Cobo Center, Detroit Hotels Affected By Boil Water Advisory As Auto Show Begins

January 13, 2019 - 4:18 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) -- A massive water main break is expected to force residents and businesses across much of Downtown Detroit -- as well as visitors to the Auto Show -- to boil water before use for most of this week.

Authorities say a water main located near the intersection of McDougall and Larned Streets broke on Saturday night and the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department issued a boil water advisory. Officials with DWSD say water pressure has been restored to the affected areas, but the advisory will remain in place until at least Wednesday.

The boundaries of the advisory are I-75 Fisher Freeway south to the Detroit River and from the John C. Lodge Freeway (M-10) to Mt. Elliott Street.

The Cobo Center is within the boundaries of the advisory, which could pose a bit of a problem as the North American International Auto Show's Press Preview Week officially begins on Monday, with news media from around the world descending on Detroit.

"It's kind of nerve-wracking a little bit," journalist Mike Boesch who's in town from California, told WWJ. "You always expect clean water to come out of a faucet. We'll go with bottled water and we'll be safe."

The Great Lakes Water Authority, under orders of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, will have to conduct two rounds of water quality testing prior to recommending the advisory be lifted.

“We will definitely be in touch with the executives at the Auto Show today," said Gary Brown, CEO of DWSD, "but they’re going to be under the same advisory that any other customer is under – boil any water before you cook with it or before you consume it.”

Brown says before the advisory can be lifted, crews must first fix the hole -- typically a six-hour process, he says -- flush the line, disinfect the line and then conduct the two rounds of quality tests, meaning it will be at least Wednesday before things go back to normal.

During an advisory, water should be boiled before drinking, preparing food, and hygienic activities. Boiling the water helps to kill any potentially harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites. Freezing will not disinfect the water.