The City of Portage utility system consists of approximately 230 miles of sanitary sewer main and 55 lift stations. The sanitary sewer system has a capacity of 10.8 million gallons per day. The average daily flow is 5 million gallons per day.
The City of Portage water system consists of approximately 245 miles of water main with 23 production wells and two elevated storage tanks. The water system has a capacity of 27 million gallons per day. The average daily production is 5.9 million gallons per day. The Garden Lane Water Treatment Facility removes arsenic from the groundwater before distribution to the public water system.
The City of Portage contracts the annual maintenance and operation of the sanitary sewer and water systems with United Water. Annual operation and maintenance consists of providing safe and reliable water and sewer services. You can reach United Water by calling (269) 324-9235
Utility rates are reviewed annually by City Council and adopted prior to July 1 of each calendar year.
View current utility rates
Water and Sewer service extensions in the City of Portage are partially funded by special assessment to the benefit properties. The City Charter established a procedure to adopt a special assessment district consistent with State of Michigan laws.
View special assessment rates
Storm Water Management in the City of Portage
Collection of storm water is an important responsibility of the City of Portage. The City of Portage maintains approximately 210 miles of storm sewer infrastructure ranging from local street drainage to 66” diameter collection pipes. In Portage most storm water is collected in catch basins and infiltrated back to the ground. The city also maintains approximately 100 storm water outfalls to Portage Creek, Austin Lake, West Lake and Gourdneck Lake. These surface water discharges are permitted by the State of Michigan by a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Storm Water permit. The city undertakes programs annually to address localized flooding issues along the street and the public right-of-way. Storm water runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks and streets prevent storm water from naturally soaking into the ground. Storm water can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river or wetland. In Portage, most storm water flows into retention basins and infiltrates into the ground. Any storm water that is discharged untreated can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals and people.
What is an Illicit Discharge?
An illicit discharge is the result of an illegal and/or improper waste discharge into storm drainage systems and receiving waters.Illicit discharges may result from the connections of non-storm water sources (such as sanitary sewers) to the storm water system or may be the result of a waste discharge spill flowing overland and into a storm sewer. An example of an illicit connection is the connection of a restaurant or automotive repair garage floor drain in a to a storm sewer. This connection results in non-storm water wastes being flushed into the storm sewer system anytime the floors are washed and water flows into the drain. An example of an illicit discharge without an illicit connection is the flushing of used motor oil down a storm sewer catch basin rather than properly recycling the waste oil.
How Does the City Prevent Illicit Discharges?
The City of Portage Code of Ordinances (Chapter 64 - Storm Water, Illicit Discharges and Connections) establishes measures for controlling illicit discharges and connections:
- Prohibition of illicit discharges: No person shall discharge or cause to be discharged into the municipal storm drain system or watercourses any materials including, but not limited, to pollutants or waters containing any pollutants that cause or contribute to a violation of applicable water quality standards, other than storm water. The commencement, conduct or continuance of any illegal discharge to the storm drain system is prohibited, except for discharges specified in writing by the city as being necessary to protect public health, safety and welfare.
Prohibition of illicit connections:
- The construction, use, maintenance, or continued existence of illicit connections to the storm drain system is prohibited.
- This prohibition expressly includes, without limitation, illicit connections made in the past regardless of whether the connection was permissible under law or practices applicable or prevailing at the time of connection.
- A person is considered to be in violation of this chapter if the person connects a conduit conveying wastewater to the MS4, or allows such a connection to continue.
Illicit discharges should be reported immediately to the City of Portage Transportation & Utilities Department at (269) 329-4422.
Common Sources of Illicit Discharge
- Household Cleansers
- Chlorinated Pool Water
- Motor Oil
- Weed Killers
How can you help?
- Never sweep or blow leaves in a storm drain.
- Use proper methods to dispose or recycle them.
- Take used oil to a certified used oil collection center or to the Kalamazoo County Household Hazard Waste Collection Center.
- Follow directions on pesticides and fertilizers and avoid application when rain is forecasted.
- Pick up pet waste and dispose of it properly to keep bacteria and parasites out of our groundwater and lakes.