of the agencies below to report and/or ask questions regarding any of the following topics, your concern will be forwarded to the appropriate agencies for investigation:

1. leaking septic systems
2. suspicious dumping – commercial, residential yard wastes, oil & antifreeze car wastes, animal wastes and/or other wastes
3. dead or stressed fish or animals
4. sedimentation
5. unusual or suspicious discharge in a catch basin or waterway
6. runoff from storage piles
7. illegal pumping from waterways

Contact Numbers:
Northville Fire Department - 248-449-9920
Oakland County 24-Hour Environmental Hotline - 248-858-0931
Wayne County Complaint Investigations/24-Hour Hotline - 888-223-2363

Riparian Corridor Management

Winter streamRiparian zones (areas adjacent to lakes, streams and rivers,) have the capacity to buffer rivers and other waters from non- point source runoff from agricultural, urban, or other land uses. Healthy riparian zones can absorb sediments, chemical nutrients, and other substances contained in nonpoint source runoff. They also provide for aquifer recharge, diverse habitats and water storage and release. A healthy, functioning riparian area and associated uplands dramatically increase benefits such as fish and wildlife habitat, erosion control, forage, late season stream flow, and water quality. Management decisions must be designed with these processes in mind.

Riparian Corridor Management (RCM) is a system that allows for the protection of water resources while still allowing sustainable mixed use of surrounding riparian area. It is a combination of techniques that protect and in some cases, improve water quality and biodiversity. These techniques include, but are not limited to…

1. River Friendly Lawn Care
2. Riparian Buffer Zones
3. Streambank Stabilization
4. Woody Debris Management
5. River Maintenance

Interested in learning more about how you can learn about and use RCM techniques? Contact Wayne County Department of Environment at 734-326-3936.

This document is available to view in PDF format. Riparian Corridor Management Principles Practices