Over the next five years, the city of Detroit plans to spend $500 million upgrading aging water and sewer systems that have gone largely neglected for decades. This is music to the ears of many residents.
This is the first major upgrade to the city’s infrastructure since 1930. The city’s Water and Sewage Department is changing how it’s going to tackle these upgrades: assessing needs neighborhood by neighborhood instead of continuing its largely reactionary approach.
The city wants to improve the reliability of its water mains and reduce flooding. Most infrastructure has been in place for more than 80 years.
This five-year plan started last year by improving 25 miles of water mains, lined 22 miles of sewer pipes and replaced 173 lead lines. The work completed last year was the most infrastructure improvement work in the city in 15 years.
For 2020, the city plans to replace or improve 29 miles of water mains totaling $38 million, 19 miles of sewer lining for $18 million and begin a water main replacement and green stormwater infrastructure project totaling $8 million.
It’s important to stay ahead of aging infrastructures and the havoc they may wreak. State and local government should look at options to achieve better outcomes. Informing residents and business owners about infrastructure conditions and proposed improvements will ensure they stay in the know and can serve as advocates in the future.