Department of Public Works (DPW)

What do they do?

Department of Public Work’s work might not be glamorous, but it helps keep the heart of Detroit tickingto make our life in Detroit tick. The list of services that they provide is long. Just to name a few: 

How is the department organized?

Unlike DPD, which is led by the Chief of Police, DPW is led by a director of the department. The director oversees all operations of the department and reports to either the mayor or a high-level executive in the mayor’s office. DPW is organized into five divisions: Traffic Engineering, Solid Waste, Street Maintenance, City Engineering, and Administration, which provides overall management and direction to the other divisions. 

DPW has approximately 450 employees to carry out the mission of the department. Along with its employees, DPW also manages a contract with two private companies to provide solid waste management for Detroit –– Advanced Disposal and GFL Environmental. Each company serves a specific geographic area in the city. To see which company does trash and recycling pickup in your neighborhood, check out the DPW website at You can also sign up for text reminders.

In Detroit, construction and maintenance of streets affects all levels of government. There are streets and highways that are owned and operated by the city, county, state, and federal governments. DPW receives state and federal grants to maintain streets and bridges, and they coordinate with the Wayne County Road Commission, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and the Federal Highway Administration.

How can I get involved?

There are several different ways to communicate with the department or get involved. First, check out the Improve Detroit app, where you can submit an issue directly to the department for them to address. For example, you can report a pothole or an illegal dump site, and the request will go directly to DPW. You’ll also receive updates when the issue is accepted and resolved.

Second, the DPW website is full of information about their services, news, and events. They often hold community meetings that are open to the public to gather feedback on street designs or other service changes that have a community impact. You can also find announcements about street closures. Check out