Sewage ‘crisis averted’ during Super Bowl

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Macomb County officials feel flushed with success after water conservation efforts prevented Super Bowl fans from adding to problems associated with the Fraser sinkhole that emerged Christmas Eve.

Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller tweeted Monday, the day after the Super Bowl, the county’s sewer system was able to handle an expected increase during and after the championship game. As a result, the county didn’t have to dump sewage into the Clinton River.

She also thanked residents and Super Bowl viewers in the county for restricting their water use.

“Our Macomb County neighbors are simply the best!” Miller tweeted. “My staff and I have heard from so many people who are working to restrict their water usage as we work through the 15 Mile Interceptor collapse.

“Your combined efforts ARE THE DIFFERENCE! Last night, our total sewage flow never approached a level where we were near an emergency discharge. We’re watching tomorrow’s rain forecast closely, but for now — crisis averted. Thank you Macomb County!”

On Friday, Miller asked the 300,000 residents served by the broken sewer line to restrict their water use during the Super Bowl.

Last month, Miller’s office also asked residents to reduce water usage — take shorter showers, only flush solids in toilets, only run full laundry and dishwasher loads and don't run water while brushing teeth — after workers discovered shifting sediment was crimping the flow of sewage in the pipe.

The 100-foot-wide, 250-foot-long sinkhole appeared Dec. 24 on 15 Mile, just east of Hayes in Fraser. Officials said it was caused by the collapse of the leaking Macomb Interceptor Drain sewer main that runs under 15 Mile, the border between Clinton Township and Fraser.

The county-owned Macomb Interceptor Drain is an 11-foot-diameter pipe that transports sewage from 11 northern Macomb County communities into a network that leads to a waste water treatment plant in Detroit operated by the Great Lakes Water Authority.

The collapse forced the evacuation of 22 homes near the sinkhole. The occupants of 19 of the homes have since been allowed to return to their houses, but the three others have been condemned.

The state and Macomb County have declared a state of emergency due to the sinkhole.

To address the problem, the county is building a temporary bypass.

Associated Press contributed.