Print this page
WATER MAIN BREAKS
SEWER BACK UP CLAIMS
LEAD & COPPER TESTING
Sign up today - it's fast, easy, and free!
NOTE: Registration requires a newly-assigned AquaHawk PIN - published on all water bills from June 2018 onward. If you haven't yet received your bill, contact the Utility Billing Department at 248.530.1830 for assistance.
The Water and Sewer division of the Department of Public Services maintains water- and sewer-related infrastructure throughout Birmingham, and responds 24/7 to emergencies, including sewer back-ups and water main breaks. This division installs and repairs water meters, service taps, fire hydrants, among other tasks.
Water Main Breaks
The Department of Public Services wants residents to know water main breaks are more likely to happen during the winter, especially when temperatures are below freezing. As the water line in the soil under the pavement freezes and thaws, it creates pressure on the mains which could cause them to break. In the event of a water main break on your street, keep this information in mind:
- Use caution, as winter water main breaks create the possibility of icy conditions on roadways.
- You may experience a temporary water shut off. When water is restored after a shut off, it may appear rust colored. If you experience rust colored water, please note the condition does not pose a health problem. Run the cold water in your home until the water runs clear.
- The best way to stay informed about a water main break in your neighborhood is by signing up for the Citywide Email System at www.bhamgov.org/citywideemail.
Sewer Backup Claims
WRC Sewer Backup Overview
Download the Water Resources Commissioner (WRC) Sewer Backup brochure for helpful information about sewer backups.
In January 2002, a new Michigan law on municipal liability for basement flooding went into effect. Public Act 222 of 2001 requires claimants seeking compensation for physical injury or property damage as a result of a sewer-disposal or storm-water-system event to show:
- the City's sewage-disposal system had a defect;
- the City knew, or reasonable should have known, about the defect;
- the City did not remedy the defect in a reasonable time;
- the defect caused the event and the property damage or physical injury;
- the claimant owns, and has shown the value of, any damaged personal property;
- and the claimant notified the City.
Claimants must comply with statutory notice requirements. A claimant who has been injured or has suffered property damage as a result of a sewage-disposal-system event must provide written notice of the event within 45 days after the date the damage or physical injury was discovered. The written notice must contain the claimant's name, address, telephone number, the address of the affected property, the date of discovery of any property damage or physical injury, and a brief description of the claim. Failure to provide proper notice may bar the claim.
For additional information and forms, please visit our Risk Management webpage
The above summarizes Public Act 222, which should be consulted for a full description of a claimant's rights and duties. To review or download the law, go to www.michiganlegislature.org (then click “Public Acts”, then fill in the blanks with “222” and “2001” in the Public Act search).
The City’s Department of Public Services has prepared a self-diagnostic guide to help homeowners determine whether they have a leak. For additional water meter questions, please call 248-530-1530.
Lead and Copper Testing
In accordance with the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act and rules promulgated by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the city conducts semi-annual testing for lead and copper at sampling locations throughout the city. Recently, the number of required site sampling locations has increased as a result of state-wide rule changes.
In order to build a sampling pool to meet the new requirements, volunteers are needed. Individual results will be provided to each participant. There is no cost to participate.
Note: Applications are no longer being accepted for this program. Selected participants will be notified at a later date. Thank you for your interest and assistance in this important matter.