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'We need more water': Local officials say more state help is needed amid boil water advisory

Posted at 10:07 PM, Aug 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-16 23:11:19-04

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — As quickly as it showed up, the water was gone. On Tuesday, Shelby Township residents were pulling up to Ford Field Central Park looking for bottled water because their tap water is undrinkable.

The park served as one of three water distribution centers in Shelby Township.

“It's a very inconvenient situation," resident Dean Fehn said. "Even though you’ve got water, you can't use it.”

By 3 p.m., all the bottled water ran out. Pickup resumed when a new shipment arrived, but that too was going fast.

“We can use a lot more water," Shelby Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis said. "I guess the governor's office is doing everything possible to get us more water but right now, we just don't have enough.”

Stathakis says they had more than 1,000 cars show up for water in an hour. He estimates they need at least double the amount of water they currently have, especially with a boil water advisory estimated to last three weeks.

“We just need more water from the state," Stathakis said. "The governor is the one who called the state of emergency, so hopefully that will mean something.”

State Rep. Terence Mekoski, a Republican who represents Shelby Township, says the state is working on it. But he doesn’t know when more water might arrive.

“I’ve got calls into the speaker of the House and to the governor's office. We’re trying to get as much as possible,” Mekoski said. "I got to imagine we’ll be able to do it relatively quickly. Exact time frame, I cant promise you, but we’ll try to do it as quickly as we can.”

Although the water won't be drinkable until September, the distribution is currently only scheduled through Wednesday. The township says they can keep it going as long as more water shows up.

“I hope they ramp it up because we're organized, we're ready, we just don't have enough water,” Stathakis said.

On Sunday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Lapeer, Macomb, Oakland, and St. Clair counties following the water main break near the Great Lakes Water Authority’s Lake Huron Water Treatment facility. As of Tuesday evening, her office had not immediately responded to requests for comment.