Quality testing shows repaired Metro Detroit water main ready to resume operations

Normal operations set to resume Oct. 5

It's been 48 days since a massive 10-foot wide water main broke, forcing cities across Metro Detroit to scramble and issue boil water advisories. After multiple delays, the Great Lakes Water Authority says the finish line is in sight.

FORT GRATIOT TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The troubled water transmission main in Metro Detroit is nearly ready to resume normal operations several weeks after a leak was discovered and forced the main to shut down.

The Great Lakes Water Authority announced Friday that quality testing shows the water flowing through the repaired pipe “meets or surpasses regulatory standards.” The GLWA has been disinfecting and flushing the 10-foot-diameter pipe at its Lake Huron treatment facility since early September.

The process of disinfecting and flushing came after the damaged pipe was removed and a new pipe piece was installed in its place. The installation took longer than expected, as work was postponed due to several delivery delays.

The water transmission main, which distributes drinking water to several Metro Detroit communities, was shut down in mid-August when a leak was discovered in the pipe. Repairs were initially expected to be finished by Sept. 3, then the completion date was changed to Sept. 21 earlier this month. Last week, officials said the disinfecting and flushing process was taking longer than expected, and that the main should be up and running again by Oct. 5.

GLWA officials confirmed Friday that they are on track to return to normal operations by Oct. 5.

UPDATE: Troubled Metro Detroit water main resumes operations after weeks of repair

When the leak was discovered on Aug. 13, boil water advisories were issued to more than 20 Metro Detroit communities as a precaution due to a change in water pressure. Those boil water notices have since been lifted, but those same communities may experience “limited fluctuations in their water pressure” during the next few days amid the restoration, officials said.

The company does not anticipate any “major impacts to the regional system” as the water main is restored to regular operations.

Photos from the water main repair process can be seen below.

Crews work to set, fill and grout a new pipe piece replacing a damaged pipe of a water main at the Great Lakes Water Authority's Lake Huron treatment facility. The company announced Tuesday that the main is expected to return to normal operations on Sept. 21, 2022. (Great Lakes Water Authority)
Crews work to set, fill and grout a new pipe piece replacing a damaged pipe of a water main at the Great Lakes Water Authority's Lake Huron treatment facility. The company announced Tuesday that the main is expected to return to normal operations on Sept. 21, 2022. (Great Lakes Water Authority)
Crews work to set, fill and grout a new pipe piece replacing a damaged pipe of a water main at the Great Lakes Water Authority's Lake Huron treatment facility. The company announced Tuesday that the main is expected to return to normal operations on Sept. 21, 2022. (Great Lakes Water Authority)
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 Aug. 30. Photo provided by GLWA. (Great Lakes Water Authority)
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)

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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.