If the Sierra Club has its way, Detroit maybe joining a host of cities working to form community-wide programs for collecting storm water. Sierra Club Great Lakes presented a petition with a 1,000 signatures in favor of a credit or incentive program July to the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department (DWSD) at a recent Board of Commissioners meeting. Detroit’s Wastewater Treatment Plant can overflow into nearby rivers or lakes from as little as one inch of rainwater.
The homeowners and businesses who signed the petition hope to implement some sort of green water infrastructure, which can include rain gardens or barrels, permeable pavement, or green roofs, but realize that it can not occur city-wide without some sort of credit or incentive because of the rising water rates. Both the credit and incentive systems are practiced in nearby cities such as Chicago and Ann Arbor. The credit program would give a continuous reward to the implementor, while the incentive form would give a one-time reimbursement for those using green water techniques.
On a local level, WMEAC is currently working with the City of Grand Rapids and other stakeholders, taking a wide stance in the Grand Rapids Community-Based Stormwater Planning Initiative, in addition to hosting the Rain Gardens Project. For now, Detroit and Grand Rapids are in the same boat as most Great Lakes communities wanting to implement a green incentive program, but are a step ahead because of the broad range of community support.