Stormwater stories and how to find them

Stormwater stories and how to find them
Combined sewer and sanitary sewer overflow events typically occur from rainstorms and other sources of water that can overwhelm sewer systems. Mechanical and electrical failures can also cause overflows.
Here’s a primer on finding a stormwater or overflow story using the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Combined Sewer Overflow and Sanitary Sewer Overflow Discharge Information database.
Water story ideas from this database:
On a county or water body basis, you can track:

  1. Which sources are discharging water into your local water body? What do water samples say about the water quality?
  2. How many facilities discharge water in your county? What kinds of issues have resulted from those overflows?
  3. Which facility in your county had the most emergency discharges this year? Is this acceptable?
  4. Where are the most recent discharge events happening? Why?
  5. Are facilities in your county using proper mitigation measures to stop discharges from happening or stop current ones?

How to get started:

  1. Go to
  2. Find facilities in your area by clicking on the Locating a CSO Facility link. You can search for facilities with a permit to discharge wastewater by county or by the water body in which the wastewater will be discharged. This could be a drain, lake, creek, etc.

Select the “View facility” link to access the facility’s permit number (used to trace its history and allow department staff to identify file records), permit issue and expiration dates, treatment techniques for the water, permit history and locations where the wastewater is discharged.
Next, click the “View events logged for this permittee” to see all discharge events, the type of event (CSO, SSO), and its date and time.