The City of Auburn Hill's Storm Water Quality Program

The landscape of The City of Auburn Hills is a kaleidoscope of many natural features, water being one of them.  A number of water features can be seen throughout the City including rivers, lakes, and streams.  Of all the water features in the City the Clinton River is the most notable.  The City takes pride in having two parks located along the Clinton River where residents can take the time to enjoy the beauty of the river.

The City takes many steps to protect and enhance the quality of all water features located throughout the City, and we ask that all residents and businesses alike join us in this effort.

What is a watershed? 

A watershed is a land area bound by ridge lines that catch rain and snow, and drain to specific marshes, streams, rivers, lakes, or to ground water.  Watersheds are important because activities within them affect water quality.

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What watershed do you live in?

The City is part of two major watersheds the Clinton River Watershed and the Rouge River Watershed.  To find out what watershed you live in, just click "Which Watershed do you Live in" at the bottom of the page.

Did you Know?

It’s an unfortunate fact of life—many of our rivers, lakes, and streams have been polluted.  It may be a surprise, however, to learn that water pollution often starts right where you live.  In fact, individuals are a major polluter to our area rivers, lakes and streams.  Industry makes up only about 2% of the pollution to the river. 

Water pollution begins when development alters the natural environment.  Removing vegetation and replacing it with streets, rooftops, and driveways greatly decreases the amount of water soaking into the soil.  As a consequence, the amount of water running off to rivers, lakes and streams increases dramatically.

How does rainwater get from the street to the river?

Nearly every city street has storm sewer inlets, which open into a network of underground pipes.  These storm sewers do not go to a sewage treatment plant but flow directly to a river, lake or stream.  Most storm sewer systems are designed to remove water quickly during a storm.  This allows pollutants to reach our waterways at a rapid pace.  Rainwater can also move over the land to the nearest waterbody, picking up pollutants along the way.

Where do these pollutants come from and how do they affect our rivers, lakes and streams?

Soil, or sediment, can come from where there is bare soil.  When it rains, the soil is carried to the nearest waterbody.  The sediment can:

  • Cover the gravel on the bottom of the river that the fish use for spawning;
  • Cover the gravel that provides habitat for aquatic insects, which provide food for fish;
  • When suspended in the water, block light needed for aquatic plants to grow;
  • Carry other substances, such as fertilizers or pesticides, and bacteria from pet waste and water foul.

Nutrients, mainly phosphorus and nitrogen, can come from many sources.  Fertilizers, pet waste, improperly functioning septic systems, grass clippings, leaves and other yard wastes are all sources of nutrients.  Certain levels of nutrients naturally occur in our waters.  When more nutrients are added, excessive algae and other aquatic plants grow.

Many products used in and around the home contain toxic ingredients.  Household cleaners, paints, pesticides and automotive products such as oil, gas and antifreeze can all be toxic to aquatic plants and animals.

It really doesn’t matter whether you live in the city or the county…whether your home is large or small…whether you have a lot of money to invest in your yard or just a little, you can help protect our rivers, lakes and streams.  Taking individual actions to fix these problems can solve most sources of storm water pollution.    

Other river friendly practices:

  • Become a member of the Clinton River Watershed Council (citizen volunteer organization) (
  • Participate in Clinton River events:  River Day, Clinton Clean-Up
  • Visit - Ours to Protect at

To report pollution, please call the Community Development Department at 248-364-6926.

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Which Watershed are you Located in?