Oakland County water emergency sparks mad dash to stock up on water

Mobil gas station in Walled Lake charges $19 for case of water

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – Crews are working around the clock in Farmington Hills to repair a water main break affecting more than 250,000 people in Oakland County.

The part needed to repair the busted 48-inch water main is on its way and is scheduled to arrive Wednesday. In the meantime, 51,000 people across 12 communities in Oakland County don't have any running water.

The water emergency has created a mad dash to stores for bottled water, but the aisles are running dry.

Businesses across Oakland County are having a hard time keeping up with the demand for water.

"Yeah, a lot of places around here are just out," one woman said.

The moment the doors opened at the Freshway Market in Walled Lake, the rush started. Store surveillance video showed clerks ringing up nothing but water by the gallons and cases.

"We ran out of water by 11:30 in the morning," a store worker said.

Most people are boiling water or dealing with dry faucets.

"It just dribbles out of the faucet," one resident said.

There's big demand for a thin supply.

"I was hoping people wouldn't be, you know, 'I've got water, but it's going to cost you to get,'" the woman said.

That's not the case inside a Mobil gas station at Maple and Decker roads in Walled Lake. The business was selling a case of water for $19. Customers weren't happy, and Local 4 called the manager.

"I don't see anything wrong with it," he said. "I bought the case -- $16. Do you see my sign over there? $4.99."

It says $4.99 now, but earlier, a sign clearly stated it was $19.

"Yeah, if you buy every day the case," he said. "How much do you want to sell it for? You tell me."

Customers weren't buying the manager's reasoning.

"I told you, 16-ounce is different," he said. "This is 16. This is 20-ounce. It's a big difference."

"He's trying to make a lot of money," a customer said. "That's just not right."

As for the boil water advisory, once the pipe is fixed, it will take another 48 hours to make sure the water is flowing properly, so it appears the advisory will not be lifted before Friday.

About the Authors:

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.