Water and Sewer System Infrastructure
The City of Royal Oak operates a water and sewer system which includes the functions of water distribution, sanitary sewer disposal, and storm sewer and drainage. Each of those functions is described below:
The City of Royal Oak purchases its drinking water from the Southeast Oakland County Water Authority (SOCWA) which purchases water wholesale from the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) and distributes it to SOCWA’s 11 member communities. GLWA operates the largest water system in the State of Michigan and supplies water to roughly four million people. Rate increases are primarily due to new and rehabilitative projects that are completed under the GLWA Capital Improvement Programs. GLWA rates reflect energy costs to maintain water pumps, water mains, and storage tanks necessary to transport water to our community.
Water production is costly. Aging water and wastewater treatment systems must be maintained and replaced to ensure reliable service. The City of Royal Oak owns and maintains approximately 220 miles of water mains and approximately 2,200 fire hydrants.
Water projects are flexible, allowing for the addition of different improvements to address specific needs without deferring other projects along the way. Projects included in this category are funded by the City’s Water and Sewer Fund, which is financed through user rates and connection fees.
The City of Royal Oak purchases sewage disposal services from Oakland County Water Resources Commission (OCWRC), and in turn, contracts with GLWA for the treatment of sewage. The City sewage passes through the George W. Kuhn Sewage Disposal System. The City of Royal Oak Water & Sewer Fund
and the Oakland County Water Resources Commission are both not “for profit” entities and therefore rates are intended and required to only cover costs.
The development of the proposed sanitary sewer projects was based upon system deficiencies and needs obtained from area residents, business owners, and City staff. These projects are coordinated with storm water management, roadway, and pathway improvements to maximize cost savings through economies of scale, resulting in a more effective and efficient process to implement the construction projects.
The proposed sanitary sewer projects are flexible, allowing for the addition of improvements to address specific needs without deferring other projects along the way. Studies and analysis of the existing system is an on‐going program that, coupled with new technologies, provides for improved system capabilities and reliability.
Sanitary sewer projects identified as urgent are not subject to the rating/weighting scale required of the standard capital improvement process. Projects included in this category are funded by the City’s Water and Sewer Fund, which is financed through user rates and connection fees.
Storm Sewer & Drainage
The City of Royal Oak is located within the Clinton River Watershed. Royal Oak is committed to protecting the water courses downstream of the community.
As development occurs, the additional impervious surface area impacts the effective drainage of these flows, driving the need for drainage infrastructure. The City partners with the development community to ensure that onsite drainage issues are addressed through stormwater detention during the development process.
The City’s Capital Improvement Program addresses regional drainage issues through the drainage projects contained herein. Drainage projects are funded by user fees, Act 51 road funding and other sources for constructing, improving, and maintaining drain, storm water, and flood control systems in the City of Royal Oak.