Boil water advisories issued for 3 Oakland County areas: What you need to know

Several Oakland County communities impacted by water main break

A boil water advisory has been issued for all Novi, Walled Lake and Commerce Township residents after a water main break caused low water pressure for many in the city on Sunday. More information: https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/local/2021/11/01/boil-water-advisories-issued-for-3-oakland-county-areas-what-you-need-to-know/

NOVI, Mich. – A boil water advisory has been issued for all Novi, Walled Lake and Commerce Township residents after a water main break caused low water pressure for many in the city on Sunday.

Wednesday, Nov. 3 update: Boil water notice lifted for Commerce Township, Novi, Walled Lake following water main break in Farmington Hills

The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) reported a water main break on Sunday evening at 14 Mile Road and Drake Road in Farmington Hills, which caused low water pressure in Novi and in a handful of surrounding communities.

Novi first issued a boil water advisory, followed by Walled Lake and Commerce Township, on Sunday. Other communities experienced low water pressure, like West Bloomfield, Farmington Hills and Wixom, but have not issued boil water advisories.

Multiple homes in West Bloomfield also had to be evacuated. Kevin Anderson lives nearby and his hunch was right. There were four homes that had to be evacuated and another two dozen being monitored by first responders. West Bloomfield does not have a boil water advisory in place.

“The water is flowing into four homes which are severely damaged,” said Farmington Hills Fire Chief Jon Unruh. “Fortunately after those homes, the water is flowing down a street and into a creek waterway and flowing away from this area.”

Farmington Hills posted an alert about low water pressure but has not issued a boil water advisory for residents. Farmington Hills said local advisories will go to individual addresses if boil water notices are needed. Other cities impacted in the area have not issued a boil water advisory.

Typically, once a boil water advisory is issued, it takes days to lift because multiple rounds of testing are required to ensure the safety of tap water. Novi said the boil water advisory would be lifted after two negative tests taken 24 hours apart are obtained.

“After the water main is placed back in service bacteriological samples will be collected to determine that the water quality meets the state drinking water standards. We will inform you when tests show no bacteria and you no longer need to boil your water,” Novi said in a release.

Communities with a boil water advisories in effect:

  • Novi
  • Commerce Township
  • Walled Lake

GLWA released an updated statement on the issue on Monday morning:

“Late Sunday evening, Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) Field Service Crews were able to partially isolate the primary water transmission main in the area of the break at 14 Mile and Drake Road, which stabilized pressure to the regional system. This morning, GLWA and contractor crews are on-site working to isolate the remaining sections of pipe to stop water flow from the break and allow excavation to begin starting repair activities. GLWA expects the repair to take three to five days, during which impacted communities will continue to have water flow, however, it may be at a lower level than normal. At no time during the event has water pressure in the regional system dropped to or below a level that would cause GLWA to issue a boil water advisory. Several communities have issued precautionary boil water advisories based on activity in their local systems.”


Boil water advisory -- what it means

From the CDC:

Boil water advisories usually include this advice:

  • Use bottled or boiled water for drinking, and to prepare and cook food.
  • If bottled water is not available, bring water to a full rolling boil for 1 minute (at elevations above 6,500 feet, boil for 3 minutes). After boiling, allow the water to cool before use.
  • Boil tap water even if it is filtered (for example, by a home water filter or a pitcher that filters water).
  • Do not use water from any appliance connected to your water line, such as ice and water from a refrigerator.
  • Breastfeeding is the best infant feeding option. If you formula feed your child, provide ready-to-use formula, if possible.

Hand washing

  • In many cases, you can use tap water and soap to wash hands during a boil water advisory. Follow the guidance from your local public health officials.
  • Be sure to scrub your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Then, rinse them well under running water.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Bathing and showering

  • Be careful not to swallow any water when bathing or showering.
  • Use caution when bathing babies and young children. Consider giving them a sponge bath to reduce the chance of them swallowing water.

Brushing teeth

  • Brush teeth with boiled or bottled water. Do not use tap water that you have not boiled first.

Washing dishes

  • If possible, use disposable plates, cups, and utensils during a boil water advisory.
  • Household dishwashers generally are safe to use if: The water reaches a final rinse temperature of at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit (66°Celsius), or The dishwater has a sanitizing cycle.
  • Sanitize all baby bottles.
  • To wash dishes by hand: Wash and rinse the dishes as you normally would using hot water. In a separate basin, add 1 teaspoon of unscented household liquid bleach for each gallon of warm water. Soak the rinsed dishes in the water for at least one minute. Let the dishes air dry completely before using again.

Laundry

  • It is safe to wash clothes as usual.

Cleaning

Caring for pets

  • Pets can get sick from some of the same germs as people or spread germs to people. Give pets bottled water or boiled water that has cooled.
  • If bottled water is not available, bring water to a full rolling boil for 1 minute (at elevations above 6,500 feet, boil for 3 minutes). After boiling, allow the water to cool before use.
  • Boil tap water even if it is filtered (for example, by a home water filter or a pitcher that filters water).
  • Do not use water from any appliance connected to your water line, such as ice and water from a refrigerator.

Caring for your garden and houseplants

  • You can use tap water for household plants and gardens.

Related: Lead in Michigan water: How it gets there, what we can do, are we all in trouble?


About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.