MACOMB – The Macomb County Public Works Office has published a new series of maps that highlight the county's stormwater drains. The new maps are the first that show the location of every county drain since a hand-drawn map was created in the 1970s.
"When I first took the job, I was told there was more than 900 county drains. Then I heard it was more like 800. I said, 'We need a map that shows us what we own.' How can we plan and forecast anything if we don't even know how many drains we have and how many there are?" said Candice S. Miller, Macomb County Public Works commissioner.
It turns out that there are 475 county drains in Macomb County.
"We have been systematically going through every file, reviewing every old document, just trying to understand exactly what assets are under our control," Miller said. "It is a very tedious process as some of these records go back to the 1800s."
The new family of maps includes an overall county map and individual, more detailed maps for each community in the county. The maps are all available via the Public Works Office's website, publicworks.macombgov.org. The maps are particularly helpful when working with township supervisors and other public officials as the Public Works Office plans and schedules maintenance projects in the various county drains.
"I'm in the drain business, but that's a hard business to be in when you don't have an accurate map of where the drains are!" Miller said.
The maps are interactive in the county's GIS, or geographic information systems program, which allows users to quickly access if the drains are open – small streams or creeks – or enclosed – underground pipes. The maps also can show what chapter of the Michigan Drain Code governs each particular drain.
County drains move storm water from rain or snowmelt away from homes and businesses, preventing flooding and enhancing the quality of life for nearby residents.