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Fast FactsWater Quality Fast Facts  

Demographic Information
There are approximately . . .

  • 4.9 million people in Southeast Michigan. By 2030 there will be 5.4 million. 
  • 2.0 million homes in Southeast Michigan. 
  • over 11,000 inland lakes in Michigan 
  • over 35,000 miles of rivers and streams in Michigan. 

The Great Lakes hold 20% of the world’s surface fresh water.


Public Perceptions of Water Issues

One-third of Southeast Michigan residents are satisfied with the quality of their lakes and streams.

The majority of Southeast Michigan residents thought they could personally take actions that would help improve the quality of the environment in Southeast Michigan.

Southeast Michigan residents are willing to take action to protect our water resources:

  • 93% are willing to dispose of household hazardous wastes at approved disposal centers. 
  • 90% are willing to switch to products that are environmentally friendly. 
  • 79% are willing to change the type of fertilizer on their lawn. 
  • 66% are willing to not use soap to wash their car at home. 
  • 62% are willing to wash their car on the lawn/grass instead of the street or driveway. 
  • 60% are willing to help pick up trash along streams. 


Water Use

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) produces approximately 655 million gallons of clean drinking water every day.

They treat an average of 675 million gallons of sewage per day.

On average, a person uses about 77 gallons of water each day, 200 gallons per household per day.

Over three million people depend on surface water for their drinking water


Expected Changes in Our Watersheds 

Population
Households
Watersheds
Acres
2000
2030
Percent change
2000
2030
Percent change
Anchor Bay
99,000
90,000
126,000
40.0
33,000
52,000
57.6
Belle
96,000
24,000
33,000
37.5
9,000
14,000
55.5
Black
132,000
43,000
52,000
20.9
16,000
22,000
37.5
Clinton
498,000
1,409,000
1,540,000
9.3
544,000
655,000
20.4
Ecorse Creek
84,000
353,000
323,000
-8.5
141,000
150,000
6.4
Flint
67,000
20,000
33,000
65.0
7,000
13,000
85.7
Grand
7,000
700
1,000
42.9
200
400
100.0
Huron
574,000
540,000
768,000
42.2
206,000
320,000
55.3

Lake St. Clair*

1,031,000
2,207,000
2,365,000
7.2
846,000
986,000
16.5
Looking Glass
5,000
400
1,000
150.0
100
500
400.0
Maumee
16,000
2,000
3,000
50.0
900
1,000
11.1
Pine
125,000
29,000
37,000
27.6
10,000
15,000
50.0
Raisin
222,000
72,000
120,000
66.7
27,000
48,000
77.8
Red cedar
76,000
17,000
37,000
117.6
6,000
14,000
133.3
Rouge
292,000
1,365,000
1,365,000
0.0
519,000
561,000
8.1
Shiawassee
200,000
73,000
130,000
78.1
26,000
51,000
96.2
Stony
80,000
45,000
66,000
46.7
16,000
27,000
68.8

* (includes Anchor Bay, Clinton, Belle, Black, Pine, and direct drainage)

Source: SEMCOG


Recreation

There are over 300,000 registered boats in Southeast Michigan.

There are an estimated 980,000 anglers in Michigan.

Over 3.5 million people visit a local park each year.


Lawn Care

The major impact of nutrient over-enrichment is excessive growth of algae that leads to nuisance algal blooms and eutrophic conditions. Nitrogen and phosphorus are principal nutrients in stormwater. Major sources are urban landscape runoff (fertilizer, detergents), atmospheric deposition and improperly functioning septic systems. Animal waste can also be a significant source of pollution.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 70 million pounds of pesticides are applied to lawns every year.

It has been estimated that there are 25 to 30 million acres of turf and lawn in the United States. To put this statistic in perspective, if lawns were classified as a crop, they would rank as the fifth largest in the country on the basis of area.

In many areas, soils contain enough phosphorus to grow healthy lawns without any added fertilizer.


Pet Waste

Dog waste has been found to be a major source of fecal coliform and pathogens in many urban watersheds, due to their population, daily defecation rate, and bacteria/pathogen production.

Pets and urban wildlife can be significant sources of bacteria.

Fecal coliform levels in urban stormwater often exceed public health code standards defining safe water for swimming.


Automobile Maintenance

There are over four million registered vehicles in Southeast Michigan.

Car washing contributes nutrients, metals, and hydrocarbons to our waterways. This occurs as the detergent-rich water used to wash our cars flows down the street and into storm drains.

Just four quarts of oil can form an eight acre oil slick if spilled or dumped down a storm drain.