Stormwater Runoff



This station is managed by the LANSING FIELD OFFICE.

Grand River Current Conditions - Grand Rapids, MI

Kent County, Michigan
Hydrologic Unit Code 04050006
Latitude 42°57'52", Longitude 85°40'35" NAD27
Drainage area 4,900  square miles
Gage datum 585.70 feet above NGVD29


Stormwater Runoff

Pollution Solutions

As stormwater flows off driveways and streets it picks up and carries most of the items in its path. Things such as grass clippings, driveway salt, fertilizer, pet waste, trash, and more! Read on to learn about some common sources of stormwater pollution and ways that you can prevent pollution in your lakes, rivers, and streams.


Proper Pet Waste Disposal


Pet waste that is not properly disposed of can lead to many unwanted things in our waterways, such as E. coli, parasites, and other harmful bacteria. When stormwater runs over pet waste, it carries it to the nearest catch basin and then flows directly into the nearest waterway. E. coli is bacteria that lives in the lower intestines of warm blooded animals, like dogs and people. It is also present in waste. When E. coli gets into our water where we fish and swim, it pollutes it and can make us sick. To properly dispose of pet waste you should bag it and dispose of it in a nearby trash receptacle.

Pledge to pick up your pets waste and receive a FREE pet waste bag dispenser!

Must include full mailing address in order to recieve dispenser.
I pledge to be environmentally responsible by keeping my dog on leash and on the trail in natural areas and scooping and properly disposing of pet waste.
Pet Waste Pledge and Bag Dispenser

Clean Green Lawn Fertilizer N P K

Lawn Care & Phosphorus Free Fertilizer

Proper Grass Height Three Inces

People love their yards, and they often do quite a bit of work to care for them. They mow their grass, water, weed, and fertilize their yards to keep them looking green and uniform all summer long. Another common stormwater pollutant is phosphorus which can be found in many common lawn fertilizers. Too much phosphorus can create harmful algal blooms in water bodies which can make people, fish, and other animals sick if they swim in, or touch the water. Fertilizers have three main ingredients, Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium(K). However, phosphorus is not actually needed to grow a healthy lawn. Alternatively, you can keep grass 3 inches in height. This height will allow the grass to soak up more water, reducing the stormwater runoff from the lawn, which that means less watering and using less or no fertilizer. Using phosphorus-free fertilizer (where P=0) is another good practice.

Shovel First Salt Less

Snow, Ice, & Salt

dirty snow on pavement

During winter time we often shovel and throw salt on our driveways and roads to reduce icing and make it safer to drive on. Many don't realize however, that all the salt, dirt, and sand that is collected in that snow and on those driveways and streets, ends up flowing into the catch basins and into our water bodies, polluting them. Dirt and sand build up in the bottoms of the catch basins, causing them to fill and no longer accept stormwater, which in turn can flood streets. The sand and dirt that is suspended in the water ends up in the water ways and creates sediment build-up which displaces fish and other aquatic life. The salt that flows into the river is almost impossible to remove and makes the water uninhabitable for some marine life. Large snow piles formed over the winter collect dirt, sand, and trash. When the snow finally melts, it carries all of that into the catch basin. So, what can we do? We can shovel our driveways and roads prior to salting them. This will make it so they require less, if any, salt. We can move snow piles into grassy or other vegetated areas so that the water will be absorbed into the ground and recharge as ground water.

Shovel first, salt second (or better, never!)

Car Wash

When washing your car choose a car wash facility or wash over your lawn or other permeable surface. Car wash facilities have overflow systems where the soapy water will enter the sanitary system and is then treated before entering waterways or being reused. Grass will soak up and filter pollutants from car wash runoff before entering the storm drain that lead directly to the nearest lake, river, or stream.

Sign the car wash pledge today and receive a free LGROW car wash shammy in the mail!

I hereby pledge to be environmentaly responsible by washing my car at a commercial car wash OR on the grass, where soapy water, grease, and dirt can't make their way to storm drains, rivers, or lakes.
Street, City, State & Zip (required to receive free car wash shammy

Illicit Discharge

Report illicit discharge by calling the Pollution Emergency Alerting System (PEAS) hotline at: 800-292-4706

Illicit Discharge is any discharge (or seepage) to the separate storm water drainage system that is not composed entirely of storm water or uncontaminated groundwater.

Illicit Connection is a physical connection to a separate storm water drainage system that primarily conveys illicit discharges into the system and/or is not authorized or permitted by the local authority (where a local authority requires such).

Illicit Discharge No Dumping

Illicit Discharge Warning Signs

  • Dry Weather Flow is noted when it has not rained for at least 72 hours and the storm drain has flow or the drain shows signs of intermittent flow (staining, odor).
  • Sanitary Sewage may be present if there is black staining inside the drainage pipe; visible evidence of sanitary waste, such as toilet paper; or opaque or gray water.  Sewage may originate from septic tank overflow pipes or improperly dumped travel trailer waste. 
  • Suds may be harmful to fish because suds deplete oxygen levels in the water.  Suds often enter lakes and streams as a result of improperly connected car washes or washing machines. 
  • Oil/Gas is recognized as a sheen on the water. Natural sheens may be differentiated from an oil/gas sheen by swirling the sheen around in the water. If it re-attaches, the sheen is oil/gas. Natural sheens will remain separated. Oil/Gas enters waterbodies via storm water runoff (spills while topping off at gas stations, oil leaks on pavement, etc.) and illegal dumping.

Illicit Discharge Reporting

To protect the quality of our streams and public health, please report sources of pollution you witness along the roadside or at rest areas and roadside parks, including:

  • Dumping waste/oil or other vehicle fluids
  • Suspicious pipes outletting to ditches
You can do this anonymously by calling the pollution emergency alerting system (PEAS) hotline at: 800-292-4706
Only Rain in the Drain

Report Illegal Discharges!

The information on this page was originally from Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and can be found here.