Sewer backup dumps overflow onto Main Street, Paint Creek

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published February 5, 2018

An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 gallons of raw sewage was released into the Paint Creek in Rochester due to an unforeseen sewer blockage Feb. 3.

Rochester city officials received notice that there was a sewer overflow occurring on Main Street in downtown Rochester at approximately 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 3.

Rochester Department of Public Works employees responded to the call by 11:30 a.m. and determined that the sanitary sewer was blocked in the vicinity of 613 N. Main St., causing the sewer to back up and overflow from an upstream manhole onto Main Street and into the city’s storm sewer system, which discharges into the Paint Creek. 

“The city’s departments acted quickly,” City Manager Blaine Wing said in an email. “DPW, police and fire responded. Oakland County was also called in.”

Southbound Main Street was closed for about two hours while crews worked to fix the problem. Rochester Streets and Sewers Foreman Jason Dickinson said the DPW was able to clear the blockage in the pipe and restore standard flow by 1 p.m. 

“It was plugged pretty bad with grease and paper towels,” he said.

City officials said two businesses were affected by the blockage, Lipuma’s Coney Island and the Paint Creek Tavern, which were each cleared and able to reopen for business hours later that day.

“The city hired a company to come in and do environmental cleanup and sanitation to make sure there were no health issues,” Dickinson explained.

Rochester officials reported the sanitary sewer overflow to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Oakland County Health Department, according to Wing. 

“The MDEQ will identify if there is any additional work that needs to be done on the Paint Creek, but due to the city’s quick response, I’m not expecting any,” Wing said in an email.