The DPS combines under one umbrella many divisions that provide direct service to residents. This enables a coordinated effort in maintaining the City's infrastructure, planning for special events, and addressing emergencies such as water main breaks or severe weather conditions. The department's success is attributable to a well trained and dedicated work force.
Address: 1600 N Campbell Rd
Main Phone Number: (248) 246-3300
- Motor Pool: (248) 246-3370
Click on the different divisions on the left column menu for more detailed information. The following is a summary of information provided:
Water and Sewer Utility Warranty Program: The program is provided through the National League of Cities (NLC) and administered by Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA).
Electrical Division: (248)246-3300; Traffic Signals, downtown lighting, etc.
Leaf Collection Schedule: The collection schedule is usually posted sometime in September.
Motor Pool & Communications Division: (248)246-3370; Fleet maintenance and repair, facility maintenance, fueling, radio communications, emergency lighting & sirens, radar units, etc.
Parks and Forestry Division: (248)246-3300; Tree trimming and removal, grass cutting, park maintenance of equipment, baseball/softball fields, soccer fields, football fields and sand volleyball courts, etc.
Recycling: (248)246-3300; Recyclable materials, SOCRRA Drop off center, Recycling Roundup, etc.
Refuse & Solid Waste: (248)246-3300; Collection Area Map and Routes, regular refuse, recyclables, yard waste, brush clippings, chipper service, bulky items, paint cans, broken glass, also Holiday delay pickup
Sewer Division: (248)246-3300; Miss Digs, Sanitary sewer cleaning, maintenance and repair, FAQ's, etc.
Water Maintenance Division: (248)246-3300; Water mains, valves(gates), services, fire hydrants, FAQ's, etc.
The Electrical Division is responsible for all traffic signals installed on City of Royal Oak maintained roadways. At present, there are 79 locations that include some of the latest microprocessor-based controllers that are used in complex traffic locations.
During the last 10 years, in an effort to control costs, the city has taken over the ownership, and maintenance of street lighting installed with Federal funds in conjunction with roadway projects. The Electrical Division now maintains over 700 high pressure sodium lights installed in the Central Business District and on major roadways throughout the city.
Electrical maintenance of the city's 16 facilities is also a responsibility of this division as well as providing electrical power for several special events.
Royal Oak Public Service Dept.: 248-246-3300 (M-F, 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM)
Address: 1600 N Campbell Rd
The Highway Division is responsible for a variety of operations related to street maintenance.
Maintenance - This category covers all street repairs such as patching chuckholes, grading gravel streets, repairing concrete and asphalt streets, and any miscellaneous activity connected with highway maintenance.
Signs, Guardrails and Painting - This category includes the installation, removal, and repair of regulatory, warning and guide signs throughout the City of Royal Oak. Street painting is also under this heading and covers centerline striping, lane designation, crosswalks, parking lots, and intersection markings. Guardrail installation and repair are also maintained in this division.
Winter Maintenance - This category includes salting major streets and local intersections when conditions warrant. Major streets are also plowed if a sufficient amount of snow has fallen to cause hazardous driving conditions. If four inches of snow accumulates, local streets are plowed on a twenty-four hour basis until all streets are cleared. A major budget item in this area is the purchase of salt. Approximately 4,500 tons of salt is used in this operation each year. Check here for snow emergency information or call (248)246-3442.
Royal Oak Public Service Dept.: 248-246-3300 (M-F, 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM)
Address: 1600 N Campbell Rd
What Activates A Snow Emergency?
Residents may call the Snow Emergency Hotline: 248-246-3442, to find out if a snow emergency is in effect.
When a snow emergency is effect for the City of Royal Oak, All vehicles on residential streets are to be removed or will be towed. Vehicles are to remain off the streets until plow trucks have gone through the area. Once a snow emergency is called and plowing begins, it takes approximately 24-36 hours to plow all city streets.
City Snowplows Need Citizens' Cooperation
With winter on its way, city officials are reminding residents that cooperation is the key to a successful snow removal operation in the city. The operation can't work as planned unless residents cooperate by moving their cars into driveways when a snow emergency is declared. If that happens, city snowplows can move unimpeded through residential streets and restore driveable conditions much sooner. Residents may call the Snow Emergency Hotline, 248-246-3442, to find out if a snow emergency is in effect.
Those who don't cooperate could be ticketed and fined under a 1991 ordinance requiring them to move their cars off the street when a snow emergency is declared, but Department of Public Services Director Greg Rassel stresses that cooperation is "still critical."
On-street parking is prohibited, except with special permits issued through the Royal Oak Police Department, when an official snow emergency is declared. Emergency conditions are generally defined as a snowfall of four inches or more.
"If there's a winter storm watch and a snowfall of four inches or more is expected, we'd recommend that residents remove their cars prior (to an official emergency declaration)," Rassel said. "When the emergency is declared, it's absolutely critical that cars be off the roads. We'll already be plowing by that time." Rassel said the city's crews will be ready to tackle any kind of snowfall, from a light sprinkling to a raging blizzard.
|Here's how the plan works:|
• Priority One Status
This covers snow of up to 4 inches. All major arterial streets such as 12 Mile Road are salted by special routes 24 hours a day as
• Priority Two
When Priority One routes are done, crews shift to Priority Two, which is connector streets and routes leading to schools. Intersections and drop-off areas at the schools are salted during regular work hours, Monday-Friday only. School areas are done only when they are in session.
Crews salt intersections only where the majority of stopping and turning takes place. This permits "tracking" of salt beyond the intersection, and within a few days after a snow, the area is free of ice or snow for the most part. Concentrating on intersections protects the streets and the environment, saving the taxpayers money.
• Priority Three
This covers major storms of more than 4 inches of snow. All local streets and Priority Two streets are plowed after more than four inches of snow have accumulated. Salting of intersections begins when dictated by conditions. Local streets are plowed after Priority One streets have been done. Plowing is started in a different section of the city after each snowfall as a matter of fairness. You can stay abreast of plowing operations by calling the Hotline at 246-3442.
In the central business district, snow is plowed to the center of the street, then picked up. The goal is to complete plowing and pickup operations within 24 hours after the snow stops, and it's much easier to do it if vehicles are parked off the street.
The DPS is often bombarded by complaints when snow is plowed into people's driveways. Unfortunately, it is an unavoidable circumstance because plows are fixed to push the snow to the curb and there's no place for it to go other than the driveway. It means the end of the driveway must be cleaned again after the plow goes through. It also means the city snowplow driver's work isn't entirely done after he finishes a long day's work. Waiting at home in the driveway is that same pile of snow that residents have to shovel.
