Massive water main break continues to impact many in Oakland County

Posted at 5:55 AM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-02 18:15:52-04

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (WXYZ) — A massive water main break that happened Sunday is still causing issues for people across certain areas of Oakland County.

Novi, Walled Lake, and a portion of Commerce Township are under boil water advisories that each municipality imposed on their own as a precaution.

Novi and Walled Lake public schools were closed Monday because of the boil water advisories. They remained closed Tuesday because of elections.

Dr. Steve Matthews, Superintendent of the Novi Community School District, told 7 Action News that there will be school on Wednesday, and they are asking parents to send their children to school with bottled water for drinking.

Food service is working on a plan to be able to boil water for food preparation.

Maintenance workers have indicated that there is enough water pressure for bathroom use, Matthews said.

In the Walled Lake Consolidated School District, Superintendent Kenneth Gutman announced on their website that their schools would also be open Wednesday.

"Students and staff are also encouraged to bring water from home. The drinking fountains will be out of service until the boil water advisory is lifted," Gutman wrote. "All of our restrooms are operable and hand sanitizer is available for students and staff to use after they wash their hands."

The food service staff in Walled Lakes Schools will also be taking "precautions to ensure a safe and nutritious breakfast and lunch for our students," he wrote.

The water main break has also impacted the following Henry Ford Health System facilities.

• Henry Ford Medical Center-Columbus, 39450 W. 12 Mile Road
• Henry Ford Medical Center-Commerce, 8391 Commerce Road
• Henry Ford Medical Center-Novi, 40000 8 Mile Road

Patient care services are fully operational at all three sites and patients are being seen for their regularly scheduled appointments, according to a statement from the health system that also indicated elective endoscopy procedures that are scheduled through Wednesday at the Columbus Medical Center have been canceled and rescheduled.

The Great Lakes Water Authority issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying that they have "successfully isolated the remaining valves and are currently excavating the area around the damaged pipe to begin the repairs." The repairs are expected to last a week.

GLWA says they will remain on-site next week to pressure test and do other standard procedures.

For the communities that have issued a boil water advisory, the first round of testing has been completed, according to GLWA, and it came back clear. A second test round is also being completed before the advisories are lifted.

"GLWA will conduct a full analysis to determine the cause and any further assessments needed once all work is complete," the statement read.

This massive water main break is impacting people's daily lives and many local restaurants across a few communities in Oakland County.

It's been dubbed the 14 Mile geyser after video showed water flying out of the Great Lakes Water Authority water main, creating some big obstacles.

The break is also having a trickle-down impact, and once one goes, many others do, too. In Farmington Hills, there have been secondary water main breaks that have led to a precautionary boil water advisory for about three dozen houses.

"In a typical situation, we can have it repaired in under four hours, but when we get a number of them all at the same time it takes a little bit longer," Karen Mondora, the director of public services in Farmington Hills, said.

The break is also impacting businesses like big Tommy's Parthenon in Novi.

Owner Andrew Stylianou stocked up with bottled water and ice purchased from an outside vendor to ensure safety.

"Whatever we cook, wash and prep, we use boiled water. Then, we went to the store and got a bunch of bottled water," he said.

Even when washing dishes, extra precautions are taken.

"We run it through a high temp dishwasher at 190 degrees. It has soap and sanitizer. We boiled water and put it into the machine," he added.