FRASER, Mich. (WJBK) - The Macomb County Public Works Commissioner held a press conference on Friday to address the expanding problem of the Fraser sinkhole and the 11 communities asked to reduce water use.
Candice S. Miller and leaders from the 11 communities held a press conference on Friday to address the latest developments related to the sinkhole at 15 Mile in Fraser.
County, township, and city leaders representing the communities talked about how the collapsed sewer line can be fixed - at a cost of about $80 with a long-term solution of $140 million.
"The truth is all of these communities are the ones that are on the hook financially," Miller said.
Residents near 15 Mile between Hayes and Utica were evacuated on Christmas Eve when a home started sinking. The cause of the problem has been identified as a partially collapsed sewer line that lies about 45 feet underground. The city has declared a state of emergency and has promised to work non-stop on the project. There is not an estimated timetable of when the problem will be fixed.
On Thursday, the county announced that the line was clogged by sediments and asked 11 communities to reduce the amount of water.
23 displaced families have returned home but three others are condemned. Now, the problems are spreading to surrounding communities who were asked to cut down their water usage for at least the next month.
"We are cognizant of what problems could be so we have made a conscious effort to take quicker showers, use less water, only flush solids," joe said.
Macomb County residents asked to reduce water use due to clogged sewer line
The sediments have been identified as silt and plugged the pipe. Friday, water flowing again but weather may not be favorable.
Even if the 11 communities that use this sewer line do their part - Macomb County still won't be in the clear if Mother Nature doesn't cooperate. 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.
"We really need the weather to be on our side the next 3-4 weeks to get the long term bypass pumps in place," Fraser Mayor Joe Nichols said
Families evacuated by Fraser sinkhole return home
If it's overwhelmed, Macomb County will have to divert raw sewage to the Clinton River and consequently Lake St. Clair to keep it from backing up into homes and businesses.
Miller says additional lines that will bypass the clogged area will be up and running in about a month.