Michigan gov. declares emergency after water main break

Midwest

(NewsNation) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared a state of emergency for certain counties following a water main break Saturday that spurred a precautionary boil water advisory impacting an estimated 900,000 people.

Lapeer, Macomb, Oakland and St. Clair counties are under the state of emergency. Governor Whitmer insists the state will use every available resource to help families.

“We are drawing on every resource we have and taking every action necessary to get impacted families the help they need,” said Governor Whitmer. “On Saturday, I activated the State Emergency Operations Center to coordinate our response efforts, and with today’s state of emergency declaration, we are ensuring that state resources will be available as long as the impacted communities need them. In times of crisis, Michiganders stand together. We will do what it takes to get through this.”   

By declaring the state of emergency, all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts will be made available to the impacted areas. The declaration allows Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division to help.

The water main break happened near the Great Lakes Water Authority’s Lake Huron Water Treatment facility. Due to the break, multiple communities are under precautionary boil water advisories including the Village of Almont, Bruce Township, Burtchville Township, Imlay City, City of Rochester, Shelby Township, Washington Township, as well as one business in Greenwood, and an industrial park in Romeo.

“A loss of pressure can lead to bacterial contamination in the water system,” the Great Lakes Water Authority said. “Boiling water before using it will kill bacteria and other organisms that may be in the water.”

Flint said it switched to a different water source and was dropped from the boil advisory. Flint experienced a devastating water crisis in 2014-15, which resulted in a sweeping $626 million deal to settle lawsuits filed by Flint residents and others exposed to water contaminated by lead and bacteria.

Now, crews are working to isolate a break on a 120-inch water transmission main in Port Huron, the largest in the system, according to GLWA.

The break was initially expected to impact potentially 935,000 people in Michigan in 23 communities. The governor’s office says the quick and effective response made that number significantly lower than originally projected.

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