Public Service

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.

Highway Division: (248)246-3300; Signage, street maintenance, street painting, snow emergencies (248-246-3442), 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.

Water Service Division: (248)246-3300; Meter readings, investigating high water usage, new meters, possible water leaks, cross-connect inspections, water quality reports, etc.

Yard Waste Guidelines


The Electrical Division is responsible for all traffic signals installed on City of Royal Oak maintained roadways.

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 lights installed in the Central Business District and on major roadways throughout the city.

Electrical maintenance of the city's facilities is also a responsibility of this division as well as providing electrical power for various special events.


Royal Oak Public Service Dept.: 248-246-3300 (M-F, 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM)

Address: 1600 N Campbell Rd

Reporting Street Light Outages to DTE


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  crosswalks, parking lots, and intersection markings (enterline and lane designation is done by a contractor). 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



Snow Emergency Information

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 in effect for the City of Royal Oak, all vehicles on residential streets are to be removed or will be ticketed and/or 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 Records Bureau at 248-246-3530, 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 plowed and/or 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 plowed and/or 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.

Motor Pool

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, 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 263 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.

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: 248-246-3328 (M-F, 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM)

Address: 1600 N Campbell Rd



Parks and Forestry

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 several City buildings, and some 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 along with the Recreation Department.

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, 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, 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 from a variety of trees through the city's Department of Public Service once a year at prices lower than area nurseries.

Please call the Department of Public Service at (248) 246-3300 before the end of January to have a flyer sent. 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 and trees are not guaranteed.

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.


Listing of City Parks


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 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.

Recycle bin

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 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.

It pays to Recycle = $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.


  • Foam cups & containers.  Cups do not need to be rinsed but must by empty.
  • Foam egg cartons.
  • Rinsed, single-layer, non-perforated foam meat trays.
  • Foam food trays/lunch trays.  Must be rinsed off ~ NO food remnants.
  • Most packaging foam:  molded forms & shapes.

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.

     ***    ***    ***      ***


SOCRRA residents can bring yard waste/Christmas trees (with nothing attached/no plastic bags) for FREE between mid-Decemebr and March 31.

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 of leaves, grass or brush to SOCRRA, located at 995 Coolidge at no charge between mid-December 22, 2014 – March 31.  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 in April.  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:  248-288-5150    - 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:

Backyard Composting

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.

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

  • Compost piles must be contained in an enclosed bin. Please avoid using wood structures. Wood is an attractive home for rodents. Sources for compost bins:
    - Over 100 different types of bins at various prices
    - Retail stores such as Bordine’s, Smith & Hawkin, most lawn and garden centers
    - Hardware stores for materials such as chicken wire
    - Check here for information on how to build your own wire-mesh holding unit
  • Improper compost piles may be ordered to be removed if they cause odor, pest/rodent nuisances or are not in a proper bin. Following the guidelines below on how to build and maintain your pile will help to avoid this.
  • Please avoid composting any food items. Again, not properly composting food items can also cause potential problems.


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)
Diseased plants
Weeds gone to seed
Charcoal ashes or briquets


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

Composting Mixture

  1. Start with a layer of brush or branches
  2. Add layers of leaves, grass clippings, and soil, then repeat
  3. As you build the pile, dampen layers with water. Keep the pile as damp as a wrung out sponge.
  4. Turn pile from time to time. Could be once a week, or once a month depending on how much you want to do it.

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:

  • Speeds up decomposition
  • Can help to alleviate some odors

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:

  1. Saves you time and effort
  2. Reduces the need for fertilizer
  3. Saves you money
  4. Protects the environment

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.


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 Bin

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.


  • at least a 10-foot length of 36-inch-wide 1-inch galvanized chicken wire or
  • at least a 10-foot length of ½-inch-wide hardware cloth (Note: The maximum bin diameter for a given length of chicken wire is the length of chicken wire divided by 3.14)
  • heavy wire for ties
  • three or four 4-foot-tall wooden or metal posts
    (for chicken wire bin)


  • heavy-duty wire or tin snips
  • pliers
  • hammer
    (for chicken wire bin)
  • metal file
    (for hardware cloth bin)
  • work gloves

    Wire Mess Bin Picture

Building a Wire-Mesh Holding Unit Using Chicken Wire

  1. Fold back 3 to 4 inches of wire at each end of the cut piece to provide a strong, clean edge that will not poke or snag, and that will be easy to latch.
  2. Stand the wire in a circle and set in place for the compost pile.
  3. Cut the heavy wire into lengths for ties. Attach the ends of the chicken wire together with the wire ties, using pliers.
  4. Space wood or metal posts around the inside of the chicken-wire circle. Holding the posts tightly against the wire, pound them firmly into the ground to provide support.

Building a Wire-mesh Holding Unit Using Hardware Cloth

  1. Trim the ends of the hardware cloth so that the wires are flush with a cross wire to get rid of edges that could poke or scratch hands. Lightly file each wire along the cut edge to ensure safe handling when opening and closing the bin.
  2. Bend the hardware cloth into a circle, and stand it in place for the compost pile.
  3. Cut the heavy wire into lengths for ties. Attach the ends of the hardware cloth together with the wire ties, using pliers.

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.

Cardboard Preparation

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!!


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”) – which is 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/electronics 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!!

Christmas Tree Collection

City of Royal Oak - Christmas Trees will be collected curbside for recycling  on your regular trash day by a private chipping contractor. Please place tree at the curb by 7:00am without decorations, lights, stands, and plastic bags or the tree will be left until corrected.


YardWaste Guide

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 propoerly prepared 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 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 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 facing the street, or paper landscape bags (no decal on bags). Plastic bags are not allowed.

Yard Waste Will Not Be Picked Up If:

  • It is in an unacceptable container.
  • It has regular trash mixed in or woody material larger than 2" in diameter.
  • It weighs over 50 lbs or is a container larger than 32 gallons.
  • It is in a plastic bag. Plastic bags can no longer be used at any time for any yard waste.
  • The yard waste decal is not facing the street.

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:

Pick-up Starts
April 1

- Pay Tags are no longer needed -


Yard waste pick-up starts April 1st.

Spring Clean Up

  • Decal needed for can, free at municipal buildings. Decal MUST
    face the street.
  • No plastic bags.
  • Put yard waste in acceptable containers: either brown paper bag or 32 gallon container with decal. no pay tags required
  • Yard waste must be out by 7 a.m.
  • Do not mix trash with yard waste or it will be left at the curb.

Yard waste pick-up ends mid Dec.

Fall Clean Up

  • Continue to put yard waste in acceptable containers.
  • No plastic bags.
  • Yard Waste Pick-up ends mid  December.
  • Yard Waste in a limited amount (10 bags per day) may be taken to SOCRRA at no charge from mid-December through March. Yard waste in plastic bags will not be accepted at SOCRRA.

For leaves, use the City's Leaf Vacuum Program. Call 248-246-3300, press 5, then 1, for more information. Or check the City's website, WROK, or Insight Newsletter.

Yard waste pay tags are no longer needed.

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 the City's recommended contractor for details and costs. The City's recommended contractor is:

J H Hart

How to Reduce Yard Waste

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.

  • Adds nitrogen from clippings to the soil
  • Cuts fertilizer use by 30% or more.

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.

Other Options

  • Add low-maintenance plant beds and groundcovers, slow-growth bushes, decks, walkways and borders to your yard to reduce lawn area.
  • Use Shredded leaves and grass clippings as mulches to control weeds, conserve moisture and reduce soil erosion:
    • place 1" to 2" layer on wet newspaper between vegetable/flower rows
    • sprinkle 1" layer around bushes, tree base
    • work into garden soil
  • Add shredded leaves and grass to your compost pile.
  • Shred leaves into lawn with mulching mower; adds nutrients and does not hurt the lawn.

Home Composting

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.

Compost Benefits

  • Improves soil structure
  • Encourages root growth
  • Aerates & adds nutrients to the soil

Ideal Ratio

50% Leaves (carbon)
25% Grass (nitrogen)
25% Soil + Water

Ideal Composting Ratio

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

Questions? Call (248)288-5150. You can also check here for information on Backyard Composting. Thank You!


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. 1-866-772-8900, email:

General Regulations

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


Please Note:

  • The refuse collector is not allowed to reach into any container to dislodge contents.
  • Undersized containers (20 gallons and under) will be considered expendable and will be thrown out with the regular rubbish.

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 (20 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. Yard waste will be left and tagged until issue is resolved. Once corrected, yard waste will be collected on your next scheduled day.

