Discharges Through Drainage Tiles
Because SE Michigan was mostly forested wetland, when 19th century settlers
cleared the trees, they also drained the water, trenching and laying sub-surface
drainage tiles. These tiles, clay in the past, plastic now, function as
underground streams. Liquids on the surface of fields, whether rainwater
or liquid manure, drain to the underground tiles and join the nearest
Drainage tiles in Michigan and much of the Midwest are the major pathways of pollution from CAFOs. Almost all of the illegal discharges in our area have been through drainage tiles. These photos show 2 of the 22 illegal discharges documented by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.