With more than 1400 shimmering lakes, some 16,000 lakefront homes and situated at the headwaters of five major rivers, Oakland County is Michigan’s water wonderland. Oakland County has more lakes than any county in the State of Michigan, which makes water our gold standard, and as with any precious resource, the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s (WRC) office treats this valuable commodity with the respect to which it is entitled.
Our number one priority is to make sure the water you drink and in which you swim, fish or boat meets the highest quality standards possible. Clean water is integral to shaping Oakland County’s rich quality of life. It’s one of the reasons individuals, families and businesses come here and stay here.
Oakland County WRC, formerly the Drain Commissioner’s office, derives its authority from the Drain Code Act of 1956. Its original mandate, back in 1837 when the office came into being, was to provide assistance to farmers in draining their fields. But overtime, WRC has broadened its scope to include water treatment and distribution, waste water collection and treatment; storm water drainage; lake level controls and soil erosion controls.
Maintaining and preserving Oakland County’s pristine water quality is in the more than capable hands of our 220 hard working and dedicated employees.
Oakland County WRC operates and maintains four retention treatment basins (RTB’s) whose primary job it is to eliminate combined sewage overflows during heavy rains.
The largest of our RTB’S is the George W. Kuhn Retention Treatment Basin (GWK), formerly the Twelve Towns Drain, located at I-75 and Twelve Mile in Madison Heights. GWK is equipped with the most sophisticated, State-of-the-Art technology available, enabling supervisors, by virtue of a two mile long fiber optic cable and six dedicated computers, to control and monitor every phase of the operation from monitoring and controlling regional rainfall to ascertaining depth of flow in upstream sewers to measuring the rate and depth of flow within the RTB as well as the rate of flow to the Detroit collection system.
Data uploaded during monitoring drives the fully automated disinfection and flushing process. The technology also allows operators to automatically control the amount of hypochlorite, disinfectant, released into the system and adjust the dosing process several times, if need be. The screens, which filter out large obstacles like rocks, tree branches, tires and paper before the water can be disinfected, can be automatically controlled, so that debris which builds up can be cleared away to prevent backups and keep the water flowing. The technology gives operators the ability to monitor sewer levels and turn on and off pumps depending on the critical levels recorded by the system.
As a result of the superior technology in place at GWK along with the increase in capacity from 62 million gallons in 1972 to 124 million gallons today, the number of permit treated discharges has dropped dramatically from forty to fifty per year to an average of seven. In addition, overflow volume has been reduced by more than 875 million gallons per year, an impressive record of success which can be attributed to the diligence and hard work of our highly-skilled employees.
WRC’s mission is based on the principles of integrity, professionalism and the preservation and protection of public health, welfare, convenience--and above all--a citizen’s right to enjoy and expect the highest water quality that can be provided. It’s a duty and responsibility we take very seriously as stewards of Oakland County’s environment.
For more information about Oakland County Water Resources go to www.oakgov.com/water.