Detroit crews repairing dozens of water main breaks

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Crews throughout the Metro Detroit area are repairing dozens of water main breaks caused by record low temperatures this week.

Miquel Cook, 21, a Detroit Water and Sewerage Department employee, straps down heavy equipment after working on a water main break on Renfrew in Detroit, Wednesday.

As of Friday afternoon, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department reported 54 main breaks throughout the city since Tuesday. Crews are addressing the most critical breaks first. As of Friday afternoon, no customers were without service, officials said.

Work slowed due to the frigid temperatures, said Bryan Peckinpaugh, spokesman for the DWSD. Only a handful of broken mains have been repaired.

“It’s not safe for workers to be out for long periods of time and underground repairing water mains,” he said. “They’ve been isolating the water mains and ensuring that no customer were without service.”

Crews were expected to resume work Friday afternoon as temperatures rose above zero, Peckinpaugh said.

By comparison, on a typical day the city has about five or six water main breaks which are to be repaired within three days — if not done the same day.

Meanwhile, the effects of subzero temperatures lingered Friday as at least two universities and one courthouse closed buildings until further notice due to busted pipes.

DWSD is also called in to address those occurrences, shutting off water service until those entities make the needed repairs, Peckinpaugh said.

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN