Access to water services is critical for any new home or commercial property. Water service includes access to the city water distribution system and sewer service, necessary for the function of many essential amenities: toilets, sinks, showers, bathtubs, tankless hot water heaters, and more.
Whether you have moved into a new home, built a new property, or obtained management rights to a new building in Michigan, a licensed plumbing contractor such as Delta Plumbing & Mechanical can help you connect the new location to the municipal water and sewer mains and start water service on your new property.
Eligibility to Water Services
If your residential or commercial property is new or recently built, you need to establish a new connection to your local water mains and sewer service network.
Typically, water service installation should begin after obtaining a connection to the electrical grid. With electricity services enabled, Delta Plumbing & Mechanical certified and licensed plumbers can plug in their power tools and conduct work on your property. If you don’t yet have access to electricity on your property, consider resolving this first.
Only the responsible payee (typically the property owner or authorized property manager) can start the water service application process in Michigan. Renters and tenants must contact their landlord and obtain a written authorization to install the services in their name.
If you are eligible, prepare the following documentation:
- A valid photo identity, such as a passport or driver’s license, or federal tax ID number
- If you are the property owner: A valid proof of ownership of the concerned property such as a copy of the deed, purchase agreement, or settlement statement documentation
- If you are an authorized property manager: A valid management agreement listing the property address and signed by both yourself and the owner, plus the owner’s ID and proof of ownership
Once you have the requisite documentation, contact your city or township’s city offices or water department to request a water service extension to your property. Each locality has its own service application forms, processes, and complete instructions to follow.
Public Water System
Once your locality has reviewed and approved your application, your city hall will install a water meter in your property’s basement. If you don’t have a basement, the city will install an outside meter box (also called a ford box). In both cases, your city will not activate water services on your property until after the water meter has been installed.
If the city has not yet installed water extension lines under the streets near your property (for example, if you live in housing in new development projects), they will need to install public service pipes. Depending on your locality and proximity to existing lines, the laying of new public utility pipes may take anywhere between a few days to a few weeks.
Water meters track your property’s water usage and calculate your billable charges by measuring the flow of water diverted from the mains to your property. Each water meter has a specific size and corresponding flow capacity, ranging from ⅝” to 60”, depending on the property’s water needs.
For example, single-family homes typically use ⅝” and ¾” meters, while denser residential properties usually need 1”, 1.5”, or 2” meters. Larger sizes are reserved for commercial and industrial buildings and properties with high water usage requirements.
In Michigan, responsible payees must pay quarterly water and sewer service bills, so you will receive four bills for water usage per year.
Specific city water costs and sewer usage rates are separately calculated and vary depending on your location. Both rates are calculated in Mille cubic feet (Mcf) consumed (1 Mcf equals 1,000 cubic feet). Contact your local city or township’s water department if you want to know the current charges and water usage rates.
For example, if your property is in Detroit, as of May 2022, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) water rates are $26.60 per Mcf, and the disposal rates (sewer charges) are $57.06 per Mcf. These costs do not include additional charges for water services, such as meter service charges, the broken seal charge, or drainage charges.
Connecting Your Private Plumbing to the City Water Supply
The city is responsible for ensuring the proper operation of its service lines, including providing high water quality and repairing any damaged or broken water main pipes.
However, municipal water service lines and water meters are not directly installed on each property. Instead, the water mains typically run along the length of at least one street adjacent to your property without crossing the private property boundary.
It is the property owner’s responsibility to make the necessary arrangements to connect their building to the public water system. If there is no water lead or a similar city-installed water service connection near the property line, the property owner is also responsible for installing one.
It is illegal to conduct any kind of plumbing work without a valid and current plumbing contractor license in Michigan. You will need the services of a professional with plumbing permits to connect the public system to your residential or commercial property, therefore creating a private plumbing connection.
Delta Plumbing & Mechanical is a licensed plumbing contractor with the expertise and equipment you need. Our skilled team can establish a connection between your private property and the public lines anywhere in Michigan, laying the necessary pipes, leads, plumbing fixtures, and additional requirements according to the specifications stated in the city plumbing code.
Private Plumbing Specifications
Since the Safe Drinking Water Act became law in 2018, Michigan law specifies that all water delivered through service lines must be potable and lead-free to protect building residents from lead exposure. So, lead pipes and pipe joints are being phased out for more water-safe alternatives, such as copper or PVC pipe materials.
The types of water lines Delta Plumbing & Mechanical use to connect your new property to the water mains may be metal like galvanized steel or copper pipes, or plastic (PEX, CPVC, or PVC pipe material). The average pipe size ranges from 6” to 16”, depending on the type and size of your property.
Another critical specification is the frost line. Michigan residents experience cold to freezing temperatures during the winter, with average values ranging between 17°F and 30°F in the coldest months.
The average frost line depth in most of Michigan is approximately 42”. Plumbing contractors must install private water lines at a safe depth under the frost line to prevent freezing and bursting during the winter and avoid costly plumbing repairs.
According to the Michigan Plumbing Code requirements, water service and building sewer pipes must be installed at a minimum of 6” below the frost line. Delta Plumbing & Mechanical can install your pipes at the recommended depth of 48” unless your local city plumbing code recommends a higher depth due to a deeper frost line.
Contact Delta Plumbing & Mechanical for New Private Plumbing
Delta Plumbing & Mechanical is a leader in the plumbing industry with over 25 years of experience working for customers across the Great Lake State. Our team of trained and licensed plumbing contractors is fully insured, holds current Michigan plumbing permits, and is qualified to work on any residential or commercial plumbing project.
If you own, manage, or operate a newly built property, and need a connection to your local city or township’s water mains, Delta Plumbing & Mechanical can help you, regardless of the building footprint.
Contact our customer service team today for a free estimate on your water service installation project.