Click here for Detailed Yard Waste Guidelines

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 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 without root system 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 and will be taken with the trash. 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


Appliances, large metal items

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. Residents may also 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 and click on Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics. NO APPOINTMENT is necessary. Hours are M, T, Th, F 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m; W 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m. to Attendant will verify residency.

Carpeting & Padding

Roll and tie securely (with either duct tape or twine) into bundles 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.

Broken Glass/Mirror

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.

Whole Glass/Mirror

Put in old sheet/blanket, break glass and discard sheet with broken glass in cardboard box or metal can (marked as broken glass) or put in flattened cardboard box and tape all edges closed. Mark as glass/mirror. Set out with regular refuse. DO NOT put broken glass with recycling.

Glass Doors/Windows

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.

Excluded Curbside Items

There are certain items that are NOT acceptable for curbside collection:

• Asbestos insulation
• Engines
• Explosives
• Flammable products
• Infectious materials
• Liquids
• Light Bulbs; Flourescent & CFL
• Hazardous waste (see Below)
  • Radioactive items
• Tree stumps
• Tires
• Transmissions
• Rear Axles
• Loose items: Bricks, concrete (even if attached to something), sod or dirt

These materials must be disposed of privately. See 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.

Electronics Recycling

S.O.C.R.R.A. handles electronics recycling including computers, CPUs, radios, routers and more. For more information,

No appontment is necessary. Hours are M, T, Th, F 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m; W 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m. to

This service is available to ANY resident or business regardless of address.


Household Hazardous Materials

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. Containers will not be returned.

For a list of hazardzous household waste materials visit:

No appontment is necessary. Hours are M, T, Th, F 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m; W 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m. to

See attendant for drop-off. They will check residency.

(Only S.O.C.R.R.A. residents may dispose of hazardous waste - no businesses.)

Please call S.O.C.R.R.A. at 248-288-5150 for further details or visit


Holiday Interruptions

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.

    New Years Day
    Memorial Day
    Independence Day
    Labor Day
    Thanksgiving (delayed Thursday & Friday only **)
    Christmas Day

    ** 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.


  • 248-288-5150 - For answers about dropoff, recycling, preparation of materials, hours of operation and fees.
  • The SOCRRA facility is located at 995 Coolidge Highway between 14 and 15 Mile Roads, across from the Meijer gas station.

[file] acceptable-household-waste.pdf02/26/13 8:13 am93.8 KB

Collection Schedule

Collections occur between the hours of 7am and 6pm

Click here for printable map and schedule (593 kb pdf)

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

Refuse Collection Area - Mondays
Monday Area

Refuse Collection Area -
Tuesday Area

Refuse Collection Area -
Wednesday Area

Refuse Collection Area -
Thursday Area

Refuse Collection Area - Fridays
Friday Area

Leaf Collection Help

The City needs your help with smooth leaf collections

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.

No Street Parking

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.

Please Help

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.

Where They Go

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.

Other Ways of Disposal

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.


  • Plastic bags are no longer acceptable for yard waste, including leaves. Please use the appropriate containers.
  • Please be patient and considerate. Don't rake leaves just ahead of the crews and expect
    them to wait until you're done. Work with your neighbors to remove
    parked cars from the streets. Together we can be partners and make this process a complete success!
  • Residents are requested to rake only leaves into the roadway in windrows, leaving 3"-4" at the curb for water drainage.
  • Do not make the rows larger than 3 feet high and 4 feet wide.
  • To help our workers, please do not put yard waste other than leaves in the street.
  • All sticks, rocks and other debris must be kept out of leaf piles.
  • Do not park your car on or near the leaves (Trucks need at least a "house length" after a parked car to get near the curb).
  • It is important not to wait until your scheduled day to rake out your leaves.
  • If the City does run ahead of schedule, a truck will be by on your regularly scheduled day.
  • Please park cars off the street. Work with your neighbors to make sure there are no parked cars on the street to get in the way of the trucks.
  • Residents should note that schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions, mechanical breakdowns or other factors beyond the City's control.

What to Do After Leaf Pickup

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 18, 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 21, 2015 and March 31, 2016 for disposal. Please call (248) 288-5150 for more information.


Tenative 2015 Curbside Leaf Collection Schedule

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. 

