Water/Sewer Systems

The City operates and maintains three public utility systems:

  • Water System: The City purchases water wholesale from the City of Grand Rapids, which is then provided to residents through the EGR water distribution system.
  • Sanitary Sewer System:  Sanitary sewage is collected in the EGR collection system and treated by the City of Grand Rapids.
  • Storm Sewer System: A separate system from the sanitary sewer, storm sewer flow is directed into Reeds Lake, Fisk Lake or the Silver Creek Drain system, which ultimately drains into the Grand River

Any questions or concerns should be directed to the Public Works Department at 616-940-4870.

Water/Sewer Emergencies

Please call 616.940.4870 during normal business hours (M-F 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.). After hours and weekends please call 616.632.6100 Press 1 (Kent County Dispatch). They will dispatch on-call EGR DPW staff who will respond to investigate.

Property Owner Responsibilities 

Homeowner Responsibility Graphic

Sanitary Sewer Responsibilities

  • You are responsible for sanitary sewer lines from your home/structure to, and including, the connection to the City sanitary sewer main. (Shown in above graphic.)
  • If your sewer lateral fails under the street, you are responsible for the lateral’s repair and restoration of any infrastructure damage, such as sidewalks, curbs/gutters and the street.
  • Do not presume that your sewer lateral is in good condition just because wastewater flows down drains. EGR has many homes with old sewer laterals made of materials like clay, which can crack, break and leak easily. Due to this, it’s important to plan ahead and have your laterals regularly inspected by a licensed plumber and repaired by a licensed contractor.
  • Per the City’s sewer backup policy, property damage from sewer backups is not the responsibility of the City unless there is a defect in the construction or maintenance of the sewer system and the City was on notice to repair or replace, concurrent with Public Act 222 of 2001.
  • We strongly encourage you to check your sewer backup coverage with your insurance company. 

Water Service Responsibilities

  • You are responsible for the pipes that connect your home or business to the public water and sewer systems. This includes inspection, maintenance, repair and/or replacement if necessary.
  • You are responsible for water service lines from the shut off, which are typically located near the sidewalk or right of way. The City is responsible for water mains and the services from the main to the shut off (Shown in above graphic.)
  • If there is a leak on your side of a water service, you are responsible for the repair and should contact a licensed plumber. A permit from the City is required for replacement or repair of the water service.
  • We strongly encourage you to check your insurance coverage for water damage caused by a service leak or internal plumbing. The City is not responsible for private water service lines or damage caused to property by failed private water lines.

Protect Your Home Against Sanitary Sewer Backups

Take the following actions to protect against sanitary sewer backups:

  • Plan preventative maintenance ahead — don’t wait until your lateral fails. There are several methods to rehabilitate sewer laterals at a lower cost (cured in place pipe, using PVC pipe sleaving or pipe bursting and pulling HDPE pipe through the lateral). Contact a licensed contractor to explore your options. A permit is required for any lateral work.
  • Install a sanitary sewer backflow prevention device in your sanitary sewer lateral. Note, homes with footing drains connected to your sanitary sewer lateral will need to be disconnected prior to installing a sanitary backflow device.
  • Place a plug in your basement floor drain when it is not in use.
  • If your drain is used regularly, such as for a washing machine, consider installing a standpipe.
  • Regularly inspect your sanitary sewer lateral and maintain as needed.
Prevent Sanitary Sewer Backups!

Sewage is used water and waste discharged by residents and businesses. It is collected from the drains of sinks, showers, toilets and flows into the sanitary sewer collection system. The collection system then transports sewage to the Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility in the City of Grand Rapids.

Sewers back up when sewage collection lines get clogged by items flushed down toilets and drains, that should not be flushed, especially Fats, Rags, Oil and Grease (FROG) that get caught and can plug up lines. In addition to the costly repairs, sewer back-ups are messy, foul-smelling and pose a serious public health threat.

