Font Size:

County Drains

A Wayne County Drain that is under the jurisdiction of the Wayne County Drain Commissioner is a drain that has been legally established as mandated in the Michigan Drain Code of 1956. These drains can be open ditches, streams or underground pipes, or swales that convey stormwater. Established Wayne County Drains become designated as county drains through a petition process where property owners or a local city, village or township petitions the Drain Commissioner to establish a county drain.

The Wayne County Drain Commissioner is an appointed position by the Wayne County Chief Executive Officer unlike most counties in the state that have elected Drain Commissioners. The Wayne County Drain Commissioner's office is responsible for the maintenance and operation of established Wayne County drains and all ancillary facilities leading to the drains. The Drain Administrative office and Field Office is responsible for the accounting of expenditures and financial statements, maintaining records of the establishment and operation of each drain, and for conducting routine maintenance of the drains. Major drain projects (generally defined as those with costs in excess of $5,000 per mile per year) are initiated by the public or municipality(s) through a petition process. Wayne County's drain portfolio includes:
  • 111 Chapter 20 municipal drains
  • 23 Chapter 21 intercounty drain
  • 483 Chapter 4 and 8 drains established under Public Act 40 of 1956
  • The Wayne County Drain Administrator administers the Chapter 4 and 8 drains and participates on the Drainage Board of the Chapter 20 and 21 drains.

The Drain Field Operations Office performs planned maintenance and responds to service requests on drains throughout the year. Planned maintenance and service requests take into consideration the statutory limit of $5,000 per mile per year for maintenance established by the Drain Code (Public Act of 1956). For example, if a drain is two miles long, the division is limited in spending $10,000 in maintenance in any year. This statutory limitation severely limits the ability of the Drain Office to perform adequate yearly maintenance on many of Wayne County's drains. In many cases, the drains are in need of improvement beyond the routine maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions

North Branch Ecorse Creek Drain Maintenance Project

Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans recently announced a $10 million project to provide maintenance and improvements to the North Branch Ecorse Creek Drain. This project will remove obstructions in the drain and improve access for future maintenance in 9 different communities. Please visit our new project website for updates and additional information.

North Branch Ecorse Creek Drain Maintenance Project Website

2023 Drains Special Assessments

Section 31 of the Michigan Drain Code (1956 PA 40) was revised in December 2020 to increase transparency related to drain maintenance assessments. Each year, a list of drainage districts that are assessed for maintenance work under Section 196 of the Drain Code will be posted on the county's website and updated annually. Please click here to view the current list.

Contractor Pre-Qualification Policy and Application

The pre-qualification process will facilitate the development and maintenance of a list of pre-qualified contractors to perform non-petitioned maintenance work on behalf of the Wayne County Drain Commissioner and the various drainage districts under the jurisdiction of the Drain Commissioner. Applications may be returned via email at

Petitioning for Improvement to a County Drain

The Drain Code allows for a resident in a drainage district to petition the Wayne County Drain Commissioner to provide additional services at a level above the $5,000 per mile per year statutory limit. Please contact us at (313) 320-4784 for more information.

Request for Service

If your drain needs maintenance or if there is debris in the flow line of the of the drain that is obstructing the flow of water, please give us a call at (888) 762-3273 and initiate a Service Request. Please provide us with the following information so we may address your drain maintenance needs:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Address (where the work site is located)
  • City and Zip Code
  • Closest Cross Streets
  • Nature of problem and any other information that will help to describe the problem

Submit A Request For Online Service

For inquiries, please call the Drains Manager at (313) 320-4784. If you reach voicemail, please leave a message with the same information as shown above. We strive to respond within 24 hours either in person or with a follow up call. In the event that an issue is not our jurisdiction we will refer you to the appropriate department or agency that can assist you with your situation.