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.
Rouge River Project
Alliance of Rouge Communities
Friends of the Rouge
Department of Environmental Quality
County Water Resources Commission
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
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
- 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
Did 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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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.
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
Carefully 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
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
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
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
5. unusual or suspicious discharge in a catch basin or waterway
6. runoff from storage piles
7. illegal pumping from waterways
Northville Fire Department -
Oakland County 24-Hour Environmental Hotline -
Wayne County Complaint Investigations/24-Hour Hotline -
Riparian Corridor Management
Riparian 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.
Riparian Corridor Management Principles Practices