The city apologizes for the inconvenience but a plowed street is vitally important for emergency vehicles, and permits residents to go to work, school, etc.
The Motor Pool assists all Royal Oak departments with delivery of services to residents and businesses through the use of safe and reliable equipment, such as: police cars, small and large trucks, fire apparatus, senior buses, tractors, road sweepers, aerial equipment, etc.
A strong preventative maintenance program followed by an aggressive repair program insures all vehicles and equipment receive prompt, professional, personalized care to insure their longevity.
A computerized fleet management system along with a fully automated fuel control system individually monitors repairs, maintenance, and fuel consumption for over 267 fleet vehicles and equipment keeping operational cost at a minimum.
The motor pool division is also responsible for the Department of Public Service facility maintenance, as well as its utility bill payment. The building uses sodium filled style lighting in its parking and vehicle repair areas for maximum brightness at low wattage costs. Automatic doors with vehicle sensing magnetic loops are used at the main vehicle entrance and exit doors to minimize heat loss in the cold winter months. Modern boilers have been installed to replace old non-repairable units. These newer boilers are one quarter the size of the boilers they replaced, using less energy to run, yet are still able to heat the entire facility.
There are nine employees in the Motor Pool, including a shop supervisor, municipal clerk, stock clerk, garage service worker and four mechanics. Residents who have questions, or would like additional information about the Motor Pool Division are welcome to call 248-246-3370 or stop in at the Department of Public Service.
The Communications division consists of a communication technician who maintains 286 city two-way radios installed in the Police Department, Fire Department and Department of Public Services, as well as emergency lighting and sirens installed on police and fire vehicles. This division also maintains all of the city's public address systems, paging and inter-com systems, and police radar units.
Motor Pool Department: 248-246-3370 (M-F, 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM)
Address: 1600 N Campbell Rd
The Parks & Forestry Division is responsible for maintenance of the following: over 23,000 street trees (exclusive of park and boulevard trees), 50 park sites of over 310 acres, 8 boulevards of over 28 acres, 43 traffic islands, Royal Oak Cemetery, grounds adjacent to all City buildings, and all green spaces adjacent to City parking lots. In addition, the division regularly maintains baseball/softball fields, soccer fields, football fields, and sand volleyball courts, during their respective seasons.
This division installs and maintains all park playground equipment, fences and backstops, as well as designating and implementing park development projects.
In the area of community promotion, the Parks & Forestry division is responsible for the installation and removal of street banners, and setup for special events.
In the area of snow removal, the Parks & Forestry division is responsible for all City parking lots and sidewalks in the downtown area and those adjacent to parks and public buildings, and street plowing during major snow storms.
Parks & Forestry surveys the City for trees with Dutch Elms disease, monitors gypsy moth activity, controls noxious weeds, and cleans private lots for Code Enforcement.
Parks & Forestry is on a continuous cycle of tree trimming, grass cutting and maintenance of city grounds.
Tree Planting Program
For more than 30 years, Royal Oak has provided a tree planting program for residents. The objective is to replace trees that are lost over time to disease and other factors. The program allows residents to purchase a variety of trees from the city's Department of Public Service in the spring at prices lower than area nurseries.
Please call the Department of Public Service at (248) 246-3300 to have a flyer sent in early Spring. Trees purchased for the City easement will be planted by a contractor. Trees purchased for private property will be delivered but not planted. There is a 2 tree purchase limit.
Its commitment to tree planting and preservation has earned the City of Royal Oak the National Arbor Day Foundation distinction of "Tree City USA" every year since 1976.
Royal Oak Public Service Dept.: 248-246-3300 (M-F, 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM)
Address: 1600 N Campbell Rd
For complete recycling information for the City of Royal Oak, please visit SOCRRA’s website at www.socrra.org. SOCRRA is the regional recycling authority that handles all the bottles, cans, and paper recyclables collected at the curb and Royal Oak is a member community. The SOCRRA “Resident Info” page will provide assistance for all your recycling needs or click on the links below.
Get the most up to date recycling information from SOCRRA via email! If you'd like to get e-mail updates from SOCRRA on changes to what can be recycled in the curbside bin or brought to the Recycling Drop-off Center, upcoming workshops, special events, etc., please visit www.socrra.org to sign up today!
Collection and Bin Information
The City of Royal Oak provides weekly curbside collection of recyclables. Recyclables are collected on the same day as your trash and yard waste (when in season).
Please have your recyclables to the curb by 7:00 am.
Recycling must be set out in a 18-gallon Royal Oak/SOCRRA bin or bins available at the Department of Public Services, located at 1600 N. Campbell Road, and are $10 for one bin and a lid. Residents are encouraged to use as many recycling bins as necessary to accommodate their amount of recyclables--there is no limit to how many recycling bins residents may set out each week.
It Pays to Recycle!
For every ton of recyclables collected in Royal Oak and delivered to SOCRRA, the City earns $37.50/ton, whereas the city pays to dispose of trash.
|= $37.50 / ton|
Recyclables are cash at your curb, helping to keep the City’s costs low for trash and recycling collection service, ultimately keeping more cash in your wallet. Last year, the City of Royal Oak earned $165,000 in revenue from recyclables and $100,000 in avoided disposal costs.
STYROFOAM IS NOW RECYCLABLE!!
At this time recycling of Styrofoam is only available at the SOCRRA drop off facility, 995 Coolidge (North of 14 Mile across from the Meijer gas station). DO NOT PUT IN YOUR RECYCLING BIN. No appointment is needed.
*** *** *** ***
DISPOSING OF YARD WASTE DURING THE WINTER MONTHS.
SOCRRA residents can bring yard waste/Christmas trees (with nothing attached/no plastic bags) for FREE between December 22, 2014 – April 3, 2015
Due to state law, yard waste cannot be mixed with trash at any time. Because there isn’t a yard waste truck running during the winter months SOCCRRA members (no businesses,
landscapers, etc.) can bring up to 10 bags/bundles per home per day of leaves, grass or brush bundles to SOCRRA, located at 995 Coolidge at no charge between December 22, 2014 – April 3, 2015. These materials will be composted. Hours are M-F 8am-4pm and Sat 8am-noon. There is no charge for dropping off yard waste for SOCRRA residents only during the dates listed. Yard waste collection will begin April 1, 2015. After that, the regular disposal rate is $60.00/ton with a $35.00 minimum charge will apply.
Simply drive through SOCRRA’s gates and go straight ahead to the scale in front of the MRF Building. Stop and see the Scale Operator for instructions. If yard waste is brought in plastic bags you must empty the bag(s) as the material goes to the composting facility and plastic does not decompose.
