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


Contact Us | Disclaimers | Copyright © 1999 - 2016 City of Royal Oak | Login
211 S Williams Street, Royal Oak MI, 48067, Ph. 248-246-3000