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Contact Information:
  • PO Box 427
  • Centreville MI, 49032

  • Drain Commissioner's Office
  • St. Joseph County Annex II
  • 612 E. Main St.
  • Centreville MI, 49032
  • Please call to make an Appointment
  • Phone: (269) 467-5600
  • Fax: (269) 467-5628

Drain Commissioner

The Drain Commissioner is an elected official serving a 4 year term. The Drain Commissioner serves on the Board of Public Works, Parks and Recreation Board, Colon Lake Board (Palmer and Long Lake), Fish Lake Board, and the Lake Templene Lake Board. He is responsible for managing over 180 county drains and all lakes that have a court ordered legal lake level. If you would like to meet with the Drain Commissioner please call the office for an appointment.

Department Contacts

Jeffery Wenzel, Drain Commissioner
(269) 467-5600
Traci L. Balyeat , Deputy Drain Commissioner
(269) 467-5600

Freedom of Information Act Requests

Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control (SESC)

As of May 15, 2012 the County Drain Commissioner is also the County Enforcement Agent (CEA) for Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control serving all of St. Joseph County under Part 91, Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 452, as Amended. The primary objective is to protect the watercourses within the county from sediment loads caused by unchecked soil erosion. The Soil Erosion County Enforcement Agent (CEA) is responsible for the administration, management and enforcement of the provisions of the Act. The CEA has the responsibility of overseeing all non-agricultural earth change activities within St. Joseph County, that are one or more acres in area and/or within 500 feet of a watercourse or lake.

Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Documents/Forms:

Chapter 8 Petitioned Projects, Improvements for County Drains

Petitioned drainage projects must go through numerous steps before they actually become a project:

  1. A petition must be submitted to the Drain Commissioner with 5 signatures or more from property owners in the district.
  2. A Board of Determination is made up of three disinterested property owners in the County, who do not have any interests in the drainage district.
  3. A public meeting is held and the Board of Determination determines if the drain needs cleaning, extending, tiling, widening, deepening, straightening or relocating or does not need any work.
  4. If the Board of Determination determines the project is necessary the Drain Commissioner then takes over.
  5. An engineering plan and profile is done.
  6. Final Order of Determination by the Drain Commissioner.
  7. Construction bidding.
  8. Computation of Costs.
  9. Day of Review held for the property owners in the district to review their assessment. The properties within the drainage district are assessed according to their benefits.
  10. Construction or clean out of the drain.

Note: If you would like a petition for a county drain please contact our office and we will supply you with a petition. You will need to circulate the petition and 5 or more signatures must be collected from property owners in the assessment district. Finally the circulator will need to sign the petition in the presence of a notary public before submitting to the Drain Commissioner.

Petitioned Drainage Projects

  • Wildcat Drain - City of Three Rivers, Lockport Township, and Fabius Township
  • Corey Lake Intercounty Drain - Fabius Township in St. Joseph County and Newberg Township in Cass County
  • Nye Drain - City of Sturgis and Sturgis Township

Note: Meeting notices regarding drainage projects are available on the home page. We also have many other smaller drainage projects that are considered maintenance. If you would like more information on these or any other projects in our office please contact us.


If you are planning to do any work on your property that involves connecting into, crossing over, under, or through a county drain, please contact the Drain Commissioner’s office to obtain a permit.