Troy Teen artwork chosen to cover manholes throughout Oakland County • Oakland County Times

Troy Teen’s artwork was chosen to cover manholes throughout Oakland County

Troy Teen’s artwork was chosen to cover manholes throughout Oakland County

Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash presented Troy Athens High School senior Mandy Chu with first prize in the Preserve MI Waters: Stormwater Manhole Cover Art Contest.

Mandy received the award, which included a $1,000 scholarship and a small model of her art, at the April 14 Oakland County Board of Commissioners meeting. His design was selected from 74 submissions and will be cast on 50 storm sewer hole covers, which will begin appearing in Oakland County this summer.

Mandy took to the podium to express her thanks and said she was thrilled to be part of a contest that showcases the beautiful wildlife and waters of Oakland County. She said she hopes it will also highlight the importance of protecting these natural resources.

The $1,000 scholarship was provided by Pure Oakland Water, a Michigan nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting Oakland County and area water resources through public education.

“One of our missions for this competition is to help our communities understand that the water that enters our storm drains goes directly to our freshwater resources, without treatment, which makes it vitally important that we keep our sewers free of pollutants and debris.”

– Jim Nash, Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner

Context of the competition

Oakland County is taking huge steps to improve drainage and sewer infrastructure. The Office of the Water Resources Commissioner decided to create a public education opportunity that would use art and community to raise awareness of the importance of managing stormwater and keeping pollution out of our storm drains to protect wildlife and promote recreational activities.

The contest originated at a Drain Board meeting late last year by Oakland County Commissioners David Woodward and Gwen Markham.

“As we take steps to improve drainage and sewer infrastructure in Oakland County, what a unique opportunity to engage our creative community to design new storm drain covers for use throughout the county. . Attendees will see art and function come together to benefit us all for years to come.

-David Woodward, Chairman of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners

The contest was open to high school and college students who live or attend school in Oakland County. After the entry window closed, the review process began and a panel of judges were convened to vote on their preferred entries. The judging panel was able to narrow the competition down to just three entries, and Commissioner Nash chose the one he felt most embodied the theme of the competition.

“This contest provides an opportunity to show the public something some photographers have known for decades: manhole covers can be cool. As we maintain our hundreds of miles of drains, these new covers will be a great way to remind users to keep our water clean, infuse art into our communities, and add some personality to our region.

-Oakland County Commissioner Gwen Markham

To view the contest gallery, which includes all entries received, click here.

Oakland County Stormwater Management Program

The Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s Environmental Team coordinates, implements, and manages programs to protect and restore Oakland County’s rivers, lakes, and streams. The WRC is responsible for over 500 miles of drainage systems called County Drains.

The WRC has carried out several projects to limit the pollution of our rivers, lakes and streams, including the construction of combined sewer overflow facilities. The largest remaining source of pollution for our rivers, lakes and streams is non-point source pollution, which is caused by precipitation or melting snow that picks up pollutants from our yards, driveways and sidewalks and deposits them into lakes. , rivers and streams.

Many communities in Michigan, including Oakland County, must obtain a stormwater permit from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. This requirement is part of the federal Clean Water Act and is called a Phase II stormwater permit.

The WRC Environmental Team coordinates Phase II compliance activities for Oakland County under the Oakland County Stormwater Committee. Other Oakland County departments that are responsible for Phase II activities include Facilities Management, Division of Health, Parks and Recreation, Planning and Economic Development Departments, and County Roads Commission. from Oakland.

Environmental impact

Oakland County is committed to doing its part to ensure a safe, healthy and clean environment for residents, businesses and visitors that future generations can enjoy. Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter appointed the county’s first Environmental Sustainability Officer, Erin Quetell, in September 2021.

The county’s five-year roadmap includes a goal of protecting the environment, reducing carbon pollution, protecting water and lakes, and conserving natural resources.

Visit the WRC website to discover tools that will help you reduce your environmental footprint and check out our list of Earth Day observances to attend an event near you.

For more information about the Water Resources Commissioner’s Environmental Team and what they can do for you, or to provide feedback on the county’s stormwater management program, please email

To learn more about the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner, follow their Facebook page.

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