Several communities under boil water advisory, 2 districts closed after water main break


(WXYZ) — Several metro Detroit communities have issued a boil water advisory and one school district is closed after a massive water main break Sunday along 14 Mile in Farmington Hills.

The communities currently under a boil water advisory are: Novi, Walled Lake and a portion of Commerce Township (view the map below).

Several communities under boil water advisory, 2 districts closed after water main break

 The Novi Consolidated School District and Walled Lake Consolidated School District are also closed Monday due to the water main break.

Several communities under boil water advisory, 2 districts closed after water main break
Several communities under boil water advisory, 2 districts closed after water main break

14 Mile Road east of Drake Road is expected to be closed through Thursday due to the water main break.

It sounded like a waterfall and looked like a geyser. A water main break shot up from the ground along 14 Mile in Farmington Hills, breaking through the sidewalk. The gushing water started just after 5:00 p.m. and continued until nearly 9:30 p.m.

Several communities under boil water advisory, 2 districts closed after water main break

“The amount of water is just unbelievable," said neighbor John Shinske. "The whole street is flooded.”

A neighborhood backs up to this part of 14 mile. The four homes directly in the water's path were severely damaged. A river of water and debris poured from their backyards into the street, as pieces of one home floated away.

Several communities under boil water advisory, 2 districts closed after water main break

“The sheer force blasted most of the wall of the rear of this house off, entered the home and poured through the home," said Farmington Hills Fire Chief Jon Unruh.

Outside the damaged homes, thousands of homes across 8 Metro Detroit communities are now impacted. That includes Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake, West Bloomfield, Farmington Hills, Commerce Township, Novi, Walled Lake and Wixom.

According to the Great Lakes Water Authority, the regional pressure levels never dipped to the point that would require a regional boil advisory, however some communities have issued their own out of an abundance of caution.

Farmington Hills issued a statement saying it was an isolated break and, "The city of Farmington Hills water system is fully functional and operational. There is no system wide boil water advisory at the current time."

Several communities under boil water advisory, 2 districts closed after water main break

“We just went and bought a lot of water, we’re still probably going to buy more tomorrow," said West Bloomfield resident Aleena Dabbish.

For these residents, it’s all too familiar. In 2017 near this exact same intersection, the same water main suffered a massive break. It put more than 250,000 people under a boil advisory that lasted days.

“I know that Great Lakes Water Authority has worked on improvements to the systems and hopefully those valves and things they renewed will be beneficial for this break,” Chief Unruh said.

But given that past experience, many residents aren’t expecting to use their water anytime soon. They worry this is only the beginning of a long week ahead.

“Oh yea, probably over a week, that’s a possibility. That's what happened a while back when they turned off the water for a few days,” Dabbish said. "Just gotta wait and hold on and buy a lot of water I guess.”

What to do if your community is under a boil water advisory:

"Water should be boiled for at least one minute and allowed to cool before consumption. Boiled, bottled or disinfected water should be used for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth, and preparing food until further notice."