E.coli Source Found in Warren; Search Continues for More

MACOMB COUNTY, MI – Working with the City of Warren, the Macomb County Office of Public Works has identified and is now working to eliminate two sources of E.coli bacteria that has been entering a county drain that ultimately empties into Lake St. Clair.

The first location is at an industrial business near 11 Mile Road and Bunert Road in Warren. At that location, the business management has been notified of the issue and city and county officials are now working together to eliminate the problem. The business’ sanitary sewer line – containing bathroom and possibly other waste – has been connected to the county storm water line, likely for many years. There is speculation that one or more other nearby businesses may also be incorrectly sending sanitary waste into the storm water pipe, which would be a violation of the Michigan Drain Code. Both the MCPW and Warren will continue to investigate.

“We are now working with the city and the business to fix this issue. We find it, we fix it,” said Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller. “We have to eliminate this first source before we can re-investigate the storm drain along 11 Mile Road for any other illicit connections. If we find more, we will work with Warren to ensure the necessary corrections are made. We appreciate the work by the City of Warren to assist in identifying and correcting this issue.”

The MCPW has contracted with a firm to conduct a series of inspections of the entire Schoenherr Relief Drain, which runs along Schoenherr from 9 Mile Road north to a connection with the Red Run Drain, just north of 14 Mile Road in Sterling Heights. The MCPW was just awarded a $450,000 state grant to conduct the inspections.

“This is part of our plan to inspect all of the major storm drains in Macomb County. We recently completed similar inspections in St. Clair Shores, Roseville, Eastpointe and Sterling Heights. Last February, we found an entire apartment complex in Eastpointe that had been sending sanitary sewage down a storm drain for 30 years. Working with the city, we found it and we fixed it. We are eager to work with our local units of government on this in every corner of the county,” Miller said.

Another source of E.coli contamination entering the Red Run Drain has been found in Warren in the 14 Mile and Schoenherr area. The very low volume of flow in the drain in that area is making it difficult to take samples and identify the specific point source of the pollution there. It could be residential or it could be animal waste.

The investigation in to the source of pollution is continuing.

The Red Run Drain begins as an underground pipe in Oakland County, flows as an open stream through Warren and Sterling Heights before connecting with the Clinton River in Clinton Township and then ultimately flowing to Lake St. Clair.