Please note clear/colored plastic bags are no longer acceptable for yard waste, including leaves; please use the appropriate container.

Check here for Additional Guidelines and Information regarding street parking, disposal of leaves outside of the schedule, and other important reminders

Week 1

Week 1 Area

  • 11/02/15: 11 Mile To 12 Mile - Woodward To Main
  • 11/03/15: 11 Mile To 12 Mile - Main To Campbell
  • 11/04/15: Lincoln To 11 Mile - Woodward To Campbell
  • 11/05/15: 10 Mile To Lincoln - West City Limits To Campbell
  • 11/06/15: 10 Mile To 12 Mile - Campbell To Stephenson


Week 2

Week 2 Area

  • 11/09/15: 12 Mile To 13 Mile - Main To Campbell
  • 11/10/15: 13 Mile To North City Limits - Main To Campbell
  • 11/11/15: 12 Mile To 13 Mile - Crooks To Main
  • 11/12/15: 12 Mile To 13 Mile - Woodward To Crooks
  • 11/13/15: 13 Mile To Normandy - Woodward To Main
  • 11/14/15: Webster To Normandy - Greenfield To Woodward (Saturday)


Week 3

Week 3 Area

  • 11/16/15: Normandy To N. City Limits - Greenfield To Crooks
  • 11/17/15: Catalpa To 12 Mile - Woodward To Main
  • 11/18/15: 11 Mile To Catalpa - Woodward To Main
  • 11/19/15: 11 Mile To Gardenia - Main To Campbell
  • 11/20/15: Gardenia To 12 Mile - Main To Campbell And 11 Mile
  • 11/20/15: To 12 Mile - Campbell To Stephenson


Week 4

Week 4 Area

  • 11/23/15: 10 Mile To 11 Mile - West City Limits To Main
  • 11/24/15: Lincoln To 11 Mile - Main To Campbell
  • 11/25/15: 10 Mile To 11 Mile - Campbell To Stephenson
  • 11/26/15: Happy Thanksgiving – No Collection
  • 11/27/15: 10 Mile To Lincoln - Main To Campbell


Week 5

Week 5 Area

  • 11/30/15: 12 Mile To 13 Mile - Rochester To Campbell
  • 12/01/15: 12 Mile To North City Limits - Main To Rochester
  • 12/02/15: 12 Mile To 13 Mile - Crooks To Main
  • 12/03/15: 12 Mile To Webster - Woodward To Crooks
  • 12/04/15: Webster To 13 Mile - Greenfield To Crooks


Week 6

Week 6 Area

  • 12/07/15: 13 Mile To 14 Mile - Greenfield To Woodward
  • 12/08/15: 13 Mile To 14 Mile - Woodward To Coolidge
  • 12/09/15: Normandy To North City Limits - Coolidge To Crooks
  • 12/10/15: 13 Mile To Normandy - Coolidge To Main
  • 12/11/15: 13 Mile To North City Limits - Rochester To Campbell


[file] week 1 Map.JPG09/02/15 10:04 am23.1 KB
[file] Week 2 Map.JPG09/02/15 10:04 am29.28 KB
[file] Week 3 Map.JPG09/02/15 10:03 am30.12 KB
[file] Week 4 Map.JPG09/02/15 10:03 am18.57 KB
[file] Week 5 Map.JPG09/02/15 10:03 am35.53 KB
[file] Week 6 Map.JPG09/02/15 10:03 am31.47 KB


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 (M-F 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.) 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 inspect 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. 

Miss Digs

- 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.

Miscellaneous Information

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.


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?

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.



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

  1. Drain all flood waters and/or sewage by natural draining or pumping.
  2. Remove dirt, soil and debris from surfaces that came in contact with the flood waters.
  3. Wash down all walls, floors and surfaces that the flood waters or sewage touched with clean, warm or hot water and a low suds detergent.
  4. Rinse again with warm or hot water.
  5. Sanitize by rinsing walls, floors and surfaces using one of the following mixtures:
    - 2 tablespoons (tbs) of Lysol/Pine-Sol per gallon of water used,
    - 8 tablespoons (tbs) of Laundry bleach (i.e. Clorox, Roman Cleanser) in each gallon of water used.
  6. Air the area by opening windows or using fans.
  7. Prevent tracking of flood debris and sewage into clean areas.


