Macomb County residents asked to restrict water use due to blockage in collapsed sewer line

Rainfall could cause release of sewage into Clinton River, officials say

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – Macomb County officials are asking residents and businesses in the 11 communities affected by the Fraser sinkhole to restrict their water usage after sediment plugged a collapsed sewer line along 15 Mile Road.

Officials said shifting sediment has greatly reduced the amount of sewage that can flow through the damaged sewer interceptor line on 15 Mile Road in Fraser.

The Macomb County Office of Public Works is asking residents and businesses of the 11 communities served by the line to reduce the flow of water going down their drains. The communities affected are Fraser, Sterling Heights, Utica, New Haven, Chesterfield Township, Shelby Township, Clinton Township, Harrison Township, Lenox Township, Washington Township and Macomb Township.

Engineers noticed Thursday morning that the flow of sewage through the interceptor had decreased. When they investigated the issue, they found the entire 11-foot diameter of the interceptor blocked, with only seepage continuing down the line.

You can see pictures of the interceptor before and after the blockage below:

Existing bypass lines along the sinkhole route are able to accommodate only dry-weather sewage flow, officials said.

As little as a quarter-inch of rain could cause an "unavoidable release of sewage into the Clinton River," officials said.

Crews will use disinfectant materials and booms to try to mitigate the environmental impact if the sewage is released into the river, but they wouldn't completely eliminate the impact on the river, which flows into Lake St. Clair.

"I cannot stress enough: We have no capacity in the system for any additional sewage flow," Macomb County Public Works commissioner Candice Miller said. "The situation is dire and we are at the mercy of Mother Nature until we can get the temporary bypass lines in place, which is still a month away from completion."

Residents and communities are asked to:

  • Reduce the length of showers
  • Flush only solids in the toilet
  • Run only full wash loads
  • Don’t run water while brushing teeth.
  • Run full dishwasher loads only

Macomb County will update the the latest developments in connection with the Fraser sinkhole Friday afternoon. Stay with for updates.

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.