Provide for the health, safety and welfare of St. Clair County citizens. The protection
of surface waters, the environment and to promote the long term environmental and
economic sustainability by providing storm water management, flood control, development
review and water quality programs.
The St. Clair County Drain Commissioner' s office is dedicated to providing good
drainage for agriculture, homes, and businesses; to protecting riparian rights,
natural resources, and water quality; and to managing our waterways for multiple
uses: recreation, fishing, swimming, boating, scenic value, and wildlife habitat.
About the Office
The County Drain Commissioner is an elected office with a four year term. The Drain
Commissioner is elected county-wide in a partisan election at the same time as the
U.S. Presidential election.
The Drain Commissioner' s Office is independent of the County Board of Commissioners,
other than for its administrative budget and the supplying of office facilities
The St. Clair County Drain Commissioner is a member of the County Parks and Recreation
Commission, the Binational Public Advisory Council for the St. Clair River Area
of Concern, the Local Emergency Planning Committee, and serves as an advisor to
the St. Clair County Water Quality Board. He serves on the Drainage Board of all
Intercounty Drains that affect St. Clair County. He is also the administrator for
a number of water quality grant projects funded by Clean Michigan Initiative and
federal Section 319 funds. These include the Mill Creek Volunteer Monitoring Project,
the Anchor Bay Watershed Planning Project, the Illicit Discharge Elimination Program,
and the Village of Avoca Innovative Waste Water Treatment Project using constructed
wetlands to treat septic waste.
The Drain Commission' s office functions under the authority of State legislation.
The role of the Drain Commissioner is described in the following acts:
- Michigan Drain Code (Act 40, P.A. of 1956 as amended)
- Land Division Act (Act 288 of 1967, as last amended by Act 87 of 1997)
- Condominium Act (Act 59 of 1978)
- Mobile Home Commission Act (Act 96 of 1987)
- Local Ordinances
- Common Law Natural Flow Rights
The St. Clair County Drain Commission has published rules for review of storm water
drainage in developments. These Rules of the St. Clair County Drain Commissioner
are available from the Drain Office for $15.00.
Maps of the county drains and natural watercourses in each township is available
for $2.00 each.
The St. Clair County Drain Commissioner manages 407 different county and intercounty
drains, a total of about 850 miles of waterways. A few of these are enclosed storm
sewers, but most are open watercourses. County drains are officially established
by petition of landowners who form a drainage district. There are also about 950
miles of natural watercourses in the county that are not drains and are under the
jurisdiction of the state as inland streams. Most road ditches are under the jurisdiction
of the Road Commission, but some are county drains along a road. Township drain
maps, available from the Drain Office, show which watercourses are officially drains.
Each drainage district is a separate public corporation and the construction and
maintenance of the drains is financed by special drain assessments to the landowners
within the district. Each drain has rights-of-way for the location and maintenance
the drain. These are easement documents like a deed, which are recorded in the Drain
Office. They date back over a hundred years. Easements acquired prior to 1956 are
sometimes recorded only in the Drain Office and not in the Register of Deeds Office.
Many landowners, title companies, and building inspectors are sometimes unaware
of these drain easements. All visible waterways should be checked for easement restrictions
by contacting the Drain Commissioner’s Office.
The County' s drainage systems was designed and constructed to handle rural development
and agricultural storm water. As more of the county' s land surface becomes impervious
through development, storm water detention and retention ponds become necessary.
Therefore, all new developments in St. Clair County are required to have storm water
detention facilities to cope with this additional runoff.
The presence and capabilities of floodplain and wetlands to absorb and store storm
water has become more important in the county. The St. Clair County Drain Commissioner'
s office works closely with federal, state, and local agencies to see that the laws
regarding floodplain and wetlands are followed.
Permits from the Drain Commissioner' s office are required for:
- Any new discharge into a county drain
- Any culverts or bridges in a county drain
- Any utility crossing of a county drain
- Any earth change work in a county drain or right-of-way
- Any permanent structures in a right-of-way
Development Review Fees
Initial Review Fees Due with Application for Review:
Preliminary Plat or Site Plan:
Construction Plans (Storm Water Facilities)
plus $10 for each residential lot, or
plus $50/acre for commercial sites
Final Plat Inspection and Review:
Re-submittal Fees: 50% of inital fees for each re-submittal of plans
Drainage Facility Inspection Fee:
In addition to these fees, there may also be additional costs if the project requires
the relocation, clean-out, tiling, extension or establishment of a county drain,
pursuant to Sections 425 or 433 of the Michigan Drain Code.
Please be patient while our website expands. A summary list of what will be offered
through our new website below. Please check back soon for later developments.
This site is your site. What you want to know, information to help you do business...
visit... work... or live in St. Clair County.
A summary list of what will be offered through our new website below:
We're looking forward to serving you better!
Staff: Currently there are eight full time employees. They are:
Deputy Drain Commissioner
Drain Maintenance Worker
St. Clair County Drain Commissioner
21 Airport Drive
St. Clair, Michigan 48079