photo: Jon Hewett/WWJ

Lawsuit Filed Over Damage Caused By 2016 Fraser Sinkhole

April 05, 2019 - 6:41 am

FRASER (WWJ) - A lawsuit has been filed in Oakland County Circuit Court over damage caused by a 2016 sinkhole in Fraser.

The lawsuit was submitted on behalf of the Oakland-Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District (OMIDDD), which manages a 22-mile long water pipe that serves 25 municipalities in Macomb and Oakland counties.

The OMIDDD says the Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District (MIDDD) is solely to blame for the $75 million worth of damage. The suit asserts that the MIDDD "failed to operate, maintain and repair" a deteriorating sewer which subsequently collapsed in Fraser, causing catastrophic damage.

Twenty families were temporarily displaced, three homes were condemned, and roads were shut down for months because of a sinkhole that formed when the sewer line collapsed on Christmas Eve 2016.

Earlier this year, officials said human error was to blame for the collapse. The sinkhole, which measured 250-feet long by 100-feet wide, was caused when an operator quickly released waste and water into a sewer line, according to Macomb Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller. The surge fractured the pipe, which drew in sand and created a void in the surrounding soil. 

Miller claims the sewer collapse was caused by OMIDDD and wants it to pay for the damage. OMIDDD officials dispute that.

Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash, who serves on the OMIDDD board, said the suit was filed to protect the OMIDDD rate payers of both Macomb and Oakland counties.