Rochester Hills, Oakland Township lift boil water advisories

Oakland County water emergency affects thousands of residents

Crews work to repair a water main break in Oakland County on Oct. 25, 2017. (WDIV)
Crews work to repair a water main break in Oakland County on Oct. 25, 2017. (WDIV)

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – The boil water advisories in Rochester Hills and Oakland Township have been lifted, officials announced Thursday afternoon.

Officials announced that the boil water advisory affecting 12 communities in Oakland County was expected to last longer because of a leak that was found and repaired Wednesday night.

There are still 274,709 residents still impacted by the boil water advisories in Oakland County.

Here is the explanation for why Rochester Hills and Oakland Township were able to lift their boil water advisories so soon after the expected delay:

"When the break initially happened, we had to go in and isolate that damaged portion of pipe. Once the leak was isolated, we were put in a position where we could reroute water from other parts of our system to create pressure for the parts of our system that were impacted. In that process of rerouting water, there were communities for which we could immediately restore pressure. Once they flushed their systems after being pressurized, those communities could start their water quality testing and therefore relieve themselves of the boil water advisory before the other communities who were still experiencing lower pressures (because they had lower pressure, they did not have enough pressure to flush). Rochester Hills and Oakland Township’s pressure was restored almost immediately because of this."

There are still 10 communities in Oakland County under a boil water advisory. Here are the communities affected:

  • Bloomfield Township
  • Commerce Township
  • Farmington Hills (North of I-696)
  • Keego Harbor
  • Novi
  • Novi Township
  • Orchard Lake Village
  • Walled Lake
  • West Bloomfield Township
  • Wixom

Officials said the communities will be removed from the boil water advisory in a staggered plan, based on each community's water pressure level and relative location to the break.

Testing will begin Friday for customer communities throughout the affected areas, officials said.

The Great Lakes Water Authority has completed pressure testing on the new section of the transmission main and has started sampling the isolated section of the main.

When the tests come back clear, the main can be opened.

The next step for impacted communities is to begin flushing their systems. Then water quality sampling will begin, officials said.

Boil water advisory extended

Officials with the Great Lakes Water Authority announced Thursday that the boil water advisory is expected to continue into the weekend. It appears this extension will not longer affect Rochester Hills and Oakland Township.

Officials said a leak was discovered Wednesday night while crews installed new sections of the pipe along 14 Mile Road and tested water pressure.

"Leaks are a fairly common occurrence when connecting pipes," officials said in a FAQ. "There was an existing piece of pipe that was connected to a new section of pipe. This connection needed to then be sealed. The leak occurred in the sealing process. Leaks only become apparent during the filing of the pipe with water to pressurize it."

The leak was repaired, but the overall timeline for lifting the boil water advisory shifted, the GLWA said. Officials previously said they expected the advisory to be lifted Friday, but the new timeframe depends on water pressure and quality testing that begins Thursday and continues into the weekend.

Crews repaired the water main along 14 Mile Road between Drake and Farmington roads after it broke during a brief power outage at the GLWA west service center.

The boil water advisory blocked water to more than 50,000 homes. Officials said the number was down to 35,604 Wednesday during repairs.