What is Green Stormwater Infrastructure and How Can it Help Detroit?

storm waterGreen stormwater infrastructure (GSI) can mean a lot of things to different people in Detroit. To DWSD green stormwater infrastructure is a collection of stormwater management approaches intended to soak up stormwater where it falls before it can enter the combined sewer system. It is green because these approaches, whether completely natural or constructed, often use trees and native plants to soak up stormwater. It is infrastructure because these approaches work together to create a system for managing stormwater.

Whatever we can do in Detroit to soak up stormwater instead of letting it drain into the sewer system will take the load off the Detroit WWTP and keep our rivers and lakes clean.

What are Green Stormwater Infrastructure Approaches?

There are many green stormwater infrastructure approaches you can consider trying at your home, business, church, or school. Select a type of green stormwater infrastructure approach to learn more about what it is and how to do it on your property.

Rain garden

finished garden

Green roof

green roof

Mature rain garden

Mature rain garden

Permeable pavement

Permeable roof

Rain garden

Rain garden


What Are the Benefits of Green Stormwater Infrastructure?

Some possible benefits of trying green stormwater infrastructure on your property include:

  • Reduced stormwater drainage charge through DWSD’s Drainage Charge Credit program.
  • Beautification and increased property values. Homes with new street plantings can increase in property value by up to 10 percent (CNT 2010)
  • Reduced violence rates. Greened parcels are associated with reduced gun assaults, vandalism, and stress. Greened parcels can also support increased exercise and healthy actions (SEMCOG 2014).
  • Reduced wastewater treatment costs citywide. Using green stormwater infrastructure to reduce 20 percent of stormwater runoff from major roads in the City of Detroit can reduce treatment costs by approximately $2 million annually (SEMCOG 2014).