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Communities in Macomb County began distributing water Monday to residents amid a boil advisory affecting seven municipalities in southeast Michigan as the Great Lakes Water Authority officials said water service should resume by Aug. 27.

The city of Rochester started distributing water to residents on Saturday afternoon from Oakland County's homeland security office and set up a system where people could fill up containers at the fire station, Rochester fire Chief John Cieslik said Monday. The city had gone through 40,000 bottles of water through mid-day Monday.

"We have had a steady stream, about 400 residents every day, coming in for water since Saturday," Cieslik said about the community of nearly 13,000 people.

What to know about water main break:What communities are impacted, how long until fix

Nick Cabataio of Shelby Township Parks and Recreation Department, distributes bottled water Monday to residents affected by the Great Lakes Water advisory at Whispering Woods Park.

GLWA officials were doing an engineering inspection of the pipe Monday after the leaking water main was removed and a 120-inch pipe was delivered to the site, according to a GLWA statement. Getting water pressure back up will take one week, and water sampling will take another week, according to the authority.

Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw said Monday the state police are assisting some communities in Macomb and Oakland counties with bottled water distribution under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's state of emergency declared Sunday.

“We haven’t had any major problems or concerns,” Shaw said. “The governor’s emergency declaration just opened up services to get water out to communities.

“Several communities, through their fire departments, have already been doing this and we will assist as requested,” Shaw said. “But so far its just been getting bottled drinking water out of emergency services to the communities in need, and they are handling matters.”

Workers inspect the scene of the 120-inch water main break on Metcalf Rd. in Burtchville, Sunday evening, August 14, 2022.
Construction workers build an access road to a farm field in Burtchville Twp., behind three, 120-inch cement and steel couplers at the scene of the Great Lakes Water Authority's (GLWA) water-main break on Metcalf Rd., one mile west of the GLWA's Lake Huron Water Treatment Facility in Fort Gratiot.

A leak was discovered Saturday in a water main at the water authority's Water Treatment Facility. Many communities since have had the boil advisory lifted, but it remains in place for seven communities, including Rochester, Imlay City and three Macomb county communities — Bruce, Shelby and Washington townships.

In Washington Township, water distribution at the  Town Hall began at 1:30 p.m. and after one hour of handing out one case of water per household, the township's first shipment of about 500 cases of water was gone, township Supervisor Sam Previti said. Some cases were set aside for delivery to those unable to access the distribution.

"We still had a good 60 cars lined up at the end, a steady stream of traffic and we had the county sheriff helping direct traffic," Previti said.

The local Kroger and Meijer were cleaned out of water by Sunday afternoon, Previti said. The township is hoping to hear today from the County Emergency team about another shipment of water for tomorrow.

In Shelby Township, about 2,300 units of water, which includes cases of water bottles and gallon containers, are being distributed to residents by ZIP code Monday through Wednesday at multiple locations. 

  • 48315: From 2-7 p.m. while supplies last, Whispering Woods Park at 11000 21 Mile Road. 
  • 48316: From 2-7 p.m. while supplies last, Ford Field Central Park at 7460 23 Mile Road.  
  • 48317: From 2-7 p.m. while supplies last, River Bends Park at 4101 River Bends Drive.

The township is asking that only those who can't boil their water to sanitize it come get water supplies.

Senior citizens who can't boil their water or access distribution sites will have water delivered to them through the Meals on Wheels program and other transportation services, Shelby Township Public Works Director Dave Miller said Monday. The township is also in talks for collaborating with churches and other community members to get water to those who can't access the distribution sites.

Miller said it's been a challenge to mobilize the township to reach all of its residents to ensure everyone can have ample access to water, but things are going well.

In Rochester, fighting fires will be challenging because there is minimal water pressure. But the city has its own water tanker and can get assistance from the nearby communities of Rochester Hills, Oakland and Addison townships, Cieslik said.