FRASER (WWJ) – Macomb County officials have an unusual, but quite serious, special request for residents on Sunday.

“I can’t believe I’m lecturing people on their bathroom…you know, what they’re doing in there, but we really need to think about that, if it’s possible, if they could all not flush their toilets at the same time here at Super Bowl halftime,” Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller said.

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About 400,000 residents in11 central Macomb County communities last month were asked to restrict water usage at their homes as repair crews deal with “a dire situation” — a damaged regional sewer main as a result of the massive sinkhole that opened up in Fraser on Christmas Eve.

The sewer line is owned by the Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage (MIDD) District, which services Fraser, Sterling Heights, Utica, New Haven and Chesterfield, Shelby, Clinton Township, Harrison, Lenox, Washington, and Macomb Township and Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

Miller explained the amount of sewage able to flow through the damaged sewer interceptor line, along 15 Mile Road, is minimal — and too much water usage in the area could force them to pump raw sewage into the Clinton River to avoid backups into basements.

Miller said there was a similar situation with a sinkhole in Fraser back in 2004, so engineers are aware of mass flushing consequences.

“Yeah, everybody is just all hands on deck here,” Miller said, speaking lived on WWJ Newsradio 950 on Friday. “I know this sounds crazy…but we’re all monitoring, we’ve got everybody on these shifts. We’re just trying to get through this Sunday, and hopefully we don’t have any incidents.”

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[Michigan Extends Emergency After Macomb County Sewage Line Collapse]

Miller said work is continuing around the clock to install pipes and divert the flow, fixing the problem, which will take at least a couple of more weeks.

In the meantime, residents are asked to:

  • Reduce the length of showers
  • Only flush solids in the toilet (leave liquids until you have to flush)
  • Only run full wash loads
  • Don’t run the water while brushing teeth.
  • Run full dishwasher loads only
  • Reused towels
  • Use paper plates

Miller has said she expects repairs to the sewer line to cost about $78 million, and overall sinkhole repairs as much as $140 million.

[Catch up on the sinkhole story]

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