(01/29/14) - The extremely cold weather is taking a toll on Mid-Michigan water
mains. Several have already broken.
In Flint, John Stratton is worried about the foundation of his home. He thinks it could be ruined because of a broken main in his neighborhood.
He's not happy about the response from the Flint Water Department.
Tuesday morning, Stratton noticed water flowing down his driveway on Pitkin Avenue on the city's eastside. Soon, that water found its way into his basement, running as he described it, "like Niagara Falls".
"It was in the far corner there and it went along that whole side of the house," he said.
Eventually, water was seeping in on every side of the basement.
"When it does stop and it starts freezing, is my house going to collapse from cracking or who knows what?" Stratton said.
The spring thaw could bring another issue.
"I'm worried about the mold once it starts drying," Stratton said.
Stratton spent a lot of time trying to get the Flint Water Department to respond on Tuesday. Wednesday morning, workers slowed down the water by creating an ice dam in front of his driveway. He's unemployed and can't afford a large repair bill.
"It's just a sad situation," he said.
In the Dutch Village Mobile Home community, there has been a double headache for one tenant after a water main break. She can't live in her home, and she can't use her car.
Hilary Halvarson noticed a pool of water from a water main break creeping toward her mobile home last Friday. Eventually, it surrounded her car.
"The water and ice were coming up to the rims on my tires of my car. When I was trying to leave, my car would back up but then it would slide right back down. It wasn't going anywhere. Then I realized, well, I was stuck and I can't do anything about it," she said.
A short time later, a blue Ford came down the street and also become stuck in the same icy trap that captured Hilary's car.
"He got mad when he could get out and walked down the road and I haven't seen him since," Hilary said.
Hilary's calls to the mobile home park maintenance department didn't generate the response she was hoping for.
"They looked around, shut her water off and told her they'd be back, and thye never showed up," said Lisa Halvarson.
Wednesday, a private firm was on scene, digging to find the broken water main.
"Right now I have no water and no heat and it's freezing in there," Hilary said.
Hilary has moved in with her mom for the time being.
Another break on Corunna Road near Ballenger Highway has closed a lane of traffic.
Flint's utilities administrator, Daugherty Johnson, says workers have been overwhelmed by the number of water main breaks.
"We started this morning with 20. By the end of the day we hope to be down to 16. They've already repaired two today and they hope to repair two this evening," Johnson said.
The Pitkin Avenue break could be fixed by Thursday.
"We're banging them out as fast as we can," Johnson said.
Genesee County Drain Commissioner Jeff Wright says there have been only four or five water main breaks in the county system so far.
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