Other Items of Interest:
Royal Oak Public Service Dept.: 248-246-3300 (M-F, 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM)
Address: 1600 N Campbell Rd
SOCRRA: 248-288-5153 - For answers about household hazardous waste. The SOCRRA facility is located on west side of Coolidge Highway between 14 and 15 Mile Roads. For more information on SOCRRA visit them online at: www.socrra.org
Backyard Composting is Easy!
Composting is nature's own recycling system. Leaves, grass, and other organic matter that fall to the ground provide a home and food supply for nature's recycler's--bacteria, worms, and other microorganisms. These organisms feed on the plant material, breaking them down, and turning them into a dark, nutrient rich product called Compost.
• improves plant nutrition
• holds moisture in sandy soil
• improves compacted soil
• extends the useful life of our landfills
Compost Rules and Guidelines-PLEASE READ
MATERIALS TO COMPOST:
Tree leaves, sod, grass clippings, hay, straw, weeds, chopped corn stalk or cobs, sawdust, shredded newspaper, wood ashes, hedge clippings, and many kinds of plant refuse from the garden.
Do NOT Add to Compost:
Any food items, raw or cooked (to avoid pest & odor problems)
Weeds gone to seed
Charcoal ashes or briquets
HOW IS IT DONE?
Recipe to Build a Pile
+50% Brown Materials (leaves, hay or straw, dead plants; carbon source)
+25% Green materials (grass clippings)
+25% Soil or compost soil contains microorganism that help to break down materials)
= 100% of a compost pile
Turning your Pile
One of the keys to a successful compost pile to turn the pile from time to time. This helps your pile in a couple of ways:
Turning everyday could be detrimental causing all the heat in the center of the pile to escape. Instead, try turning once week and see how that works.
Using the Finished Product
Finished compost can be used in the following ways:
Add to your garden in the spring or fall. Turn the garden soil and apply a 1-3 inch layer of compost.
Compost can be mixed with either garden soil or potting soil in a 50-50 ratio to use for container gardening. The compost adds nutrients and texture to encourage plant growth.
Compost can also be used as a mulch. Spread compost around any garden plants, under bushes, and around trees. For young plants, a 2-3 inch layer of compost often works well. Mulching helps hold in moisture, reduces weeds, and gradually feeds organic matter to the soil and plant roots. Compost is especially useful as mulch in the hottest, driestperiods of the summer.
The Dept of Public Services has more information sheets on compost. Call 246-3300 for yours today.
Grasscycling or Mulching
Let those grass clippings fall where they may!
Composting sound like too much work? What about bagging clippings during each mow? Grasscycling may be the solution for you!
Letting the grass clippings simply stay on the lawn has proven beneficial in several ways:
The most common myth about grass cycling is that clippings DO NOT cause thatch. Clippings are 85% water and therefore break back down quite easily into your lawn. Thatch is the remains of the woody portions of the grass plants and is often the result of over-fertilizing and excessive watering.
CHOOSING A LAWNMOWER
It is possible that the mower you now own may be used for mulching. Always take to a local dealer to make sure. If the machine is not properly designed, hazards could arise such as flying sticks and stones that could seriously injure you and those around you.
A mulching blade or an adapter hit may be available for your mower for a reasonable cost (under $60 dollars).
Mulching blades differ from regular blades by the longer cutting edge, a feature which allows it to "cut & recut" the grass blades and then redirect the clippings to the lawn, rather than to a bag.
For more information, contact the Public Services Department, 246-3300, or your local lawnmower dealer.
Wire-Mesh Holding Unit
A wire-mesh holding unit is inexpensive and easy to build out of either galvanized chicken wire or hardware cloth. (Nongalvanized chicken wire can also be used, but will not last very long.) Posts provide more stability for a chicken wire bin, but make the bin difficult to move. A wire-mesh bin made without posts is easy to lift, and provide access to the compost that is already "done" at the bottom of the pile while the compost at the top of the pile is still decomposing.
Building a Wire-Mesh Holding Unit Using Chicken Wire
Building a Wire-mesh Holding Unit Using Hardware Cloth
Galvanized Hardware Cloth - Technical Information: Economical steel mesh, Hot-dipped zinc coating, 36" roll width - 10 foot length is best, Heavily galvanized, Firm and non-raveling. Common name: 2 mesh galvanized welded. Usually seen being used for rabbit cages.
The City of Royal Oak greatly encourages recycling and cardboard is a large part of the recycling process. CARDBOARD PREPARATION can be a time consuming process, sometimes with all that hard work going into the rubbish. Not only does recycling save the City (a.k.a. the residents) money on disposal fees but it also helps the environment. Hopefully the following will clarify how cardboard should be placed at the curb so everyone benefits!!
For example: If you have a large TV box and place it by the recycle bin and it’s not the appropriate size, it will be tagged and left. If the TV box is by the trash it will be taken with the trash.
Ways to recycle cardboard:
Flattened cardboard and bundle with twine or tape, place inside, next to or under recycling bin. Bundles must be no larger than your recycling bin (23”L x 16” W x 14 T”) – the size of the truck opening.
~ OR ~
Flatten and tightly stuff all cardboard boxes and paperboard items into a cardboard box no larger than the size of your recycling bin (23” L x 16” W x 14” T) – the size of the truck opening. Place next to or on top of your recycling bin.
Large empty appliance boxes that are not broken down will go with the trash. Make sure boxes only contain packing materials, no trash!!
SAVE A STEP!! Bring any size cardboard to SOCRRA’s drop off facility. There is no need to breakdown boxes, just make sure there is no packaging or trash. SOCRRA is
located at 995 Coolidge, Troy (between 14 Mile and Maple, across from the Meijer gas station). Hours are Monday thru Friday 7:00 am – 6:00 pm and Saturday 7:00 am – 2:00 pm. SOCRRA does have winter and summer hours, please call (248) 288-5150 to confirm hours of operation.
Please pass this information along to your neighbors, friends and family!! The more we recycle the more everyone benefits!!Thank you!!
City of Royal Oak - Christmas Trees will be collected curbside for recycling starting December 29, 2015 - January 16, 2015. Collection will occur on your regular trash day by a private contractor. Please place tree at the curb by 7:00am without decorations, lights, stands, and plastic bags or the tree will be left.
Between 1/19/2015 and 3/27/2015 residents may dispose of trees at the SOCRRA facility located at 995 Coolidge Hwy. Call 359-288-5150 for details.
Oakland County Parks and Recreation offers free Christmas Tree Recycling at 11 park locations.
