Boil water advisory for Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park to remain in effect until noon Friday

Boil water advisory caused by failure at Great Lakes Water Authority facility


DETRIOT – The boil water advisory for parts of Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park will remain in effect until noon Friday, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department announced.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality ordered the boil water advisory to remain in effect until noon Friday after a failure at a Great Lakes Water Authority facility.

Preliminary tests of the Detroit water supply showed no water contamination, officials said.

"The first round of test results taken by the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) related to the February 28, 2017 boil water advisory have come back clear," GLWA officials said in a statement. "While these results are a sign that there is nothing wrong with the water, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is requiring the boil water advisory remain in effect throughout the originally stated 48-hour time period. A second round of test results will be returned tomorrow and upon a second clear result, GLWA will recommend that the boil water advisory be lifted. GLWA will provide additional updates as soon as they are available."

DWSD said advisories are issued when water pressure at a plant falls below 20 pounds per square inch. Detroit's pressure never fell below 20 PSI, but the advisory was issued as a precaution for the entire area served by the Water Works Park facility, officials said.

More than 50 schools throughout Wayne County were closed Thursday because of the boil water alert.

The advisory affects communities south of McNichols to the Detroit River and east of Linwood to Connor Street, which covers most of Downtown and Midtown Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park.

Which areas are involved?

The Great Lakes Water Authority announced Wednesday that residents south of 6 Mile Road and west of Connor Street in Detroit could be affected over the next 48 hours.

A map of the exact areas affected was released by the city of Detroit. You can click here to see if you're included in the boil water alert.

Officials said bacteria are generally not harmful and are common throughout the environment, but crews are working to try to correct the situation.

What should I do?

Residents were instructed not to drink the water without boiling it first. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one minute and let it cool before using it, or use bottled water.

Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.

The precautionary actions are being taken because of the temporary loss of water pressure Tuesday evening in the water distribution system.

Whenever a water system loses pressure for any significant length of time, precautionary measures are recommended.

Crews from the Great Lakes Water Authority and the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department are working to get pressure restored, and water staff flushed and took bacteriological samples from around the system. The samples are collected to see if the water quality meets state drinking water standards.

GLWA and DWSD officials said they will tell customers when they no longer need to boil water.

If residents or businesses have no water service in the area affected by the advisory, they are asked to call the DWSD emergency line at 313-267-7401.

Detroit schools closed

Dozens of Detroit public schools closed Thursday because parents were concerned about their children drinking the city's water.

"As a further precautionary measure, the district has made the decision to close the 26 schools in the affected area and to err on the side of caution," officials said in a statement.

Click here to view the list of Detroit public schools closed by the boil water advisory.

The announcement was made a few minutes before 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Officials said they talked about whether to open or close throughout the night and had plans in place to deliver bottled water and disposable utensils to the schools.

But officials said they received a lot of calls from parents who are concerned and upset that their children were drinking the water on Wednesday and didn't realize that they were under a boil water advisory.

The decision to close the schools was made out of "an abundance of caution."

DPSCD was given a list of schools affected by the advisory on Wednesday morning, but it wasn't complete. More than a dozen schools, including Cass Technical High School, were added to the list Wednesday night.

"I'm really not concerned at whose issue it is. My concern is our staff and our students were there all day consuming this water," parent Lamethia Champion said.

Parents said communication was poor from Detroit schools and the water department. They didn't feel comfortable with their students returning to school on Thursday.

"How are you going to get all of these supplies delivered to 25 schools by the start of school tomorrow when you have a problem getting regular supplies delivered to schools on a regular basis?" Champion asked.

The school district decided to close 26 schools.

SCHOOL CLOSINGS: Check Detroit schools closed during boil water alert

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department said the water is safe for washing hands when used with soap, but the water shouldn't be used for drinking or cooking. Water in the schools can't be consumed over the next 48 hours unless it's boiled first.

The Office of School Nutrition and DPSCD Physical Plant Operations had planned to provide bottled water at the campuses. School officials said they planned to use disposable utensils for food service and bottled water for cleaning fruits and vegetables.

Here's Mara MacDonald's report from Wednesday night: