Macomb Co. residents not to flush wipes as sink hole pipe repairs continue

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In Fraser three homes were condemned after a major sewer line collapsed along 15 Mile and Friday crews demolished two of them.

Once the debris is cleared out, crews will start replacing the sewer line. Officials say the project will cost an estimated $75 million dollars in repairs.

The next challenge is keeping the sewage flowing and residents help by not flushing flushable wipes.

"We call it ragging it's a terrible problem all over the county actually," said Candice Miller, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner. "We are finding it with these pumps. We put wet wipes down there. We buy these wipes that say they are flushable, but believe me they are not biodegradable."

More than half a million toilet users in the area have their waste funneled through the pipes affected by the sinkhole.

"You are pumping up from 60 feet down the sewage," Miller said. "Then we're running it down two pipes on 15 Mile Road 6,000 feet and then you're dumping it down another man hole 60 feet. So we have had a lot of trouble with our pumps."

As a result of the sinkhole this is the temporary fix to get that sewage flowing are screens that collect things that we would flush down the toilet. And because people are flushing the wrong things, cleaning those screens has become a full time job.

"They have to be cleaned every 12 to 18 hours, just to take the wipes out so they don't choke the pumps," Miller said. "They are wrapping themselves around the pipes and choking our pumps."

If that happens the motors can burn out and the sewage backs up. But the solution is simple.

"Just throw it in the garbage and we will be fine," said Fred Roskopp, Macomb County waste water division.

Now that that two of the three homes on the epicenter of the sinkhole have been destroyed, work on a permanent sewage line will begin next week and will continue well into the fall.