There is no charge to drop off trees. All decorations, plastic, tinsel and wire must be removed. Large quantities from commercial lots will not be accepted.
Dec. 26, 2014 - Jan. 20, 2015
Free Self-Serve Christmas Tree Recycling, seven days, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Please remove all decorations, metal, plastic and string.
Addison Oaks near Oxford; Catalpa Oaks in Southfield; Glen Oaks in Farmington Hills; Groveland Oaks near Holly; Independence Oaks near Clarkston; Lyon Oaks in Lyon Township; Orion Oaks in Orion Township; Red Oaks in Madison Heights; Springfield Oaks in Davisburg; Waterford Oaks in Waterford; and White Lake Oaks in White Lake Township.
Jan. 21 - Feb. 3, 2015
Extended Free Self-Serve Christmas Tree Recycling, seven days, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Independence Oaks (Pine Grove parking lot) and Orion Oaks (Clarkston Rd. parking lot) only.
The parks system processes trees to make compost and wood chips, which will be available to the public, free of charge at Orion Oaks only on select days.
Subscribe online at DestinationOakland.com and select Christmas Tree Recycling to get a free White Pine tree seedling in the spring from the Oakland COnservation District. For more information, contact 248-858-0906 or visit DestinationOakland.com.
Please call SOCRRA at 248-288-5150 for more information.
What is Yard Waste?
Yard Waste includes: grass clippings, leaves, spent flowers & garden plants, weeds, pine needles, pine cones, acorns, chestnuts, walnuts, apples, Halloween pumpkins, vines, twigs, branches and other woody material up to 2" in diameter. (Put woody yard waste between two inch (2") and five inches (5") in diameter with regular refuse. Refer to brush chipping guidelines.)
How do I prepare yard waste for collection?
Yard waste may be placed in 32-gallon trash cans, clearly labeled with a “yard waste” decal, and facing the street so it can be easily spotted for pickup. Free Yard waste decals are available at the DPS office on Campbell Rd and at City Hall. Yard waste may also be placed in a 30-gallon paper yard waste bag, available at most hardware stores. Containers and bags cannot weigh more than 50 pounds each. Plastic bags are NOT acceptable.
Why must I separate these items?
Yard waste is banned from disposal in Michigan landfills. SOCRRA converts yard waste into compost, a useful nutrient rich soil amendment.
What about brush and branches larger than twigs?
Refer to brush clipping guidelines or below under “What is woody material?".
Is yard waste collected year-round?
No, weekly curbside collection is provided from April through mid-December.
What if I have yard waste when collection isn’t provided?
Royal Oak residents can bring up to 10 yard waste bags per day to the SOCRRA Transfer Station at 995 Coolidge in Troy at no charge from mid-December through March. No plastic bags. Please call SOCRRA at 248-288-5150 for more information.
Acceptable Containers: 20 to 32 gallon trash cans with a "yard waste" bumper sticker decal, or paper landscape bags (no decal on bags). Plastic bags are not allowed.
Yard Waste Will Not Be Picked Up If:
Once the problem is corrected, set yard waste at the curb for collection on your next pick-up/collection day.
Additional Recycling Program Information can be found at SOCRRA: www.socrra.org
What is woody material?
Residents must keep woody materials larger than 2" in diameter out of their separated yard waste. Woody materials do not decompose as fast as grass, leaves and the other "soft" materials and must be screened out of finished compost and landfilled, adding unnecessary costs to the program.
What is it? - Woody materials include: Tree branches, woody shrubs, bushes, and hedges.
How do I dispose of it? Put woody material between 2" and 5" in diameter with the regular refuse and set at curb by 7:00 a.m. on trash day. Tie brush securely into bundles up to 4' long X 15" diameter, not weighing more than 40 pounds, and set at curb. Logs over 5" in diameter must be disposed of privately.
To have brush between 1"-6" in diameter and between 4'-12' lengths chipped at the curb, call a private contractor or the City's recommended contractor for details and costs. The City's recommended contractor is:
J H Hart
Grasscycling (Let clippings fall):
Use a mulching mower or retrofit your current mower with a mulching blade kit and let clips fall back into the lawn.
Cut only 1/3 of grass blade at a time to promote root growth and shade out weeds. Deep roots help plants resist
drought and disease.
Transform your yard waste into humus-rich compost. Use compost in the garden, with potted plants, as a topdressing for lawns, or as mulch around trees and shrubs.
50% Leaves (carbon)
For free fact sheets on grasscycling, composting, and other yard waste reduction and healthy lawn and garden tips, call or write: SOCRRA, 3910 W. Webster Road, Royal Oak, MI 48073
Refuse, Recycling and yard waste collection is performed by an outside contractor, Rizzo Services and administered through the Director of Public Services office.
Rizzo Services, 22449 Groesbeck, Warren MI 48089
Ph. 1-888-877-4996, email: email@example.com
Refuse is collected once each week. Collections occur between the hours of 7AM and 6PM. Please have all refuse placed at the curb, in front of residence the night before your collection day or by 7 AM that morning. Under no circumstances should refuse be put out at the curb more than 14 hours prior to collection day. Empty containers must be removed from the curb as soon as possible after collection.
Check here for your: Refuse Collection Area & Schedule
The weight of any refuse bag or bundled item cannot exceed 40 pounds, yard waste containers cannot exceed 50 pounds and trash containers must be packaged in the following ways:
1. REGULAR REFUSE - Contained garbage, and other household materials must be placed in containers not larger than 32 gallons or in 20-30 gallon plastic bags. Trash and yard waste can not be mixed at any time per State law.
2. RECYCLABLES - Recyclable items must be placed in an 18 gallon Royal Oak recycling bin and put at the curb on your regular refuse day no later than 7:00 am. Bins can be purchased at the DPS office, 1600 N Campbell Rd, between 7:30 am - 4:00 pm, Monday - Friday. Cost is $8 for the bin, $2 for the lid (cash, check or credit card accepted).
Recycling Electronic Equipment? Click here for more information.
3. YARD WASTE (Pay Tags are no longer needed) - On November 1, 2004 State laws (Public Act 34 & 35) were enacted which prohibits yard waste from entering Michigan landfills.
Residents are no longer allowed to place yard waste at curbside once the program ends from mid-December through March 31.
Residents (not businesses, landscapers, etc.) can take brown paper landscape bags of yard waste to the Troy Transfer Station (995 Coolidge - across from Meijer, Hours: are M-F 8am-4pm, Sat: 8am-12 noon) over winter (mid-December through March 31 only), for composting, at no charge.
