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Pressure mostly restored in areas affected by water main break, but impact expected to remain for two weeks

Seven communities across southeast Michigan still under boil water advisory
Water main
Posted at 6:45 PM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 19:33:13-04

(WXYZ) — A massive water main break is impacting over 130,000 people living across seven communities.

That’s down from nearly two dozen areas initially reported on Aug. 13. That's when the Great Lakes Water Authority discovered the break in the 120-inch water transmission main that distributes finished drinking water from its Lake Huron Water Treatment Facility.

Since Sunday, water flow has been restored to the impacted communities.

"The pressure is pretty decent, but the word is still two more weeks of boiling water," said Rich Uebbing, a Rochester resident.

Helicopter video over water main break in metro Detroit

Uebbing has been living in Rochester for over 20 years and this is the first time he is worried about boiling tap water for consumption.

As per the advisory, folks must boil water for at least one minute and then let it cool before use. Boiled, bottled, or disinfected water should be used for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth and preparing food, something Susan Coffey from Great Lakes Water Authority is urging impacted residents to take seriously.

"This is the recommended guideline for their health. I know that people get complacent, but the reality is, until it's cleared, they should be boiling water for the uses specified," said Coffey.

But residents still have concerns.

"School starts in a couple of weeks in Rochester. That’s going to be challenging. The grocery stories again, no water. You will have to venture out of the city to get some," said Nicole, a Rochester resident.

Nicole has two young daughters and she is worried if officials are even thinking about it school reopening.

Officials visit site of water main break | Video courtesy Macomb County Executive Office

"Fellow Michiganders up in Flint went through that big crisis, makes you think. You really have to do your due diligence and research. You have to stay informed," said Nicole.

Meanwhile, Susan says the goal is to have the repairs completed within two weeks. Fix the problem this week and test the water quality the following week, before lifting the boil water advisory.

"They’ve got to take a look and see why the pipe failed in this manner, you know it blew apart. It wasn’t like it was a slow leak. It suddenly failed unexpectedly. We didn’t have anything on our side, in our sensors that led us to believe that something was occurring before it happened," said Coffey.

According to Susan, the high-pressure pipe is made with multiple layers of concrete and steel and is designed to handle pressure over 200 psi.

"What we might find is that, for some reason, the pipe weakened and broke," said Coffey.

People living in impacted communities are being urged to sign up for emergency alerts by visiting their city's website.