Boil water advisory extended to 3 weeks for 133,000 metro Detroit residents amid repairs

·2 min read
A close up of the break in the 120-inch pipe.
A close up of the break in the 120-inch pipe.

The boil water advisory impacting more than 100,000 residents has been extended by an additional week, with the repair timeline now expected to take two weeks instead of one as initially predicted by the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA). The extension brings the advisory to three weeks.

The original restoration plan allotted for one week of repairs and another for quality testing, meaning residents would have had safe drinking water restored by Aug. 27. That estimated date is now Sept. 3, the GLWA announced Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, the following seven communities remain under a boil water advisory: the Village of Almont, Bruce Township, Burtchville Township, Imlay City, city of Rochester, Shelby Township and Washington Township. In addition, there is also one business in Greenwood and an industrial park in Romeo that remain under the boil water advisory.
As of Tuesday, the following seven communities remain under a boil water advisory: the Village of Almont, Bruce Township, Burtchville Township, Imlay City, city of Rochester, Shelby Township and Washington Township. In addition, there is also one business in Greenwood and an industrial park in Romeo that remain under the boil water advisory.

The water main break was announced last Saturday, prompting a boil water advisory for 23 communities encompassing about 935,000 residents and a declaration of a state of emergency by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Sunday for Lapeer, Macomb, Oakland and St. Clair counties to coordinate state efforts to assist affected Michiganders. After an initial response by the GLWA, the advisory area was narrowed and now applies to seven communities, impacting approximately 133,000 residents.

Impacted communities include:

  • Almont

  • Bruce Township

  • Burtchville Township

  • Imlay City

  • Rochester

  • Shelby Township

  • Washington Township

Engineers were at the site of the water main break in Port Huron on Monday when a new section of the 120-inch pipe arrived from Texas. The 120-inch water transmission main distributes finished drinking water from GLWA's Lake Huron Treatment Facility to communities in the northern part of its service area. The main is the largest in the regional water distribution system, according to the GLWA.

A member of the Engineering Inspection team at work in the 120-inch pipe.
A member of the Engineering Inspection team at work in the 120-inch pipe.

Inspection of the pipe found more damage than initially estimated, requiring an additional 48 feet of pipe, which has yet to be manufactured and is predicted to arrive Aug. 23.

"I know that adding this week creates further burden on the residents and the businesses of the seven impacted communities," Suzanne Coffey, CEO of the GLWA, said during a news briefing Tuesday. "But I want you to know that we're doing everything that we can, everything in our capabilities to expedite this repair and return the system to fall in normal levels of service."

As GLWA crews await the arrival of the additional pipe, the broken pipe is set to be removed and the new replacement will be prepped for installation. After installation, the pipe will be filled and pressurized  before water quality tests will take place. The tests involve flushing the pipe with chlorine and then taking samples for two consecutive rounds of tests, each of which takes 24 hours and must come back negative for any presence of bacteria, according to the GLWA.

Under the boil water advisory, residents should not drink directly from the tap.  Before drinking, the water should be boiled for at least one minute and allowed to cool. Bottled or boiled water should be used for cooking, drinking, washing dishes and brushing your teeth.

TGLWA has compiled a FAQ for concerns regarding living under a boil water advisory and necessary precautions.

Contact Miriam Marini: mmarini@freepress.com

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Metro Detroit boil water advisory extended to 3 weeks