The following guidelines should be followed when entering a flooded area with gas and/or electric present: 

  1. Have the utility companies shut off the gas and electricity.
  2. Do not touch the fuse box or any plugged-in cords or appliances until the electricity is shut off. Touching these could result in electrocution.
  3. If an electrical appliance motor or controls is submerged under water, do not start it until consulting with the dealer or a service company.
  4. Do not re-light appliances until checked by the gas company. Make sure all pilot lights are on before re-lighting burners.
  5. Do not light matches until the gas is turned off. If there is a gas leak, it could cause an explosion.


Foods that are contaminated can make you and your family sick. They should be dealt with in the following manner:

  1. Destroy and discard all contaminated bottle and boxed foods.
  2. Canned goods (including home canned jars) may be kept if cleaned thoroughly.

    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).

  3. Food stored in a freezer will keep for 2 days after losing power, if the freezer is full (1 day for a half-full freezer) and not opened.
  4. If your freezer cannot be started in a day or two, store food in someone else's freezer.
  5. Meat that has ice crystals may safely be refrozen. If it is only "cool feeling" it is best to cook it, and then refreeze it.
  6. Food stored in a refrigerator will keep for 4-6 hours after losing power, depending on how warm it is in the kitchen. Do not open the refrigerator unless absolutely necessary. You may add ice to the refrigerator if you know it will be turned on soon.
  7. Throw out anything with an unusual color, odor, or if a perishable food is above 45 F internally.
  8. Place discarded food in a tightly closed container until pick up or disposal.

Clothing and Bedding

Clothing, carpets, furniture, toys and/or bedding should be discarded 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, 7:30 A.M. - 4:00 P.M. at 248-246-3300.

Address: 1600 N Campbell Rd


Water Maintenance and Water Service

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 changed.

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, which must be repaired or dug up and replaced. The Fire Department, also, monitors their condition; malfunctions are then reported to the Water Maintenance Division.

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 the Division is responsible.

Some of the functions of the Water Service Division are as follows:

  • Reading water meters for billing
  • Performing investigations on high water bills
  • 24-hour emergency call-out for leaking water meters
  • Installing new water meters
  • Investigating possible water service leaks
  • Cross - Connection inspections (contracted to HydroCorp, ( 248)-250-5000)

The Water Service Division, additionally, has a meter testing and replacement program.  The division is presently in the process of installing the outside reading devices where possible.  There is no additional cost to the homeowner for the installation of these outside reading devices.

The Water Service Division is presently converting older remote readers to a newer style as well. This will help with our new computerized reading system.

For appointments to inquire about your water bill or to change service call (248) 246-3610.  For additional information regarding your water service, please call the Royal Oak Water Service Division at (248) 246-3300 (M-F, 7:30 am – 4:00 pm).

1954 photo of Well House #1 located at 4715 Cooper
1954 photo of Well House #1 located at 4715 Cooper

Water Questions and Answers (FAQ)

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, hydrant flushing or Fire Department use, the mineral deposits that have accumulated within the interior of the water main get stirred up and become suspended particles, thus producing the discoloration in the water. This condition will not last. Residents should run the cold water faucet closest to the meter (usually located in the basement) for 10-15 seconds. If the water is not clear, please wait 30-45 minutes and try again. Repeat this process until clear. Please do not run hot water or do any wash while water is discolored. If the water does not clear in a reasonable amount of time, contact the Department of Public Service at (248) 248-3300.


Why do we occasionally have water rationing in the summer?

It is important that a minimum of 20 Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) is provided throughout our water distribution system in the occasion for the necessity to fight 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, ensuring appropriate water pressure for firefighting and public health.


What causes low water pressure?

High demand is the principal cause of low water pressure and usually occurs during the summer months. Additional causes that can contribute to low water pressure may be due to undetected broken water mains, broken water services, poor internal piping, particles in the screen of faucets, etc.


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 YES, the water is safe to drink. However, if you have concerns, you may boil the water prior to use.



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. It 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, a pump, a steam boiler or 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 may happen due to a fire department pumper truck as it needs to pump 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 the 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 became very ill as a result of these outbreaks. 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, somewhere, every day.


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.


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. Should you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact the City’s contractor, HydroCorp, Ryan Hensley at (248) 250-5000.

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 am – 4:00 pm 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 pm, 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”.