Yard waste is considered to be grass, leaves, spent garden plants, flowers, weeds, pine needles, pine cones, acorns, chestnuts, walnuts, apples, pumpkins, loose straw (not baled), vines, twigs and woody material up to 2" in diameter. Yard waste can not be mixed in the same container with regular trash at any time of the year. Acceptable containers for yard waste are trash cans (up to 32 gallon) with a yard waste decal facing the street (decals available at DPS Offices or at City Hall), or a kraft paper landscape bag. Containers cannot weigh more than 50 pounds. Plastic bags are no longer acceptable for yard waste of any kind.
The Leaf Vacuum Program begins at the end of October. Rake leaves into the street according to the collection schedule. For the Leaf Pick up Schedule, check local newspapers, this site, WROK Cable (Ch. 10/55) or INSIGHT (the Free City Newsletter). Check here for the Leaf Pick up Schedule.
4. BRUSH - Tree branches, shrubs or hedge-type bushes between 2" and 5" in diameter can be cut into 4-foot lengths and tied securely into bundles weighing less than 40 pounds and not more than 15" in diameter and can be placed at the curb by 7:00 a.m. on your regular refuse day. Woody material less than 2" in diameter needs to be put with yard waste. Brush can not protrude from garbage cans and workers cannot reach in to dislodge contents. Logs larger than 5" in diameter are not picked up and must be disposed of privately.
Brush Chipping Service - Effective July 1, 2010 the City's recommended contractor is JH Hart Urban Forestry. You can contact them directly or hire a private contractor.
JH Hart Urban Forestry, Phone: 586-795-5581
The following fees will apply:
The charge is $45.00 for each 15 minutes of chipping. Residents must pay the contractor directly via cash, check or Credit Card. They will take a credit card via phone. Residents will be invoiced for all work over 15 minutes, in additional 15 minute increments. REMEMBER that you pay for the time spent at your stop; time spent to sort through materials to access brush to be chipped costs the same as actual chipping time.
Scope: Branches up to 6" in diameter, 4 foot or longer, neatly stacked at curb, shrubs without root-ball will also be picked up.
Contact JH Hart Urban Forestry if you require additional information
A separate truck picks up large bulky items such as appliances, hot water tanks, etc., on the same day as your regular refuse collection. Items must be at your curb by 7 AM on refuse day. Please separate these items from your regular refuse by 2 - 3 feet. Refrigerator and freezer doors must be removed for safety reasons. If your residence is on a cul-de-sac or dead-end, or if you live in an apartment/condo complex, the D.P.S. office should be notified the day prior to your refuse collection, please call (248)246-3300.
For Latex paint only, remove lid and allow to harden or add kitty litter or sawdust to absorb the liquid; put at curb on refuse day with lid removed for pickup with trash. OR, call the SOCRRA Household Hazardous Waste Facility (248-288-5153) for a dropoff appointment (no charge), OR, chip out dried paint, rinse and put can in recyclng bin, with lid off (a thin film of paint residue is okay). Paint in liquid form or paint cans with lids still on will be left at the curb until the problem is corrected.
Oil based paint is considered hazardous waste and must be disposed of properly. Please call SOCRRA to schedule an appointment at 248-288-5153 or go online at www.socrra.org and click on Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics.
Roll and tie securely (with either duct tape or twine) into a bundle no longer than 4 feet in length, weighing no more than 40 pounds (manageable for one person). Put at curb with regular trash by 7am of your regular refuse day.
Wrap in heavy paper or place in cardboard box or metal can with a lid and put with regular refuse. DO NOT put broken glass with recycling.
Put in old sheet/blanket, break glass and discard sheet with broken glass in cardboard box or metal can (marked as broken glass). Set out with regular refuse. DO NOT put broken glass with recycling.
Tape an "X" pattern on both sides of glass. The glass will stick to the tape instead of shatter on the street. Contractor accepts glass doors 6' tall x 3' wide. If larger, need to dispose of privately. Put at curb with regular trash by 7am of your regular refuse day.
There are certain items that are NOT acceptable for curbside collection:
• Asbestos insulation
• Flammable products
• Infectious materials
• Light Bulbs; Flourescent & CFL
• Hazardous waste (see Below)
|• Radioactive items
• Tree stumps
• Rear Axles
• Loose items: Bricks, concrete (even if attached to something), sod or dirt
These materials must be disposed of privately. See www.socrra.org or call 248-288-5150 for locations, hours, rates and procedures. Limited amounts of construction items from home occupant's personal repair or remodeling are acceptable; however, items cannot be longer than 4 feet in length, must be bundled and weigh less than 40 pounds per bundle.
S.O.C.R.R.A. handles materials such as, but not limited to: motor oil, pesticides, flourescent & CFL light bulbs, medicines, syringes, varnishes, paints (latex is not a household hazardous waste - see PAINT information above), and other hazardous materials at its drop-off site, located at 995 Coolidge Hwy, on an appointment basis only. Containers will not be returned.
Call 248-288-5153 for details and to make an appointment.
Online Hazardous Waste Appointment Scheduling
SOCRRA residents may now schedule appointments online for disposal of hazardous waste and electronics recycling. The online system will request all the same information required when you contacted the office - name, city, if you would like to come in the morning or afternoon, and what types of materials and their quantities will you be bringing.
Visit SOCRRA online at: http://www.socrra.org and click on Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics to schedule an appointment.
When one of the following holidays falls on a weekday, collection for the remaining days of the week will be delayed one day. Holidays are official holidays, not City observed holidays. Trash pickup is not affected when a holiday falls on a weekend. Trash pickup is not affected for any holidays not listed below.
** Thursday is picked up Friday and Friday is picked up Saturday. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are picked up on the scheduled day.
Royal Oak Public Service Dept. 248-246-3300 (M-F, 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM)
- For answers to questions regarding Refuse, Recycling & Yard Waste Collection
Address: 1600 N Campbell Rd
DPS Hotline 248-246-3333
- Public Service hours, after hours emergencies.
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Click here for printable map and schedule (593 kb pdf)
Refuse Collection Area - Mondays
Refuse Collection Area -
Refuse Collection Area -
Refuse Collection Area -
Refuse Collection Area - Fridays
The large number of trees in Royal Oak makes leaf collection a major task. To make it happen, the City uses 13 dump trucks, two sweepers, and a front-end loader with a clam bucket with crews working long hours to cover the 212 miles of streets twice during the pickup season.
The City has to wait until late October to begin the process to make sure most of the leaves are down. Since the schedule is very tight, we need all the help we can get from our residents.
