A boil water advisory remains in effect for seven Metro Detroit communities, covering more than 130,000 residents in the region, after a water main break impacted water pressure on Saturday morning -- and it could be weeks before it’s fixed.
The Great Lakes Water Authority reported the major water main break on Saturday, identifying the location of a leak on a 120-inch water transmission main that distributes finished drinking water from a Lake Huron water treatment facility. The state of Michigan declared an emergency on Sunday and activated the State Emergency Operations Center to coordinate response.
Here’s a breakdown of important information for impacted residents (check back for ongoing updates):
Which Metro Detroit communities are under a boil water advisory?
Seven communities are still urged to boil water: the Village of Almont, Bruce Township, Burtchville Township, Imlay City, City of Rochester, Shelby Township, Washington Township, as well as one business in Greenwood, and an industrial park in Romeo. That includes about 133,000 residents.
Additionally, part of Utica is now under the advisory. If you live in a home or work for a business that is located from Northpointe Boulevard to Schoenherr Road, you are receiving water from Shelby Township and are still under the boil water advisory.
Originally, there were 23 communities under the advisory, but further testing allowed for some to be dropped from the list. Here’s the current map from GLWA:
GLWA has expanded its request for the limiting outdoor water usage until the repair is completed to include all 23 communities that were originally under the precautionary Boil Water Advisory when it was issue on August 13. This will help in reducing the load on the regional water system and may help as GLWA reviews options with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to restore system operations as quickly as possible. The 23 communities are the Village of Almont, the City of Auburn Hills, Bruce Township, Burtchville Township, Chesterfield Township, Clinton Township, the City of Flint, Flint Township, Imlay City, the City of Lapeer, Lenox Township, Macomb Township, Mayfield Township, Village of New Haven, Orion Township, the City of Pontiac, City of Rochester, the City of Rochester Hills, Shelby Township, the City of Sterling Heights, the City of Troy, the City of Utica, and Washington Township.
What should residents do with their water right now?
Residents are urged not to drink the water without boiling it first. Those wanting to consume the water are to boil it for at least one minute and then let it cool before use. This advisory is for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth and preparing food until further notice.
When a water system loses pressure, there’s a risk of bacterial contamination. As a result, precautionary measures have been taken.
How long will this last?
GLWA estimates the timeframe to fix the line and complete water testing to be three weeks, but county officials are preparing for a 3-4 week window. That means impacted residents could be under a boil water advisory for the next few weeks.
The advisory will remain in effect until results from sampling verify the water is safe to drink, GLWA said.
GLWA said on Tuesday that on Sunday, August 14, 20-feet of replacement pipe was delivered to the site from Texas. On Monday, August 15, GLWA completed the initial inspection of the 120-inch water main that broke this past Saturday. The inspection found more damage to the pipe than initially thought, which will require the acquisition of additional lengths of the water main.
Repair work continues at the site of the break with crews continuing efforts to stabilize the existing pipe. Yesterday, concrete pads were poured under the existing pipe to prepare for removal of the damaged section of pipe, which is expected sometime this weekend.
In addition, GLWA continues further inspection of portions of the 120-inch transmission main while it is not filled with pressurized water. This inspection is occurring along the entire 26.1 miles of the main. Residents who live along the 120-inch main route may see GLWA team members and consultants out conducting their inspections, which may sometimes include them seeking access to homeowners’ property. These GLWA team members and consultants will have their photos IDs displayed.
Are there water supplies available for residents?
Oakland and Macomb counties have already started distributing water to impacted residents. Water supplies will likely be distributed at local fire stations and city halls.
What happened to the water main?
We’re not sure yet. GLWA says they’re investigating the break to determine a cause. To assist communities impacted by the Boil Water Advisory, GLWA has put together a Frequently Asked Questions resource, which is available on its website at www.glwater.org.
Have a question? Let us know in the comments and we’ll try our best to get you an answer.