Detroit boil water advisory affects businesses, auto show

Advisory could last through Thursday

By Priya Mann - Reporter, Dane Sager Kelly

DETROIT - A 42-inch water main break has prompted a boil water advisory in parts of Downtown Detroit, which could last until Thursday.

RELATED: Boil water advisory in Downtown Detroit: What to know

People in the affected area are being told to boil water for two minutes before using it. Officials are hoping to have the pipe repaired by Tuesday to start testing the bacteria levels. 

The break comes at an unfortunate time, as the affected area includes Cobo Center and the surrounding hotels and restaurants. 

Workers at Brome Modern Eatery went into overdrive to prepare for the wave of customers during the North American International Auto Show.

"It's our first auto show," said Bernadette Loftus, with Brome Modern Eatery. "We're pushing through as best as we can."

The restaurant, which is one block away from Cobo Center, is unable to use its soda fountains due to the boil water advisory. 

"It's within walking distance right around the corner," Loftus said. "It's going to be pretty hectic."

Employees spent the day boiling water, stocking bottled drinks and making sure food was prepared safely.

"It's hard for restaurants all over the place," Loftus said. "Customers come in asking about how the water is affecting the food, and it's 100 percent not."

Thousands of families are under the boil water advisory, as are thousands of tourists and journalists from around the world for one of the largest auto shows on the planet.

"I have been in constant contact with the general manager and the chief engineer of Cobo," said Gary Brown, the director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. "I assured them that they, like all of our customers, are a top priority."

It's not ideal for a city that has struggled to reinvent its reputation.

"We have infrastructure issues in every major city," Brown said. "Detroit is no different. We are dealing with it by rebuilding our infrastructure every day."

City officials are remaining optimistic the advisory will be lifted before the auto show's Friday's charity preview event.

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