Royal Oak will post signs in neighborhoods when leaf-vacuuming trucks make their rounds. The signs will be placed on neighborhood streets, just off major thoroughfares, notifying residents that leaf pickup will be in the neighborhood the following day. The signs ask residents to park cars off the streets because cars at curbside can slow down the trucks and make it impossible to pick up leaves in front of the residence where the car is parked.
"It's important to be considerate of your neighbors," said Greg Rassel, Director of Public Service. "A parked car left out front doesn't just affect one house, the trucks have to go around and sometimes they also can't pick up neighbors' leaves." Temporary no-parking signs are available to you at the DPS offices, 1600 N Campbell Rd, located on the East side of Campbell, South of 12 Mile Rd, Monday-Friday, 7:30am to 4:00pm.
Other ways of helping: Know the leaf-vacuuming schedules and be timely in raking your leaves to the curb. The schedules are available at the DPS, in homeowner associations’ bulletins, through cable channel 17 on Comcast or channel 10 on WOW, and on the City’s web site. Two week schedules are also available by calling the DPS during business hours, Monday-Friday 7:30am-4:00pm, at (248)246-3300 and selecting option 5, then option 1.
Just as important as keeping cars off the streets on leaf pickup days is removing sticks, rocks, pieces of wood and other hard objects from leaf piles because they can damage propellers in the leaf vacuums, which knock them out of commission and cause downtime.
Royal Oak leaves go to the Southeast Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority (SOCRRA) compost facility in Rochester Hills where they are turned into humus-rich compost. The compost is offered to residents in SOCRRA member communities, including Royal Oak, for use as mulch.
Leaves, any soft yard waste, and woody material up to 2" in diameter, may also be placed at curbside in up to 32-gallon containers with the yard waste decal facing the street, or brown paper landscape bags for pickup on your regular rubbish day (until December 19th). Please set to the curb by 7:00am.
The entire city is covered twice in the six-week leaf collection period. Every attempt will be made to make a third pick up, however, this is strictly dependent upon the weather. After December 19, leaves will NOT be picked up either curbside or on your regularly scheduled refuse day. Either hold onto yard waste until the program begins April 1, or residents (no businesses or landscapers) will be allowed to take a limited number of bags (10 bags per day) to SOCRRA between December 22, 2014 and March 31, 2015 for disposal. Please call (248) 288-5150 for more information.
Leaf collection as of Friday, Dec. 5 is currently on schedule. The last scheduled day is December 12, 2014. Crews will work in date order. Signs will be posted on major arterial roads the day before collection. Thank you for your patience.
Following is the tentative City of Royal Oak curbside leaf collection schedule for 2014. The last day is December 12th.
Residents should note that schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions, mechanical breakdowns or other factors beyond the City’s control. If collections are ahead of schedule, a truck will be down your street on the regularly scheduled day of pickup. There is only one Saturday scheduled for pick-up, the remainder of the Saturdays during collection will be used as “catch up”. To help our workers, please do not put yard waste other than leaves in the street. Thank you.
Check here for Additional Guidelines and Information regarding street parking, disposal of leaves outside of the schedule, and other important reminders.
Please note clear/colored plastic bags are no longer acceptable for yard waste, including leaves; please use the appropriate container.
Week 1 (view map)
11/03/14 Normandy to N. City Limits -Greenfield to Crooks
11/04/14 Webster to Normandy – Greenfield to Woodward
11/05/14 13 Mile to Normandy - Woodward to Main
11/06/14 13 Mile to N. City Limits - Main to Campbell
11/07/14 12 Mile to 13 Mile - Main to Campbell
Week 2 (view map)
11/10/14 12 Mile to 13 Mile – Crooks to Main
11/11/14 12 Mile to 13 Mile - Woodward to Crooks
11/12/14 11 Mile to 12 Mile - Woodward to Main
11/13/14 11 Mile to 12 Mile - Main to Campbell
11/14/14 10 Mile to 12 Mile – Campbell to E. City
11/15/14 Lincoln to 11 Mile – Woodward to Campbell (Sat.)
Week 3 (view map)
11/17/14 10 Mile to Lincoln – W. City Limits to Campbell
11/18/14 13 Mile to 14 Mile – Greenfield to Woodward
11/19/14 13 Mile to 14 Mile - Woodward to Coolidge
11/20/14 Normandy to N. City Limits – Coolidge to Crooks
11/21/14 13 Mile to Normandy – Coolidge to Main
Week4 (view map)
11/24/14 12 Mile to Woodside - Main to Rochester
11/25/14 13 Mile to 14 Mile – Rochester to Campbell
11/26/14 12 Mile to 13 Mile - Rochester to Campbell
11/27/14 Happy Thanksgiving! (no collection)
11/28/14 12 Mile to 13 Mile – Crooks to Main
Week 5 (view map)
12/01/14 Webster to 13 Mile - Greenfield to Crooks
12/02/14 12 Mile to Webster - Woodward to Crooks
12/03/14 Catalpa to 12 Mile – Woodward to Main
12/04/14 11 Mile to Gardenia – Campbell to Stephenson -AND-
Gardenia to 12 Mile – Main to Stephenson
12/05/14 11 Mile to Gardenia – Main to Campbell
Week 6 (view map)
12/08/14 11 Mile to Catalpa – Woodward to Main
12/09/14 10 Mile to 11 Mile – W. City Limit to Main
12/10/14 Lincoln to 11 Mile – Main to Campbell
12/11/14 10 Mile to 11 Mile - Campbell to E. City Limits
12/12/14 10 Mile to Lincoln - Main to Campbell
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The Sewer Division is responsible for the maintenance of approximately 300 miles of sewers (sanitary and storm) throughout the Community.
Throughout the year, the Sewer Division performs various tasks:
Sanitary Sewer Cleaning
- This program is set up to clean all sanitary sewers within the city. Because of this maintenance program we can eliminate most of the sewer back-up problems in the city lines. We also have personnel available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to respond to any basement water calls by residents. If a resident should have a basement water problem after normal working hours or on a weekend or holiday, they should call the Police Department non-emergency line at 248-246-3500.
Maintenance and Normal Repairs
- Starting in the Spring, Sewer personnel repair catch basins, manholes and any sewer lines that have problems. This work continues as long as weather permits. During the winter, Sewer personnel clean the tops of catch basins and inspects all of the sewer structures for repair. After the inspection sheets are turned in, the Supervisor prioritizes the jobs according to need.
