The City of Detroit manages its water resources through a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) system.  This type of system mixes storm water and raw sewage prior to treatment at a wastewater facility.  During a major rain storm, the CSO system may be unable to treat the large quantity of water, leading to an overflow of contaminated sewage into nearby rivers and lakes.  This can also cause backups in the piping network which can contribute to basement flooding and other problems.

In response to these problems, residents of all Michigan cities including Detroit are now required by law to disconnect downspouts leading to the sanitary sewer system.

A downspout from a 1200 square foot household can direct over 40,000 gallons of clean storm water into the sewer system every year. A disconnected household downspout diverts this water so that it can be infiltrated in the landscape surrounding our homes. Downspout disconnection has the following benefits for the individual homeowner and the community at large:

  • Reduced likelihood of basement flooding.
  • Reduced likelihood of mixed waste and storm water overflows into waterways including the Rouge and Detroit Rivers and Lake Saint Clair.
  • Reduced likelihood of mixed waste and storm water backflows into our homes.
  • Increased opportunities for creative rain water use and landscaping opportunities including rain barrels and rain gardens.

The Greening of Detroit is partnering with The Detroit Department of Water and Sewerage (DWSD) to provide free downspout disconnect workshops. At these workshops, residents can learn the economic and environmental benefits of downspout disconnection, the step-by-step process of disconnection, and the process for acquiring necessary materials. Workshops are being held at the offices of the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC) and other northwest Detroit locations.  Check the calendar for upcoming workshop dates.

Free downspout materials are available to many residents in the Grandmont-Rosedale Community. This includes residents living in the Grandmont # 1, Minock Park, Rosedale Park, and North Rosedale Park neighborhoods, which have been highlighted as priority areas by DWSD. Residents in these communities will need to disconnect their downspouts by June 30th of this year.

Please call Danny Power at (313) 285-2259 or email him at to RSVP for an upcoming downspout workshop. We look forward to working with you to create a healthier community.