DETROIT (WWJ) – Officials say it could take days before a flooded Detroit neighborhood is back to normal following a massive water main break on the city’s west side.
Crews worked all night long in the area of Buchanan and McKinley streets where a 30-inch main broke early Tuesday morning, flooding a square-mile of city blocks near Warren Avenue and I-96. But as of Wednesday morning, WWJ’s Charlie Langton said it looks like little progress has been made.
“Let me just describe what is going on,” Langton said, reporting from the corner of Bucannan and Vinewood streets. “The next street over, I can’t even get to it because it’s totally flooded. There’s ice all over the place and the temperature on my car says minus 7, so it’s like a gigantic sheet of ice. And if you can imagine, some of the water didn’t actually freeze, so it’s still coming up. I’m actually looking right now at a sewer that the water is gushing out of, all over the place.”
A worker with the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, who did not want to be named, said the water main has been shut off but that’s not really making his job easier.
“We’re out here making sure the pumps stay running so the streets don’t flood anymore,” he said, adding that the water was up to his waist at one point. It has since subsided to only a few inches deep.
Darryl Latimer, Deputy Director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, said it’s too early to tell what caused the break, but crews are making every effort to fix the problem. He said some of the city’s water mains are from the 1800s and because of their age and the freezing temperatures, they’re very unpredictable.
“We’ve got very old steel pipes and the infrastructure, when you have this cold weather and you get the water temperatures in the pipes as well as the freezing outside, the pipes just start to give way at the weak point,” he said.
Officials now say it could take days before the entire area is cleaned up.
It’s the second major water main break in Detroit in less than a week. Last Friday, a neighborhood near Gratiot and Conner was flooded after a 16-inch water main break. With temperatures in the single digits, crews worked against the clock to free vehicles stuck in the flood before the water froze over. A front loader was also brought in to rescue stranded motorists.