Drivers navigate around the area of a water main break on 14 Mile Road in Farmington Hills Nov. 2.

Drivers navigate around the area of a water main break on 14 Mile Road in Farmington Hills Nov. 2.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Officials to investigate cause of water main break

Break is ‘not in the same segments of pipe’ as 2017’s main break on same road

By: Mark Vest | Metro | Published November 5, 2021

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FARMINGTON HILLS — To Farmington Hills residents and commuters, it may seem unpleasantly familiar: A 48-inch water main break closes 14 Mile Road at the end of October.

It happened Oct. 23, 2017, and again on Oct. 31 of this year, but the Great Lakes Water Authority said that this Halloween’s water main break on 14 Mile Road was in a different segment of pipe.

“It is important to note that the water main break is not in the same segments of pipe where a break occurred and was replaced in 2017,” the GLWA states in a press release.

In 2017, a 48-inch water main break on 14 Mile Road, between Farmington and Drake roads, was believed to be 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 Executive Officer Sue McCormick called the break “unprecedented.”

The GLWA provided an update on the recent break Nov. 3.

On the evening of Oct. 31, the GLWA reported a water main break at 14 Mile Road and Drake Road in Farmington Hills.

The GLWA said that service crews and contractors “continue to work around the clock to accomplish the repair of the 48-inch main that broke.”

“While crews had been successful in isolating the valves on the broken pipe to begin repair work yesterday (Nov. 2), the isolation did not hold and water once again began filling the excavated area,” the release states. “GLWA has developed a solution to this issue that is planned to be implemented by Sunday, November 7, allowing crews to then complete the overall repair of the 20-foot section of water main by late next week. This time frame includes pressure testing, disinfecting and flushing the main, as well as conducting water quality testing required after all repairs of this nature.”

The release went on to state that throughout the process, impacted communities will continue to have water flow.

“However, it will continue to be at the lower level they have been experiencing since the main broke,” states the release. “It should also be noted that the results for both rounds of water quality testing came back clear and the boil water advisories have been lifted in Commerce Township, Novi and Walled Lake. GLWA will conduct a full analysis to determine the cause and any further assessments needed once all work is complete.”

The city of Farmington Hills earlier had issued a press release stating that there was no boil water advisory for the city.

“Currently, there is a precautionary boil water notice for one small, isolated area that is unrelated to the Great Lakes Water Authority water main break that occured on October 31, 2021,” the release states. “These residents were informed via hand-delivered notices from the Water Resources Commissioner’s Office. If any additional repairs are undertaken in localized areas, the Water Resources Commissioner’s Office will notify specific residents who are impacted. If you have not been specifically notified that you should follow a precautionary boil water notice, there is no need to boil your water.”

Those with questions can call the Water Resources Commissioner’s Boil Water Hotline at (248) 858-1555.

For updates, go to fhgov.com or follow the city of Farmington Hills’ Facebook page.

On Nov. 2, the GLWA had reported that field service crews and their contractors have been working around the clock to repair the water main break, and believed they had successfully isolated the remaining valves, excavating the area around the damaged pipe to begin the repairs.

Despite the delay, once the repair is complete, GLWA crews will remain on-site afterward to pressure test, disinfect and flush the main, and then conduct water quality testing “as part of its standard procedure.”

“Two rounds of testing are required in this situation,” the release states. “The first round of test results came back clear for all three municipalities today (Nov. 2), and the Authority is awaiting results from the second round of tests, which were taken this afternoon and are expected back within 24 hours. If the second round also come back clear, the three municipalities will be able to lift their boil water advisories.”

According to the GLWA, of the eight communities impacted by the water main break, the only ones that had issued a precautionary boil water advisory based on activity in their local systems were Commerce Township, Walled Lake and Novi.

“It is important to note that the water main break is not in the same segments of pipe where a break occurred and was replaced in 2017,” the GLWA states in a press release.

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