Michigan Boil Water Advisory Goes Into Effect, Nearly 930K Folks Impacted

by Emily Morgan

Nearly 935,000 people have to boil their water after a water main broke at Michigan’s Great Lakes Water Authority.

On Saturday, officials reported that the break occurred at the Lake Huron facility. Now, officials have placed 23 Michigan communities under precautionary boil water advisories.

The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) said it had discovered a leak on a 120-inch water transmission main. The main provides drinking water from the treatment facility to residents in southeastern Michigan.

In addition, the main is the largest in the regional water distribution system.

Officials have put in place a precautionary boil water advisory for the Village of Almont, City of Auburn Hills, Bruce Township, Burtchville Township, Chesterfield Township, Clinton Township, City of Imlay City, Lenox Township, Macomb Township, Mayfield Township, Village of New Haven, Orion Township, City of Pontiac, City of Rochester, City of Rochester Hills, City of Romeo, Shelby Township, City of Sterling Heights, City of Troy, the City of Utica and Washington Township.

The recent break also affected the community of Flint, which experienced a catastrophic water crisis beginning in 2014.

The GLWA also said employees had identified the leak’s location approximately a mile west of the facility. They added that they are working to isolate the area around it so that they can begin repairs.

“Once the leak is isolated, crews will begin to open emergency connections to other mains in the system to restore some flow to the impacted communities,” they said.

Michigan officials work to repair break, residents left to boil water until further notice

However, the advisory will remain in effect until results from a lab conclude the water is safe to consume.

Under the advisory, residents should not drink the water without bringing it to a boil for at least one minute. In addition, residents should use boiled, bottled, or disinfected water for drinking, ice, brushing their teeth, and cooking.

“Whenever a water system loses pressure for any significant length of time, precautionary measures are recommended since a loss of pressure can lead to bacterial contamination in the water system,” the GLWA said.

They added: “Bacteria are generally not harmful and are common throughout our environment. Boiling water before using it will kill bacteria and other organisms that may be in the water.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer activated the State Emergency Operations Center on Saturday to respond to the ongoing water main break.

“Our top priority right now is protecting the public health and safety of Michigan residents until this water main is fixed as quickly as possible,” said Whitmer.

“I have activated the State Emergency Operations Center to ensure that every possible resource is available to GLWA and the impacted communities to accomplish that goal. I’m grateful to all of the first responders, utility workers, leadership at the county and municipal levels, and everyone else who is working hard to make sure our neighbors have safe water.”