Public Works urges water restrictions

By: Julie Snyder | C&G Newspapers | Published February 20, 2018

With heavy rains ongoing and expected across the region over the next several days, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller is urging residents to restrict the amount of water they are using in an effort to alleviate potential sewer overflows into Lake St. Clair.

In a press release issue Feb. 20, Miller said residents can do their part by holding off on doing laundry, reducing the length of showers and only running dishwashers when full.

“Many of our communities have combined sewer systems, where both stormwater and sanitary sewage travels in the same pipes,” Miller said in the release. “If we can reduce the amount of sewage entering the pipes, we can reduce the amount that is spilling into Lake St. Clair during this heavy rainfall.” 

Localized flooding is already occurring in some areas, officials said at around 3 p.m. Feb. 20. The NWS is predicting 1-3 more inches of rain through the end of Feb. 21, with additional levels from melting snow. 

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for all of southeast Michigan through the afternoon of Feb. 21. Heavy rains, coupled with extensive snow melt over the past several days, has local stormwater systems over capacity.

  “This is about neighbors helping neighbors,” Miller said. “Every gallon of water usage we can restrict now is one less gallon that may overflow the banks of the Clinton River and other waterways. Rain is Mother Nature’s doing, and we can’t control that, but we can control our own water usage.

“We have already had a combined sewer overflow into Lake St. Clair. This water has been treated to state standards, but any action we can take to reduce this overflow helps reduce this impact.”

The following actions can be taken to reduce water usage:

• Reduce the length of showers.

• Only flush solids in the toilet.

• Only run full wash loads or, if possible, postpone laundry until Thursday.

• Don’t run the water while brushing teeth.

• Run full dishwasher loads only.

  According to the NWS, all three branches of the Clinton River in Macomb County are expected to reach flood stages Feb. 20 or later this week.