With frigid temperatures this week and more freezing weather expected for the remaining winter months, the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department has activated its response plan in preparation for potential water main breaks within the city of Detroit.
“Based on weather forecasts we don’t anticipate frigid temperatures for weeks-on-end similar to the past two winters; however we expect the temperature will drop several times as it has done the past several days,” said Gary Brown, DWSD director. “We have added capacity to address potential increases in water main breaks. DWSD has also significantly improved our water main repair process, decreasing the time to make the necessary fixes.”
DWSD will dispatch a worker to verify the water main break and triage it using special tools – identifying the water main break’s severity, diverting or shutting-off the line, and blocking streets if necessary. Water transmission lines receive the highest priority for repair. The amount of time it takes to repair a break depends on the pipe’s damage. If necessary, residents or businesses in the area are notified if water service will be restricted while work is performed.
When the frost line dips further below ground, water mains are more susceptible to potential cracks and breaks. Due to the aging pipes in many neighborhoods, the probability of water main breaks increases during colder temperatures. As a result of the Great Lakes Water Authority lease payment of $50 million annually to the City of Detroit, which begins this year, DWSD is in process of planning infrastructure upgrades that will begin to fix the aging pipes and sewers within the city.
DWSD urges customers to report water main breaks by calling the 24-hour maintenance and repair center hotline at 313-267-7401, or download the “Improve Detroit” mobile app for Apple and Android mobile devices to report an issue.