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Detroit officials say increased heat is to blame for water main break uptick

Posted at 6:16 PM, Jul 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-12 18:16:39-04

Since June the city of Detroit has seen 141 water main breaks, an unusually high number of breaks the city’s water department is attributing to the unusually warm summer. 

A water main break happened on Livernois and Warren Wednesday morning, impacting Ali Sobh who is in the process of opening up a new diner called Fast Treats on that intersection. 

 “Fast Treats, that we are about to launch tomorrow, was impacted by doing our training, all of our machines are water cooled right now,” said Sobh. 

With no water the equipment inside the diner could have overheated, costing him $50,000. 

“We didn’t have water to run our machines, so it almost got overheated overnight,” said Sobh. 

Luckily the equipment did not overheat. However, Sobh is surely not the only person impacted by all the breaks. 

The director for Detroit’s Water Department, Gary Brown, says the warm weather is part of the reason for the increase in breaks. 

“The pipes are underground the water that is traveling through it is cold, but the pipes are heating up because of the temperature on the ground so when the pipe heats up, and you put cold water through it, it’s going to cause it to expand and sometimes break,” said Brown. 

Brown says the city is currently working on 23 projects to fix water lines from future breaks. The city is also investing $500 million to fix old water lines over the next four years. 

“We are going to try to get at least two percent of the cities underground infrastructure replaced a year, for the next 50 years, so over the next four years we’ll replace approximately 8 to 10 percent of the overall system,” said Brown. 

If you see a water main break, report it immediately by calling 313-267-8000 or on the “Improve Detroit” app.