Repair timeline pushed back even further for broken Metro Detroit water main

Water main expected to resume normal operations by Oct. 5

Repairs continue at the site of a major water main break at Great Lakes Water Authority's Lake Huron treatment facility in Metro Detroit on Sept. 1. Photo provided by GLWA. (Great Lakes Water Authority)

FORT GRATIOT TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A repaired water transmission main that services several Metro Detroit communities is now expected to resume normal operations in early October, weeks after its expected resumption, after a leak closed the main in mid-August.

The Great Lakes Water Authority announced last week that the major water main near its Lake Huron treatment facility is expected to resume operations on or around Oct. 5. The water main closed after a leak was discovered on Aug. 13, and has remained closed for repairs since.

GLWA officials said in early September that the 10-foot-diameter pipe should be up and running again by Sept. 21, about six weeks after the leak was discovered. However, officials said on Sept. 19 that the process of flushing and disinfecting the repaired pipe is taking longer than expected.

The water transmission main is now projected to resume normal operations by Oct. 5.

New pipe pieces replacing the damaged pipe have been assembled and fully closed since the beginning of September, but the water main still had to be filled -- which was said to require 81 million gallons of water -- then flushed and disinfected. The process has been taking longer due to the “size and length of the pipe, as well as the technical nature of the process,” GLWA officials said.

Water has still been flowing to communities normally serviced by the water transmission main, but water pressure has been affected for residents and businesses in the area since mid-August. Repairs have been consistently delayed, partly due to delivery delays of the replacement pipe.

When the leak was discovered on Aug. 13, a boil water advisory was issued for more than 20 communities in the area as a precaution, as water pressure was affected. Those advisories have since been lifted.

Water main repairs were initially scheduled to end by Sept. 3.

“We want to thank everyone for their patience as we navigate this situation together,” said Suzanne Coffey, CEO of GLWA. “We know that extending the timeframe to return the transmission system back normal operations will further inconvenience all of the communities and their residents, but it is necessary for us to ensure that we complete this repair in a way that safeguards the public health and the system.”

Residents and business in affected communities are still being asked to limit their outdoor water usage until the water transmission main is fully operational.

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