A water main break on 14 Mile Road, between Farmington and Drake roads, in West Bloomfield Township caused the road to flood and 300,000 local residents to experience low or no water pressure in October.

A water main break on 14 Mile Road, between Farmington and Drake roads, in West Bloomfield Township caused the road to flood and 300,000 local residents to experience low or no water pressure in October.

File photo by Donna Agusti


GLWA to investigate water main break

By: Maddie Forshee | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published January 19, 2018

WEST BLOOMFIELD — The Great Lakes Water Authority is planning to submit a report about last October’s water main break in the township. 

In accordance with state law, the GLWA was told by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality that the authority must submit a report about the incident after the water emergency. 

The report was required to be submitted within 90 days of the Oct. 23 event, but the GLWA requested a 30-day extension, making the deadline Feb. 20. 

“Due to the size of the service disruption and the complexity of assessing potential causes of the failure, GLWA has commissioned an investigation of the transmission main failure by internal and external sources,” Amanda Abukhader, authority representative, said in a press release.

Robert Daddow, the Oakland County representative on the GLWA board, said that he thinks the report will describe the nature of the issue, what caused it, how it was handled and any actions that should be taken. 

“Generally, it went pretty well in terms of the efforts on GLWA and Oakland’s parts,” he said of the response when the water main broke. “There’s always areas you can improve on.”  

There were some minor problems surrounding the response to the break, said Daddow, including contact lists that weren’t up to date for Oakland County employees. He said it didn’t cause a huge problem during the break, but in the future, there will be backup contact information available. 

He also said that there was a disagreement on how long residents should boil water, but the disagreement was resolved, and now the GLWA has a standard it will recommend to people in the future, if need be.  

Daddow said the report is still in draft form. 

“Even with over 300,000 people affected, most of it went very well,” he said. “In my opinion, there was nothing of any significance where loss of life would have occurred.” 

West Bloomfield Township Supervisor Steve Kaplan said that the water main break was “an extremely unfortunate and unforeseeable event.” 

“Frequent, updated communications to the residents and businesses are essential to inform them about when the water will be safe for drinking and cooking,” he said in an email. “The municipalities affected by the water main break collaborated well with one another and the county to repair the water main break.” 

Kaplan said he thinks the township’s response to the incident was proficient, but he knows they can always improve. 

The Oct. 23 water main break occurred in West Bloomfield Township, on 14 Mile Road, between Farmington and Drake roads. 

At the time of the incident, local officials said the break was caused by overpressure in the pipes. 

The incident affected over 300,000 residents, with over 50,000 of them left without water while the break was repaired. The incident caused a boil-water advisory for residents all over Oakland County. 

GLWA Chief Operating Officer Sue McCormick called the break “unprecedented.”