Normally when you say something “sucks,” it’s bad. In this case, sucking is a good thing.

Today the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department rolled out eight new Vactor Trucks at a cost of $3.9 million.

The fleet, with this addition, has been tripled to twelve trucks. They will be put to work cleaning out 30,000 catch basins over the next , with the goal of reducing street flooding across the city.

When the water doesn’t drain away properly, it has to go somewhere. The chronic street flooding has resulted in years of flooded basements in many areas of the city as well as flooded yards.

These large Vactor trucks help remedy this by sucking debris up into large tanks and have high-pressure water capabilities.

At an unveiling today, DWSD officials showed off a pair of the new rigs. This is the first time since 2010 that the city has been addressing catch basins.

Check out our video below of workers demonstrating the new Vactors.

Catch basins carry stormwater off city streets and nearby properties into the city’s combined sewer system. If they’re blocked or clogged – and the city says 75 percent of the 90,0000 currently are – when heavy rains come, the stormwater can’t drain properly and streets flood.

This is on the heels of the recent return of street sweeper service to the city.

The DWSD said at the press event in the Pembroke neighborhood on Griggs street that they will have six crews cleaning and inspecting basins, and two additional crews on standby. The department will run six days a week with two shifts, and focus on city-owned streets, leaving county and state roads to those governmental entities. 

It’s important to note that with the transition of many services to the Great Lakes Water Authority, DWSD focuses on the city only now.

They’re hiring

At the press event, Palencia Mobley, DWSD’s deputy director and chief engineer, said there are 10 jobs posted as part of their new Stormwater Management Group. If interested, you can apply online at

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