Repair of Metro Detroit water main hampered by replacement pipe delivery delays

Repair timeline extended beyond initial Sept. 3 completion date

The site of a major water main break in Metro Detroit at the Great Lakes Water Authority's Lake Huron treatment facility. Photo provided by GLWA. (Great Lakes Water Authority)

Delayed deliveries of a replacement pipe are pushing back the repair timeline of a broken water main that has impacted several Metro Detroit communities for the last few weeks.

The site of a major water main break is still awaiting pieces of a 10-foot-diameter pipe that will replace a broken pipe. Earlier this month, a leak was discovered in the pipe at the Great Lakes Water Authority’s Lake Huron treatment facility, which triggered temporary widespread boil water notices. Those advisories have since been lifted, but water pressure continues to be affected by the main break.

So far, crews have removed about 48 feet of broken 10-foot-diameter pipe and are replacing it with a new pipe. Several deliveries of that pipe have been delayed, however.

The replacement pipe was originally scheduled to be delivered to the repair site on Tuesday, Aug. 22. That delivery was delayed, and the replacement pipe was then expected to arrive in pieces between the following Thursday through Sunday.

It was at this point the GLWA said the original repair timeline was likely to be affected. Repairs were estimated to take about three weeks, and end on Sept. 3.

One piece of the replacement pipe did arrive on Thursday, but officials said it was sent back to the manufacturer because it “did not meet specifications.” The manufacturer was expected to fix the returned piece, and deliver it with the remainder of the replacement pipe by Sunday, Aug. 28.

Officials said all 48 feet of the replacement pipe were expected to be at the repair site by Sunday.

The GLWA said Monday, however, that two parts of the pipe have not yet been delivered. One piece is “in transit” and expected to be delivered on Monday, while another piece is expected to arrive in a day or two.

Now, officials confirm that the repair timeline will be “extended beyond” Sept. 3 -- though an updated completion date has not yet been provided. The company is expected to announce an updated repair timeline once all parts of the replacement pipe have arrived at the repair site.

The water system, which distributes drinking water to GLWA customers in the northern part of its service area, is said to be stable as of Monday. Still, affected communities are being asked to limit their outdoor water usage while the water main undergoes repairs.

Residents should continue checking for news on local boil water notices, as new advisories could be issued if deemed necessary.

Site of a major water main break in Metro Detroit at the Great Lakes Water Authority's Lake Huron Treatment Facility. Image provided by the GLWA. (Great Lakes Water Authority)

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.