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Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System


Stormwater Management in General


One of the seven functions of the Street Department is to be responsible for the maintenance of the City's municipal separate storm sewer system.
The City's municipal separate storm sewer system includes buried drainage pipes, open ditches, natural ravines, rain gardens, oil separators, and more.  Proper stormwater management prevents flooding and keeps the water that flows into Lake Michigan as clean as possible.
To prevent flooding, the City continually upgrades our stormwater management system.  Whenever the City  does a street project, improving the stormwater system is part of the design process.  Please see the Complete Streets webpage for more on this topic.  Please also see the City's Lighthouse Creek Stormwater webpage for information on what the City is doing to address flooding concerns in that part of the City.
Even though the improvement to Oselka Park are for creating better park facilities, the creation of rain gardens and other grading improvements have greatly improved the stormwater management system in that part of the City.


Stormwater and Recreation

The goal of only clean water entering Lake Michigan includes helping to eliminate e. coli breakouts at the City Beach and reducing sedimentation depositing.  Sedimentation depositing means that the silt and sand carried by the Galien River ends up getting "dropped off" by the river, causing boat navigation issues with shoaling.  This effect is part of the reason why the City has to make sure the Federal Navigation Channel of the Harbor gets dredged.


Illicit Discharge Elimination

To help keep stormwater clean, the City applied for and received an Illicit Discharge Elimination Program (IDEP) grant from Michigan's Nonpoint Source Program, managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (now two separate departments.)  Please see the City's Stormwater Quality webpage for more information about the IDEP.


keep it blue


Protect Our Water
The City of New Buffalo is committed to keeping Lake Michigan, the Galien River, Lighthouse Creek and our ravines healthy and clean.  Find out more about watersheds, what you can do to protect water resources and how illicit discharges pollute our water.  Find out more about Lake Michigan, the 6th largest freshwater lake in the world!



Drainage Study of 1994


The City of New Buffalo is within two watersheds: the Galien River and Lighthouse Creek. The City of New Buffalo Drainage Study of 1994 divided the City into fourteen major drainage districts, numbered roughly from east to west.


The City's part of the Galien River Watershed includes 486 acres, with the following major drainage districts:


1) Biddle Drainage

  • Approximately 51 acres
  • Study identifies need for increasing capacity
  • Street Department partially increased capacity in 2012

2) Farmer Drainage

  • Approximately 36 acres
  • Increased capacity called for in the Study has been implemented

3) Griffith Drainage

  • Approximately 138 acres
  • City's second largest major drainage district
  • Oselka Park: Phase 2 rain gardens and piping greatly improved drainage in that area
  • Study calls for implementation of Griffith Street Storm Drain Project
  • Study highlighted need for increasing capacity on Clay Street near athletic fields
  • Study calls for increasing capacity along US Route 12, between Taylor Street and Griffith Street

4) Thompson Drainage

  • Approximately 120 acres
  • City's third largest major drainage district
  • 2008 Water Street Storm Drain Project increased capacity in that area, as called for in the Study
  • 2010 Jefferson Street improvements also upgraded the storm drain system
  • Study highlights need to re-route pipe near Thompson-Merchant intersection – extra capacity also called for in this area
  • Study calls for additional capacity in other areas

14) North Whittaker Drainage

  • Approximately 20 acres (acreage estimate not in the Study)
  • No problems noted in Study


The Galien River Watershed major drainage districts also include the ones flowing into New Buffalo Harbor:


5) Smith-Mayhew Drainage

  • Approximately 104 acres
  • City's fourth largest major drainage district
  • Study identifies plugging of culverts as a common problem
  • Study calls for increasing capacity between Michigan Street and US Route 12, near Mayhew Street – piping re-routing needed, too
  • Study also calls for increasing capacity in other areas
  • Catchbasin improvement needed on Smith Street, between Michigan Street and US Route 12

11) West Harbor Drainage

  • Approximately 10 acres
  • Study identifies need for increasing capacity

12) North Drive Drainage

  • Approximately 3 acres
  • Need to re-route piping

13) City Marina Drainage

  • Approximately 5 acres
  • No problems noted in Study

City Riverfront Drainage

  • Unnumbered, not designated as a major drainage district in the Study


The City's part of the Lighthouse Creek Watershed includes 230 acres, with the following major drainage districts:


6) Monroe Drainage

  • Approximately 162 acres
  • City's largest major drainage district
  • Study highlights need for increased capacity

7) Webster Drainage

  • Approximately 61 acres
  • Study calls for increasing capacity

8) North Eagle Drainage

  • Approximately 3 acres
  • Study highlights need to re-route piping

9) West Water Drainage

  • Approximately 2 acres
  • No problems noted in Study

10) Shore Drive Drainage

  • Approximately 2 acres
  • No problems noted in Study


This page last updated on 12/19/2013.

New Buffalo City Hall | 224 W Buffalo St | New Buffalo, MI 49117 | Telephone: 269-469-1500 | City webmail

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