Broken water main blamed for brown tap water on Detroit's east side

A broken water main is said to be at fault for brown tap water in three east side Detroit neighborhoods including a small section of the Grosse Pointes.

Morningside, East English Village, and Cornerstone Village were all impacted on Wednesday.

After Janelle Ewing cooked dinner for her family Saturday, she poured some into a glass and watched as reddish-brown sediment settled at the bottom over the next few days.

FOX 2: "So did you guys get any kind of notice or warning from the city to boil your water?"

"Nothing, " she said.

"They didn't say anything, my child could've gone in there and poured a glass if water and drank it," said Elijah Rahaman. "He's 5 years old."

Janelle and her husband Elijah are just one of several families on Detroit's east side and Grosse Pointe Woods with rusty brown water flowing from their taps.

"You can see there's a brown tint to this - and that's the water," said Jeff Corker.

For Corker at Laundry in the D, the dirty water is flowing through his washing machines, forcing him to turn away dozens of customers needing to wash clothes and other items soiled in the flooding from the weekend storms.

"Something's got to happen," he said. "I need help. This is our livelihood."

Gary Brown heads up Detroit's Water and Sewerage Department and says a water main break is likely to blame for the brown water flowing through the eastside and part of the Grosse Pointes, but there's one problem.

"Normally when a water main break is that large, that it's a transmission line, it's going to surface to the top and we're going to find it," Brown said. "But we haven't been able to locate a pool of water."

Brown apologized to Detroiters who went days without notice from the city about the water main break.

"Boiling the water is not going to help in this situation," he said.  "But we do not want people to obviously drink rusty water, bathe in it or try to cook in it and I'm reasonably assured that we'll get this identified and taken care of hopefully by (Thursday) morning."