The Macomb County Office of Public Works is urging residents and businesses near the sinkhole to reduce water flow down the drain after the damaged sewage line became clogged.
Engineers had been monitoring the sinkhole Thursday morning when they noticed a significant decrease in the flow of sewage. When they examined the 11-foot line, they said it was clogged by sediments and only 'seepage' was moving down the line.
Now, Macomb County is asking residents across 11 communities to use less water. The communities include: Fraser, Sterling Heights, Utica and New Haven and Chesterfield, Shelby, Clinton, Harrison, Lenox, Washington, and Macomb townships, plus Selfridge Air National Guard Base.
All residents and businesses are asked to reduce shower time, only flush solids, run full loads of the dishwasher and washing machine, and turn off the water when brushing their teeth.
There is an existing bypass line installed but it only accomodates 'dry weather' sewage flow. As little as one quarter of an inch of rain could cause an unavoidable release of sewage into the Clinton River and possibly into Lake St. Clair.
"I cannot stress enough - we have no capacity in the system for any additional sewage flow. The situation is dire and we are at the mercy of Mother Nature until we can get the temporary by-pass lines in place, which is still a month away from completion," said Candice S. Miller, the Macomb County Public Works Commissioner. "We are working to avoid an environmental disaster."