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Residents, businesses requested to conserve water as Fraser sinkhole repairs continue

Department requests people continue conservation efforts through January

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – As work continues at the site of the Fraser sinkhole near 15 Mile Road, homes and business served by the damaged sewer line are requested to assist by conserving water usage, the Macomb County Department of Public Works said.

While there is some flow through the damaged sections of the sewer line, efforts are underway to bypass the damaged sections with piping that will, once again, deposit the flow back into the main sewer line downstream from the damaged section, officials said. Solutions are planned and being implemented, but the department said there is an immediate need to reduce the flow of wastewater so it doesn’t end up in rivers, streams and residents' basements.

"We have reluctantly had an occasion to discharge sanitary sewer overflow into alternative areas to prevent basement flooding, and with your help we can minimize the possibility of having to do so again," the Department of Public Works said. "With rain in the long-range forecast for next week, your conservation efforts become even more critical."

Officials said the sewer services a large portion of the county that includes 150,000 homes and 300,000 residents.

Communities served include Chesterfield Township, Clinton Township, Fraser, Harrison Township, Lenox Township, Macomb Township, New Haven, Selfridge ANG Base, Shelby Township, Sterling Heights, Utica and Washington Township, officials said.

The Department of Public Works established a phone line dedicated to answering questions anyone may have about the conservation initiative at 586-493-6744.

"At this time we would ask that you continue your conservation efforts through January 2017, unless otherwise notified, and this request for your help in this matter doesn't apply to those homes and businesses that use septic systems," the Department of Public Works said.

Here are some tips provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website:

In every room that contains plumbing:
-Repair leaky faucets, indoors and out.
-When cooking, peel and clean vegetables in a large bowl of water instead of under running water.
-Fill your sink or basin when washing and rinsing dishes.
-Only run the dishwasher when it's full.
-When buying a dishwasher, select one with a "light-wash" option.
-Only use the garbage disposal when necessary (composting is a great alternative).
-Install faucet aerators.

In the bathroom:
-Take short showers instead of baths.
-Turn off the water to brush teeth, shave and soap up in the shower.
-Fill the sink to shave.
-Repair leaky toilets. Add 12 drops of food coloring into the tank, and if color appears in the bowl one hour later, your toilet is leaking.
-Install a toilet dam, faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads.

Laundry:
-Run full loads of laundry.
-When purchasing a new washing machine, buy a water saving model that can be adjusted to the load size.

"Thank you for your cooperation. Together we can conserve our water resources and minimize the wastewater that passes through our sanitary sewer lines," the Department of Public Works said. "As noted, we're working 24/7 to repair the damaged sewer so that residents and businesses can get back to their normal and everyday activities."

SEMCOG shares that on average, people use 77 gallons of day per person, officials said.