Detroit Water and Sewerage Department prepared to respond to increase in water main breaks due to continued frigid temperatures

  • DWSD offers tips to residents and businesses, notably to avoid a flooded street
  • Staffing and contractors in place to respond to increase in emergency water main and fire hydrant repairs
  • Public is asked to call DWSD at 313-267-8000 when they encounter standing, running or gushing water on streets and outside of properties

With continued low temperatures in the single digits through the weekend, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) has employees assigned to respond to water main and fire hydrant repair assignments as an increase in breaks is occurring and likely to continue. DWSD has also put its contractors and subcontractors on notice in the event additional resources are needed.

When there are extreme changes in temperatures–hot or cold–the likelihood of the expansion and contracting causing a water main break increases, especially in aging infrastructure. In February 2019, DWSD had 232 water main breaks, and in February 2020, it had 224 water main breaks.

DWSD offers the following tips to residents and businesses:

  • When you encounter standing, running or gushing water on a street, call the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department immediately at 313-267-8000.
  • Avoid driving through standing water.
  • Drive the appropriate speed for the current weather conditions – sliding into fire hydrants can cause damage and may put it temporarily out-of-service.
  • Keep your thermostat at 67 degrees or more in order to protect your indoor plumbing during extreme cold temperatures.
    • Make certain the area near your water meter has suitable heat in order to help avoid a burst pipe.
  • If you own/manage a vacant building with the water service on and the heat is off, DWSD urges you to call 313-267-8000 to have the water shut off to avoid a potential pipe bursting.
  • If a pipe bursts in your home, call DWSD at 313-267-8000 to request a temporary turn-off of your water service to reduce the water damage to your home then call a licensed
  • Stay clear of standing water in your basement if the area includes electrical appliance(s), outlets and/or a fuse box.

The public may report a potential water main break, street flooding and standing or bubbling water by reporting through the Improve Detroit mobile app or call DWSD at 313-267-8000.

DWSD staff and contractors continue to adhere to CDC and Detroit Health Department guidelines during the COVID-19 Pandemic, including wearing masks and social distancing. Staff and contractors must also complete a daily health screening and temperature check. DWSD respectfully asks the public when encountering our technicians in the neighborhoods to also please wear a mask and practice social distancing.

DWSD is in year three of a five-year, half-a-billion-dollar capital improvement program to begin to address the City’s aging water and sewer system. Projects include neighborhood-wide upgrades in Cornerstone Village and North Rosedale Park, sewer upgrades in the Barton-McFarland neighborhood, and a major stormwater management project on Oakman Boulevard, to name a few.