History of the Rouge River
Although pollution increased in the 20th century, from 1940 to the present there has been an effort to protect the quality of life along the Rouge River. To protect public health and the environment, the Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant was built in 1940, and over 50 miles of parkland adjacent to the Rouge River has been acquired for public use. Numerous federal, state, and local regulations have been implemented to protect water quality.
Addressing Pollution in the Rouge River
RAP: The Rouge River Remedial Action Plan (RAP) is a long-term cleanup plan for the River. The Rouge RAP notes the problems in the Rouge, identifies the causes and sources of pollutants of concern, and determines what actions are needed to correct the problems to prevent future ones. In Michigan, the Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the Rouge RAP and is a major team member in conducting the Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project.
Public involvement is a cornerstone of the RAP process and as a result the Rouge RAP Advisory Council (RRAC) was formed for advising the MDEQ on the update and implementation of the Rouge RAP. Six subcommittees address issues of concern: habitat, nonpoint source pollution, on-site sewage disposal, public education, contaminated sites and headwaters issues.
Communities within the Rouge River Watershed are actively working on subwatershed planning. In the Rouge River Watershed, there are 7 subwatershed management areas. The City of Livonia actively participates in these endeavors in both the Upper Rouge Subwatershed and the Middle Three Subwatershed.