FROG disposed of down the toilet or drain can clog sewer collection systems, damage pumps in lift stations and damage sewer treatments facilities, which leads to sewage spills. These items also can contaminate the treated water that is discharged into the rivers, streams and groundwater.

Never flush the following items down the toilet or drain:

  • Disposable diapers and baby wipes, facial wipes, rags, cleaning or polishing wipes, kitty litter, paper towels, wipes (even ones that are labeled as flushable-they will flush but won't break down and cause backups) and hygiene products.
  • Cooking oil and grease, bacon grease, meat fats, food scraps, shortening, lard, butter, margarine, gravy and other food products such as mayonnaise, salad dressings and sour cream.
  • Acidic or toxic substances, including paint and paint thinners.
  • Motor oil.
  • Dye (hair and clothing) and tanning solutions.
  • Flammable products, such as lighter fluid and acetone.
  • Any solid waste that does not naturally break down, including garbage, plastic bags, hygiene products, flushable wipe (they flush-but do not break down and cause backups) 

When fats, oil or grease are poured down kitchen drains or flushed down toilets, it accumulates inside sewer pipes. As the material builds up, it restricts the flow in the pipes and can cause untreated wastewater to back up into homes and businesses, resulting in high cleanup and repair costs for residents, business owners and the City.


Please do the following:

  • Throw diapers, baby wipes, hygiene products, rags, cleaning wipes and paper towels in the trash.
  • Freeze small amounts of fats, oils and grease in a container with a tight-sealing lid and dispose of in trash.
  • Large amounts of cooking oil and grease need to be properly disposed of by utilizing grease traps and associated maintenance services (typically restaurant businesses).
  • Use a strainer in your sink to catch scraps.
  • Cover drains with fine screen or catch basket.

Water/Sewer Claims

 East Grand Rapids has adopted a sanitary sewer backup claim policy consistent with Public Act 222 of 2001. Whether a blockage is determined to be in a City sewer main or a private sewer lateral, the property owner is responsible for cleanup and associated costs. The City, or its insurer, may have liability, only if all liability standards noted in PA 222 are met, including, but not limited to, a defect in the system, the City’s awareness of the defect and failure to act, and the defect caused property damage. Please check with your insurance company about obtaining a rider for sewer backup coverage. 

Water System Maintenance - Flushing Mains

Public Works will be completing preventative maintenance on the drinking water system during the months of October and November. The work will include valve exercising (opening and closing of water system valves typically located in the street on water mains) for a two-week period starting October 9.  This work will not disrupt water service and will take place between 7:00am and 3:30pm, Monday through Friday.

Beginning October 16 through the middle/end of November water mains will be flushed (flowing water through fire hydrants).  To help limit disruption of service this work will take place during a night shift between the hours of 10:00pm and 6:00am, Sunday evenings through Friday mornings.

Valve exercising for fall 2023 will be in zones 6 and 7 (see zone map below).  Residents in these areas have been mailed notifications of the work and other communications have been included in e-newsletters and Public Works will post signs in these areas during flushing operations.

Map of the flushing zones.

Example of what hydrant flushing will look like

Hydrant flushing notice to impacted residents

If discolored water is noticed, turn on a faucet nearest to the water service coming into your home, which is typically in a basement, for several minutes while the natural minerals are flushed out. If you notice discoloration in your water, we encourage you not to do laundry to avoid staining clothes.

If you have any questions, please call Public Works 616.940.4870. Click here for a flier that was passed out to residents in affected areas.

Water Quality Consumer Confidence Reports

Water quality reports are published annually and mailed or e-mailed to all city water customers. The report provides a complete chemical breakdown of the water purchased from Grand Rapids. You can 
download the most current copy below or contact us at 616-940-4817 to have a copy mailed to you.

