Water leak causes dangerously excessive steam to fill Detroit street

Excessive steam in Detroit neighborhood hurts business, angers residents

DETROIT – An underground water leak on Gratiot Avenue near Russell Street in Detroit has been a real headache for residents in the area.

The water leak has caused dangerously excessive steam to fill the street and is taking weeks to get fixed.

RELATED: Eastern Market businesses steaming over water leak

The steam pipe was installed about a year ago to keep the steam above the road, but the recent water leak is causing so much steam that two more of the pipes have been added in the street.

Residents said the problem is killing businesses, and the city keeps pushing back the fix date.

"It has absolutely destroyed our business," Bethany Shorb, of Well Done Goods, said.

After 11 years online, Shorb added a storefront in November for her silk-screening business.

"We went from doing great sales in January -- nobody buys anything in January -- to no sales," Shorb said. "We're talking a zero day in retail. No sales."

In an email to Shorb, Detroit Thermal, which provides the steam power, said it was told by Great Lakes Water that earlier repair attempts were aborted because they disrupted the Crain's building and construction at the new Little Caesar's Arena.

"I get it, things have to happen, but not for this long," Shorb said. "Not because people aren't talking to one another. Meanwhile, our little block gets destroyed."

A man who has lived in the area for 20 years thinks it's more than the steam that stinks.

"There's no private business that could continue to operate and cause a continuous hazard with people getting hurt, and not have to do anything to fix it," Pat Deegan said.

The new fix date is scheduled for Monday.

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