The Great Lakes Water Authority was set to begin work that could affect a section of water transmission main along 14 Mile Road, with multiple communities potentially being impacted, including Farmington Hills and West Bloomfield.

The Great Lakes Water Authority was set to begin work that could affect a section of water transmission main along 14 Mile Road, with multiple communities potentially being impacted, including Farmington Hills and West Bloomfield.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Water transmission work expected to impact local communities

By: Mark Vest | C&G Newspapers | Published February 2, 2023


OAKLAND COUNTY — Work on the regional water transmission system will impact a section of water transmission main that serves Farmington Hills, Farmington, West Bloomfield, Walled Lake, Novi, Commerce and Wixom, according to a press release from the Great Lakes Water Authority.

The GLWA is continuing efforts to improve the resiliency of the regional water transmission system, the authority said.

The work was set to begin the week of Jan. 30 and will last six to eight weeks.

The mains being renewed are within sections of the 14 Mile Road water main, along the boundaries of West Bloomfield to the north and Farmington Hills to the south, according to GLWA Chief Planning Officer Jody D. Caldwell.

Farmington Hills Public Services Director Karen Mondora said that it is preventative maintenance.

“They’re trying to do it now so that there isn’t a big break that puts people on an unscheduled interruption that might happen in the summertime when the peak demands on the water system are higher,” Mondora said. “The Great Lakes Water Authority operates and maintains a large transmission main that runs parallel and along 14 Mile Road through Farmington Hills, and then out to the west as well. It’s a large-diameter transmission main. It supplies about 300,000 people — 40 to 54 inches in diameter, ranging in size throughout our footprint in Farmington Hills.”

The water system maintenance project was scheduled after two water main breaks within the past five years, according to Mondora.

“I think one was in 2017, and then the other one was 2020,” she said. “So as a result of those breaks they know that this transmission system has some risks. … There’s no back-feeding of this water main, so when there’s a break, it’s out of service — they can’t get water to us, basically, in certain parts of our city. So it’s a high priority for them. It’s a high priority for us to evaluate the risks, and they’ve identified a couple of areas that look like they’re problematic and (in) need of repairs that need to happen now, pretty much.”

Previously, a 520-foot section of transmission main was renewed within other areas of the main in the fall of 2021 and the fall of last year.

The project will renew 712 feet of main and will complete the necessary improvements to the existing transmission main within 14 Mile Road, according to the release.

Although no impacts to water quality are expected, a temporary change in the way water flows in the system is required and may result in residents experiencing pressures different from normal during the shutdown period.

“Water customers shouldn’t notice many changes; they might get a change in the water pressure, be it a little bit higher or a little bit lower,” Mondora said. “The water will be safe to drink, and there’ll be continuous water-quality monitoring going on throughout the project as we monitor the system anyway. … We do not expect any impacts to water quality, and testing will be ongoing through the process.”

Justin Taylor is the administrative superintendent for the West Bloomfield Township water utilities department. He isn’t expecting residents to notice much of a change in water pressure.

“I don’t know if they’re going to notice it when they turn on the faucet and wash their hands, (or) when they get in the shower — they may not notice it. It’s not a big enough change to see it there,” Taylor said. “As far as pressure goes, they shouldn’t, without pressure-reading equipment, really notice a difference on that.”

However, the water flow change may result in a change to the appearance of the water, with it becoming cloudy or discolored, the release states.

“GLWA will monitor water quality throughout the shutdown to ensure that it remains of unquestionable quality,” the release states.

Taylor weighed in on the visual difference residents may notice as a result of the work.

“Because GLWA is having to reroute water (to) different directions, they’re actually going to change the direction of the flow, so what our customers may see is some cloudiness to the water as that happens,” he said. “(GLWA is) going to be taking samples around the clock, basically, as they’re doing this. … If you took a clear glass and you filled it up and it looks cloudy … if it looks cloudy, that’s clearing from the bottom and moving up — that’s air in the water; that can be caused when they do this — when they redirect this water it’s going to cause a lot of air into the system.”

Taylor said that the township will be “immediately” notified if a sample comes back bad, and unless there is a notification, residents don’t need to boil water.

“We’re going to make sure that the water is safe to consume for our community,” he said. “If that isn’t the case, we will get notifications out immediately, whether that’s television, radio (or a) combination of all the above.”

Mondora said that Farmington Hills will be utilizing its water tower to maintain pressures and supplies.

“(It) can hold 3 million gallons of water,” she said. “We’re going to change the operation of our system through our internal controls and working with GLWA to adjust pressures to the west and the south to ensure that the people on the north end of the city have adequate supply during this scheduled maintenance.”

The release states that in the area where work is being conducted, adjustments to traffic patterns will be required to protect construction workers along 14 Mile Road; however, two-way traffic will be maintained.

“There’ll be a couple minor disruptions,” Mondora said. “From Drake to Farmington, they’ll be closing one lane. It’ll be shifted into the center-turn lane as the through route for eastbound traffic, so people can still get through; they don’t have to detour. Then I think ... they’re getting a permit from (the Michigan Department of Transportation), at least they’re working on it, to close a lane on Northwestern Highway, south of 14 Mile Road. … But there’s three lanes that go through there, so people will be able to get through.”

Residents who have questions can visit, call (844) 455-4592 or send an email to