Lead and Copper Rule-Water Service Line Replacement Information

State of Michigan regulations require that municipalities notify property owners if municipal records indicate that the property owner may have a lead service line connected to the city water main. Click here for a notice that was mailed to any property owner who city records indicate may have a lead service line. Below you will find further educational information on this topic:

Information/Educational Resources:


State of Michigan-EGLE-Know Your Water Information

How to identify material of water service

State of Michigan Lead Safety Information

University of Michigan Lead and Copper Rule FAQ

Reduce Potential Lead Exposure from Drinking Water-EGLE

Point of Use Filter Installation, Use and Maintenance-EPA

Clean Point of Use Faucet Aerators-EPA

Testing Results:

2019 EGR Lead and Copper Testing Results — EGLE

2020 EGR Lead and Copper Testing Results — EGLE

2021 EGR Lead and Copper Testing Results — EGLE

2022 EGR Lead and Copper Testing Results-EGLE

To view other community water supply testing results please visit the EGLE testing result database

Comprehensive Distribution System Material Inventory (DSMI): 

The city is hydro-excavating all water service lines in accordance with EGLE methods to have a complete an accurate inventory of water service line materials from records and visual inspections.  The following notices/materials are provided to residents during the survey process. If a water service line is determined to be lead, a notice will be provided along with educational and policy information to residents. The DSMI work to inventory all service lines will be completed by 2025.  This accurate inventory will assist the development and direction of the lead service line replacement program.

Sample Notice of Lead Service Line-EGLE

Water Service Supply Inventory Notice

Lead Service Line Notice

Lead Service Line Replacement Program Information

The Department of Public Works has created a water service line inventory map that is updated periodically as the DSMI survey work is completed.  Residents who have lead service lines are notified during the survey process.  The map is updated periodically, so it is not always current. The inventory information provided is accurate from visual inspections and records.

Water Service Line Material Inventory Map

Grand Rapids Water System PFAS Report

Testing results recently released by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) showed PFAS contamination levels in the Grand Rapids Water System were well below safety standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulatory limits being discussed. 
 The MDEQ’s testing results mirrored those of the Grand Rapids Water System’s independent sampling of PFOS and PFOA concentrations previously reported this year.
 The city of East Grand Rapids purchases water wholesale from the city of Grand Rapids. This water is pumped from Lake Michigan through the Lake Michigan Filtration Plant.
For more information from the City of Grand Rapids, please click here and here.
You can find information on water sampling from across the state at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's website here.

Water Meter Replacement Program

The City of East Grand Rapids operates and maintains a water meter replacement and residential cross- connection inspection program. This program will replace nearly 4,000 meters that have been in service for 20-30 years and are reaching the end of their service life. The new meters are expected to have a similar service life of 20-30 years, which will ensure accurate readings and billing. There is no additional cost to you for the meter replacement as costs are accounted for in asset management/capital improvement planning through the utility rate schedule. The cross-connection inspection is a requirement by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to ensure safe drinking water by looking for and eliminating possible contamination of the public water distribution system.

The City has contracted with HydroCorp, Inc to assist a combined effort with eth Department of Public Works to install new Sensus iPerl or Neptune water meters (for most standard size meters in the system). In the future residents will receive a notification letter from HydroCorp on behalf of the City of East Grand Rapids with additional information including how to schedule an appointment for your meter replacement and cross-connection inspection. An example of this notice from HydroCorp may look like this this. Residents will also receive a letter from the city that explains the entire water meter replacement program. Residents who live in the current area receiving meter replacements will receive a letter from the city that looks like this.

HydroCorp will require access to each residence because water meters are typically located in basements, crawl spaces or utility closets. All HydroCorp employees wear photo I.D. badges with the full name of the employees. Always ask to see the I.D. badge before you allow entrance into your home. HydroCorp and City of East Grand Rapids have daily COVID-19 health screenings in place as well as trained personnel who will don protective equipment including masks and gloves for the installation and inspection visit. Click here to read more about HydroCorp's PPE policy.

Water/Sewer Bills

Water / sewer bills are sent out monthly by the Finance Department and are due on day 30 of each month. Any questions or concerns should be directed to Chris Berg at 616-949-2110.