Water Service

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:

  • 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 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 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, to inquire about your water bill or to change service call (248) 246 - 3160. 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. Should you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact the City's contractor, HydroCorp, Ryan Hensley, 248-250-5000.

Cross Connection F.A.Q. - Frequently Asked Questions:


A cross-connection is a connection of a potable water system to a non-potable system or a system of questionable water quality.


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.


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, 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.


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.


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.


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.

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