Tuesday's water main break unearths more than water

Image 1 of 2

When a water main burst on the city's east side Tuesday, it not only opened up a huge sinkhole, it also blocked multiple lanes of traffic. The water has stopped flowing for now but more problems could be on the way.

Crews were working hard to fix a sinkhole at East Jefferson and Saint Jean. It opened up Monday and blocked multiple lanes of traffic. According to officials, a water main is to blame.

Those same officials told FOX 2's Charlie Langton tell me, there could be a lot more of these in Detroit.

"When we have really extreme temperatures, either very hot or very warm, sometimes we'll see an increase in water main breaks. We do have an aging infrastructure and sometimes, they just happen, like right now," DWSD spokesperson Curtrise Garner said.

Speaking of infrastructure, most of the pipes in the city are well over 100 years old. For instance, the one at East Jefferson and Hart, near St Jean on Detroit's East side. 

Those cast iron pipes were the material of choice back then but now a stronger, state of the art, ductile iron, is used.

"The infrastructure is the same throughout the city. It can happen anywhere. Sometimes it just happens because it's an old, aging system," Garner said.

The water main is actually five feet below the surface of the road but it's causing pavers to come up. Those paving stones used to be part of the road, which is over 100 years old. As is a set of old railroad tracks. It all has to go too - all at a cost.

"One good thing I can say is that with the $50 million dollar payment we'll get from the Great Lakes Water Authority, that's going to help us maintain the infrastructure and we'll see less and less of our water main breaks"

And the $50 million a year, for 40 years, is to start next year-when the Great Lakes water authority takes over.

Workers say Monday's break be fixed by the end of the day which would means, there was disruption on East Jefferson was just under 24 hours.

If you see running water in Detroit, call 313-267-7401 to report it.