Water Maintenance

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
1954 photo of Well House #1 located at 4715 Cooper

Water Questions and Answers (FAQ)

QuestionWhy 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. Residents should run the cold water faucet closet to the meter (usually located in the basement) for 10-15 seconds. If the water isn't clear, please wait 30-45 minutes and try again. Repeat process until clear. Please do not run hot water or do any wash while water is discoloerd. 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".

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211 S Williams Street, Royal Oak MI, 48067, Ph. 248-246-3000