Severe Snow Storms
- The Sewer Division supports the Highway Division with equipment and manpower for the plowing of city streets whenever there is a severe snow storm. Also, during the winter months, the Sewer Division uses a power rodding machine to rod or clean city sewer lines that have root growth problems. This power rodder is in operation until our construction season begins.
- The Sewer Division also handles all Miss Digs. This is a program set up by all utilities for the staking of utility lines before any digging occurs. We stake or paint all City of Royal Oak sewer mains and laterals, water mains, sewer service tie-in locations, and water curb shut-offs.
During extremely heavy downpours, the main barrels or trunk lines become filled to capacity, thus causing a back-up. Fortunately, these types of rainfalls are normally few and far between. If you experience a flooded street during working hours, M-F 7:30am - 4pm, please contact Public Service at 248-246-3300 and we will dispatch a worker. As always, residents can assist the City by removing debris from the top of the catch basin. Thank you for any help you can provide.
The City of Royal Oak is a member of the Twelve Town Drainage Enhancement Program. This program is designed to substantially decrease the potential of flooded basements.
SEWER QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (FAQ)
Q. Who should I initially call when my basement starts to flood and my sewer will not drain?
A. Contact the Department of Public Service during regular working hours Monday - Friday, 7:30 A.M.- 4:00 P.M. at (248) 246-3300, and the Police Department anytime thereafter at (248) 246-3500. The Police department will then contact a sewer department representative to respond to your emergency. If the problem exists in the main sewer line, a crew will be dispatched to clear the line. If the problem is determined to be in the property owner's sewer line, the owner will be advised by the sewer representative to contact either a plumber or a sewer cleaning company.
Q. Whose responsibility is it if I have a problem with my sewer line located between the property line and the main sewer?
A. The property owner is responsible for their sewer service lead all the way from the home or building to the main sewer, including the connection to the main sewer. The City is responsible for the maintenance of the main sewer line only.
Q. What to do if you have basement water?
A. There are several reasons that you may experience basement water. Basement water usually occurs during or shortly thereafter a rainfall. Tree roots, disposable diapers, grease and other materials are key contributors to obstructing the flow of sewers. When these obstructions take place in your own sewer service, they prevent not only the water that is used internally throughout the household from flowing to the City's main sewer, but also prevents the water that has built up below your basement floor and around the basement walls from flowing freely to the main sewer as well. The water will then try to equalize the pressure and seek its own level by coming through the cracks in the walls, cracks in the floor, the floor/wall seam, and most commonly, up through the floor drains.
When you start to experience any of these signs, we recommend that you contact the Department of Public Service immediately during regular working hours Monday - Friday, 7:30 A.M. - 4:00 P.M. at (248) 246-3300, and the Police Department anytime thereafter at (248) 246-3500. The Police Department will contact a Sewer Department Representative to respond to your emergency. It is important to our department that we are notified and are able to investigate the problem at the time the event is taking place. If the problem exists in the main sewer line, a crew will be dispatched immediately to clear the line, and return during regular working hours to thoroughly clean the line. If the problem is determined to be in the property owner's sewer service line, the owner will be advised by the sewer representative that the problem is in the property owner's line and they may want to contact either a plumber or a sewer cleaning company to clear the line.
CLEANING UP THE MESS
The Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority DPW Advisory Committee has drafted procedures on cleaning and sanitizing after you have experienced a flood or sewage in your basement. Those procedures are as follows:
If flood waters or sewage fill your basement, you must clean properly to prevent you and your family from becoming sick or injured. Do not bring children into the flooded area during clean-up! The following are steps on how to clean up a flood or sewage problem.
Important: Please read the complete article before starting to clean and sanitize. Once you begin, be sure to wear the appropriate eye, nose and body protection, and follow the instructions on the cleaning labels.
Cleaning and Sanitizing
The following guidelines should be followed when entering a flooded area with gas and/or electric present:
Foods that are contaminated can make you and your family sick. They should be dealt with in the following manner:
To clean containers:
- Scrub with soap and water. (Use a brush around the rim of home canned jars.)
- Submerge in chlorinated water for 15 minutes (1 ounce of bleach per gallon of water).
Clothing and Bedding
Clothing, carpets, furniture, toys and/or bedding should be discard unless they are cleaned and disinfected. Movable objects could be put outdoors to be cleaned and dry in the sunlight. Discarded clothing should be placed in a tightly closed container until pick up or disposal.
After clean up, make sure that all clothing and parts of the body that came into contact with the flood waters and sewage are thoroughly washed. Be sure to wash hands immediately.
If you have any additional questions regarding your sewer, please contact the Department of Public Service office during regular working hours Monday - Friday, 8:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M. at 248-246-3300.
Address: 1600 N Campbell Rd
The Water Maintenance Division is the support branch of the Water Department and is responsible for the maintenance of approximately 200 miles of water main throughout the Community. It has two basic duties: one is to provide a clean, constant supply of water to home and businesses, the other is to provide a high-pressure supply of water for fire protection. In order to carry out these duties, it has many water conveyances it must maintain.
Water Mains - These are made of several materials, the most common being cast iron. They are subject to leaks and breaks due to stress, corrosion, and changes in water pressure because of seasonal demand. These breaks and leaks have to be pinpointed, dug up, and repaired. A new material, ductile iron, shows great promise in eliminating such problems.
Valves (or Gates) - These are located in various locations, usually one or two blocks apart, and are used to isolate certain areas for repair or construction. These are subject to corrosion of bolts and packing and must be periodically dug up and repaired.
Water Services - These supply water from the water main to the house. These also are made of different materials with copper being far superior. Copper services require little, if any, maintenance. Galvanized iron services eventually rust out and must be replaced. Services made of lead are a health hazard and should be replaced.
Hydrants - Royal Oak has over 1400 Hydrants of different ages and brands located strategically throughout the city. These suffer from vandalism, automobile accidents, and aging and must be repaired or dug up and replaced. The Fire Department also monitors their condition; malfunctions are then reported to Water Maintenance Division.
|1954 photo of Well House #1 located at 4715 Cooper|
Water Questions and Answers (FAQ)
Question: Why does my water look cloudy and/or rusty?
There are a couple of conditions that could cause the water to appear cloudy and/or rusty. Whenever there is a large draw of water from the water main, such as broken water mains, fire fighting, hydrant flushing, etc., the mineral deposits that has accumulated within the interior of the water main get stirred up and become suspended particle thus producing the discoloration in the water. This condition will not last. However, if the water does not clear in a reasonable amount of time, contact the Department of Public Service at (248) 246-3300.
Question: Why do we occasionally have water rationing in the summer?
