Water & Sewer Upgrades: Cornerstone Village

Information on Water & Sewer Upgrades in Cornerstone Village.

As part of its $500 million program to upgrade the city’s aging water and sewer infrastructure, the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department (DWSD) invested $44.3 million into Cornerstone Village and North Rosedale Park, which followed condition assessments and DWSD’s master plan. The funding for the Capital Improvement Program leverages the funds DWSD receives through its 40-year lease with the Great Lakes Water Authority. 

Improvements made in each neighborhood included:

  • Replacement of water mains and fire hydrants.
  • Replacement and lining of city sewer pipes.
  • Replacement of lead service lines with copper pipes where they existed on blocks where water mains were being replaced. While a portion of the service lines are on private property, DWSD replaced them at its own cost.

The projects started in May 2020 and were completed in April 2023.

View construction updates provided in the documents on the bottom of this page.


“This is one more way we are investing in our neighborhoods and our residents,” said Mayor Duggan. “Not only are we spending more money on infrastructure improvements, our Civil Rights, Inclusion & Opportunity department will be monitoring these projects to ensure the contractors are hiring at least 51% Detroit residents and contributing to our workforce training fund if they are unable to meet that requirement.”

Through the Executive Order 2016-1, the contractors were required tohave at least 51 percent of the hours worked by Detroit residents on DWSD construction projects. The DWSD Capital Improvement Program Management Organization (CIPMO) has designed a contractor outreach program to engage more Detroit-based contractors and partner with them to hire Detroiters for DWSD work. 

More neighborhoods slated for improvements
DWSD Director Gary Brown said this is the first time in DWSD’s history to plan water and sewer upgrades at the same time by neighborhood, supported by comprehensive data. To date, DWSD has assessed the water and sewer systems in 12 neighborhoods, with the first combined projects starting in Cornerstone Village and North Rosedale Park.

As part of the neighborhood approach, 236 miles of water main and 226 miles of sewer were assessed since 2018 by DWSD and its contractors.

Additional neighborhood assessments were done by DWSD in Brewster Douglass, Brightmoor, Jefferson Chalmers, Miller Grove, Minock Park, New Center Commons, Piety Hill, Rosedale Park (south), Riverdale and Virginia Park. The results of the assessments are being reviewed and designs are underway for the infrastructure that needs rehabilitation.

Improved neighborhood outreach
Prior to construction beginning, DWSD performed extensive outreach with Cornerstone Village and North Rosedale Park. It sent three neighborhood-wide mailings, held and participated in at least six community meetings in each neighborhood, and distributed lead service line replacement program packets on the doors of where water main replacement took place.

In addition to the pre-construction outreach efforts, DWSD distributed at least three door hanger notifications to each impacted customer, which included temporary service outage notice in advance, e-mail blasts for those who subscribed to notifications, targeted social media updates including on Nextdoor, and on-site outreach throughout the project.

Needs assessment establishes priorities
Launched in June 2019, the five-year, $500 million DWSD Capital Improvement Program (CIP) addresses the need to improve water and sewer systems’ reliability. Previously the department solely used the frequency of water main breaks and water-in-basement complaints to drive the strategy. This led to projects being done across the city without a cohesive plan for a neighborhood. Now, DWSD assesses the condition of the water and sewer infrastructure and develops a plan for rehabilitating those systems, which takes into account other public or private investments to a neighborhood. Factors such as the probability of a failure (e.g., breaks, sinkholes, etc.), as well as the consequence of failure (e.g., near a school or hospital, the risk is higher) are also included to prioritize the capital work strategy.

Based on the condition assessments in Cornerstone Village and North Rosedale Park, only those needed for repair, replacement or lining were included in the two projects. Nearly 54,800 linear feet (approx. 10.4 miles) of water main were replaced or lined, and more than 71,000 linear feet (approx. 13.5 miles) of sewer collection pipe were repaired, lined or replaced. Lead service lines were also replaced.