It is important that a minimum of 20 PSI is provided throughout our water distribution system for fighting fires. In the summer months, especially during hot spells, water usage is extremely high. Occasionally, the demand exceeds the supply, thus dropping the water pressure substantially. When this becomes a possibility, the water-rationing ordinance is put into effect to ensure appropriate water pressure for fire fighting and public health.
Question: What causes low water pressure?
High demand is the principal cause of low water pressure and usually occurs during the summer months. Other causes that can contribute to low water pressure are undetected broken water mains, broken water services, poor internal piping, particles in the screen of faucets, etc.
Question: Is the water safe to drink when it is cloudy and/or rusty?
If the reason for the cloudy and/or rusty appearance in the water is caused from the reasons stated in the previous answer, then the answer is "YES." However, if you do have concerns, you may boil the water prior to use.
If you have any additional questions regarding your water, please contact the Department of Public Service office during regular working hours Monday - Friday, 7:30 A.M. - 4:00 P.M. at (248) 246-3300.
Address: 1600 N Campbell Rd
For after hour emergencies, contact the Police department at (248) 246-3500.
"Effective June 13, 2005, please be advised that the fee for after-hour water turn on and/or off (after 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and any time on the weekend) is $75.00 per visit by Water Personnel. Return visits 3 hours or later, after the initial service, will result in an additional charge of $75.00".
The Water Service Division has three full time employees and one supervisor, who oversees the Water Service, Water Maintenance, and Sewer Divisions. There are approximately 23,500 water meters within Royal Oak's water system for which this Division is responsible.
Some of the functions of the Water Service Division are as follows:
The Water Service Division also has a meter testing and replacement program. The division is presently in the process of installing the outside reading devices where possible. There is at no additional cost to the homeowner for the installation of these outside reading devices.
The Water Service Division is also presently converting older style remote readers over to a newer type. This will help with our new computerized reading system.
For appointments call (248) 246 - 3160, or for additional information regarding your water service, please call the Royal Oak Water Service Division at 246-3300 (M-F, 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM).
Address: 1600 N Campbell Rd.
Attention: Residential Lawn Sprinkling Backflow Devices (May 2009)
The City of Royal Oak's Water Department is continuing the inspection of residential lawn sprinkling systems throughout the city for the purpose of protecting the drinking water that is delivered to each customer. This is accomplished by assuring proper backflow devices are in place and in proper working order to prevent contaminants from back flowing into the water system. This is required by the Cross Connection Rules of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). As a result, residential lawn sprinkling system backflow devices will be required to be tested and certified by a State certified tester. The new Cross Connection Rules Manual Fourth Edition of October 2008 has changed the test from at least once every five (5) years to at least once every three (3) years. A list of Michigan State certified testers may be picked up at the Royal Oak Department of Public Service 1600 N. Campbell Rd.. We recommend that you contact at least three testers to find your best price for the test. Should you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact the City's contractor, Hydro Design, Ryan Hensley, 248-250-5026.
Cross Connection F.A.Q. - Frequently Asked Questions:
WHAT IS A CROSS-CONNECTION?
A cross-connection is a connection of a potable water system to a non-potable system or a system of questionable water quality.
WHAT IS BACKFLOW?
Backflow, within the context of the drinking water industry, means the reversal of water flow from its normal or intended direction of flow. Whenever a water utility connects a customer to its water distribution system, the intention is for the water to flow from the distribution system to the customer. However, it is possible, and quite common, for the flow to be reversed and the flow from the customer's plumbing system can back up into the public water distribution system. If cross-connections exist within the user's plumbing system when backflow occurs then it is possible to contaminate the public water system.
WHAT CAUSES BACKFLOW?
Backflow may occur simply because the public water system lost pressure. Backflow, reversal of flow from its normal direction, is usually caused by a backpressure or backsiphonage is a condition that manifests itself when the water pressure within an establishment's plumbing system exceeds that of the water distribution system supplying it. This backpressure might be caused by a difference in elevation, by a pump, by a steam boiler, or by other means.
Backpressure or Backsiphonage may occur when the water pressure within the distribution system falls below that of the plumbing system it is supplying. This might happen due to a fire department pumper truck pumping water out of the distribution system faster than the water treatment plant equipment can replace it. Also, the water rushing downhill due to a broken water main might create a partial vacuum on some plumbing systems connected in the vicinity of the break and cause a backsiphonage or perhaps, simply flushing the water pipes to clean them may cause this phenomenon.
HOW DOES THE WATER DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM BECOME CONTAMINATED?
Where backflow occurs and cross-connections are present you have all of the necessary elements for contamination of the plumbing system and subsequently contamination of the public water system:
Backflow occurrence = link + force
Backflow occurrence = cross-connection + backpressure or backsiphonage
For example, suppose an automatic lawn sprinkler system is spraying a lawn when all of a sudden a backsiphonage occurs due to a fire truck pumping water or water rushing from a broken water main. The resulting backflow from the lawn sprinkler system will flow into the plumbing system and then into the water distribution system. As the water backflows it can suck contamination into the lines through the sprinkler heads, such as insects, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizer, worms, and other contaminants. Once in the distribution lines the contamination could go anywhere in the public water system.
CAN CROSS-CONNECTIONS BE HAZARDOUS?
Yes, in the old days many disease epidemics were caused by cross-connections between potable water systems and raw river water or lake water piping systems. Epidemics of typhoid and cholera were often caused by backflow occurrences from these sources. People died or were very ill. A few of the contaminants caused by cross-connections are:
untreated river, sea or lake water, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, propane gas, worm treatment for poultry, boiler water with chemicals, anti-freeze, blood and body fluids from funeral homes, chemicals, water from car washes, dyes, sewage, freon, worms, heavy metals such as arsenic, petrochemicals, water from flush toilets, bacteria cultures from laboratories, and others.
This is only a partial list of documented cases of potable water contamination by virtue of cross-connections and backflow occurrences. They still happen everyday, somewhere.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PREVENT CONTAMINATION OF OUR PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS DUE TO CROSS-CONNECTIONS?
Modern technology has provided us with new tools to prevent backflow from non-potable sources into our public water systems. They are called backflow prevention assemblies; reduced pressure (RP) or double check valve (DC)-type. Unlike the older accepted, non-testable, hardware for preventing backflow such as swing check valves, dual check valves and atmospheric vacuum breakers (which still have their applications), the RP and DC-type backflow prevention assemblies are testable to assure they are in proper working order. Placed at the site of the cross-connection they can protect the plumbing system from contamination. Placed just downstream of a water meter to an establishment, they can protect the public water system from any contamination that may occur within the entire establishment's plumbing system.